BOULDER, CO — The Colorado Buffaloes led the Oregon State Beavers by multiple scores at halftime. For a team that had won 25 straight when leading at the half going into last weekend’s debacle, typically there would be a breath of confidence in the air.
But fans had seen this before - just on the football field. In a game that featured 14 ties and 17 lead changes, Colorado failed down the stretch dropping their second straight game 76-74.
“It’s about coaching forty minutes, and coaching this team is like putting your finger in a dike,” Boyle admitted frustratingly after the game. “You get this shored up and then another hole pops, and then you get that shored up and we get the first half issues taken care of and now the second half is hurting us.”
The game was a back-and-forth matchup from the get-go as the teams traded baskets for most of the first half. CU went on a 9-0 run in 2:49 to jump out to their first lead of the night.
But the Beavers climbed right back in the contest, responding with a 8-0 run of their own, capped off by a three-point play by Tres Tinkle to take 18-17 lead midway through the first half. Oregon State lived on the boards during the span, pulling in three offensive rebounds.
Colorado went on their best scoring streak of the year, coming away with points on six straight possessions. The Buffs led by five at the break, but left points on the floor as they went just 6-of-12 from the free throw line in the first half.
OSU came out strong out of the locker room erasing the five point deficit in the blink of an eye. The team’s traded blows the rest of the way knotting the score up at 69 apiece with 1:21 remaining in the game. But Oregon State went on a run to break things open aided by a costly turnover by McKinley Wright, to get back into the win column.
Among other things, points off turnovers and missed free throws were what put the dagger in Colorado tonight. CU gave up 14 points off turnovers, and missed ten shots from the free throw line.
Evan Battey had an impressive effort finishing with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting, but was forced to spend extended time on the bench with foul trouble in the second half. McKinley Wright had a team high 18 points missing just one shot the entire night.
Stephan Thompson Jr. finished with a game high 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and Tres Tinkle added 19.
Unlikely contributor Alexander Strating got extended minutes, neutralizing Tinkle for much of the night, but the Pac-12’s 2nd leading scorer was able to scrappily find ways to make an impact. When asked why Strating got the bulk of playing time over Tyler Bey, Tad Boyle’s explanation was simple.
“I thought Alex was playing well, and I just didn’t think Tyler was giving as much tonight,” Boyle said. “He’s a good player but I just thought defensively and rebounding he wasn’t the same Tyler Bey that I expected to see.”
Perhaps Boyle’s callout of Bey will add a little bit of motivation and allow him to get back on track.
CU has a little time to feel sorry for themselves. They have quick turnaround, playing their next game in less than 48 hours against the Oregon Ducks at 7:30 p.m. MT on Saturday.