Buffs hang on for first Pac-12 win
COLORADO 56, STANFORD 55
stanford, calif.» Colorado made amends Sunday night for a poor performance two days earlier, edging Stanford 56-55 at Maples Pavilion.
The Buffs, who were blown out at Cal on Friday in their Pac-12 opener, weathered more than a few nerveracking moments, as Stanford rallied from 16 points down early in the second half to make it a nail-biter down the stretch.
“It was all about defense, which is something we didn’t do against Cal,” senior center Josh Scott said. “That has to be a staple of our program. I think (Cal) was kind of a wake-up call, when you’re shooting jump shots and there’s going to be nights when the ball isn’t going in. … Those nights especially, you have to be ready to come out and defend and rebound.”
Scott scored 14 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead the way for the Buffs (12-3, 1-1 Pac-12).
The Buffs led 37-27 at halftime and extended their lead to 16 points early in the second half before the Cardinal (8-5, 1-1) stormed back, reeling off a 12-4 run that brought Stanford within eight points with about 10 minutes remaining.
Stanford battled to within seven
points on a 3-pointer by Marcus Sheffield with 7:30 remaining, a shot that spurred another 7-0 run by the Cardinal. Stanford eventually whittled CU’s lead to just one point in the final minute and a half, with a pair of free throws from Sheffield with 37.3 seconds left again pulling the hosts within a point and setting up a wild finish.
After a wayward, desperation 3pointer at the shot-clock buzzer by Scott, CU was fortunate on a long rebound that a Stanford player touched with his foot on the sideline, giving Buffs the possession with six seconds left. CU committed a turnover on the inbounds play, but Stanford’s desperation heave from inside halfcourt at the buzzer went awry.
“It wasn’t pretty in the second half,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “Early in the season, learning how to win on the road in the league … it was a tale of two halves. We were great offensively in the first half. We were atrocious on offense in the second half.”
Forward Wes Gordon finished with nine rebounds as the Buffs outrebounded Stanford 43-29.
Meanwhile, despite earlier indications the status of injured forward Xavier Johnson would be clarified this week, the senior will remain in limbo until CU returns to Boulder. Boyle said he did not have time to meet with Johnson over the weekend regarding his pending decision on whether he will attempt a comeback from a torn Achilles tendon or take a medical redshirt.
CU center Josh Scott dunks on Stanford’s Michael Humphrey on Sunday. Jason O. Watson, The Associated Press