Buffs prevail with second-half surge
COLORADO 76, PORTLAND 63
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.