Buffs pre­vail with sec­ond-half surge

COLORADO 76, PORT­LAND 63

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pat Rooney Buf­fZone.com

It wasn’t ex­actly the re­turn to form the Colorado men’s bas­ket­ball team was hop­ing to have. But the Buf­faloes def­i­nitely were glad to get the win and head home.

Us­ing a strong sec­ond half, the Buffs shook off Wed­nes­day’s dis­cour­ag­ing loss to ri­val Colorado State to pull away from Port­land for a 76-63 win Satur­day night at the Chiles Cen­ter.

The Buffs im­proved to 6-2 with the big­gest chal­lenge of the young sea­son still loom­ing as No. 7 Xavier vis­its the Coors Events Cen­ter on Wed­nes­day.

Port­land led 30-28 at half­time, but CU came alive af­ter the break. The Pi­lots opened the sec­ond half with a 3-pointer to ex­tend their lead to five, but the Buffs reeled off seven con­sec­u­tive points in a 12-2 run to take the lead for good. Fresh­man Bryce Peters, who didn’t play the en­tire first half, capped the run with a 3-pointer.

Port­land ral­lied to within a point with about 12 min­utes re­main­ing, but a 3-pointer by another fresh­man, Deleon Brown, gave the Buffs breath­ing room be­fore a three-point play by se­nior Wes­ley Gor­don sparked a 15-5 CU run that put the Buffs in con­trol.

Xavier John­son scored 19 points to pace a bal­anced CU at­tack that saw four play­ers reach dou­ble fig­ures. Der­rick White shook off foul trou­ble to fin­ish with 13 points, while Josh For­tune scored 14. Ge­orge King fin­ished with 12.

CU shot .431 from the floor and strug­gled once again from 3-point range (5-for-19), but For­tune was a bright spot from long range, go­ing 2-for-3 with both his 3-point­ers oc­cur­ring at crit­i­cal junc­tures in the sec­ond half.

Gor­don scored only six points but fin­ished with a team-lead­ing 10 re­bounds, and CU bounced back from the night­mare at the free-throw line against CSU to go 21-of-30. John­son led that ef­fort with an 8-for-10 mark.

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