Buffaloes battle through problems to rally for win
COLORADO 75, AIR FORCE 68
air force academy» It wasn’t the return to form the Colorado Buffaloes were hoping for in their final nonconference road game.
In fact, for much of Monday’s showdown at Air Force, many of the shortcomings that have plagued coach Tad Boyle’s basketball squad appeared to be reaching new depths of frustration.
In the end, though, CU was able to put together enough timely scoring runs to eventually hold off the always-scrappy Falcons, with the Buffs posting a 75-68 victory at Clune Arena.
The game was tied 48-48 after a pair of free throws by Air Force’s Zach Kocur with about 10 minutes remaining, but a 3point play from CU freshman Deleon Brown began an 8-2 run by the Buffs that gave them the lead for good. CU outscored the Falcons 21-10 after that 48-48 tie before holding off Air Force down the stretch.
The Buffs struggled against the Air Force defense throughout the first half, finishing the first 20 minutes with a whopping 12 turnovers while attempting just one field goal from inside the 3-point arc over the game’s first 10 minutes. After trailing 15-10 with a little over nine minutes remaining in the first half, CU outscored the Falcons 17-6 to take a 27-21 lead into the break.
Senior Xavier Johnson turned in another strong offensive game, going 5-for-7 from the field to pace the Buffs with 14 points. Wesley Gordon and George King both nearly posted double-doubles, with Gordon finishing with 10 points, nine rebounds, and five blocked shots while King added 13 points and nine rebounds.
Senior Derrick White had 12 points, three assists and four rebounds before fouling out.
Brown turned in another solid game off the bench with 10 points and four assists. Junior guard Dom Collier returned to the rotation for the first time since the season opener to make three 3-pointers off the bench while finishing with nine points.
CU completes its nonconference schedule at home Thursday against Eastern Washington.
Colorado center Wesley Gordon blocks the shot of Air Force forward Hayden Graham during the first half of Monday night’s game at Clune Arena. Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette