Loveland Reporter-Herald

Buffs bury Stanford after break

CU starts second half with 16-0 run to complete a two-game home sweep

- By Pat Rooney prooney@ prairiemou­

The first taste of life without J’vonne Hadley wasn’t so bad for the Colorado men’s basketball team.

The Buffaloes absolutely buried Stanford after halftime on Sunday, pulling away from the Cardinal to post an 84-62 victory at the CU Events Center that gave CU a home sweep of the Bay Area teams.

It was CU’S sixth consecutiv­e win against Stanford and its ninth straight win against the Cardinal in Boulder. The Buffs also snapped Stanford’s five-game winning streak.

Hadley, Colorado’s leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, suffered a season-ending finger injury early during Thursday’s win against California.

“A lot of times we were doing good defensivel­y, it was just finishing the possession,” CU point guard KJ Simpson said. “At half, that was the big kind of speech. We’ve just got to keep playing, finish possession­s, and then just get out and run.”

Tristan da Silva shot the Buffs off to a strong start and CU’S defense took over from there, holding the Cardinal to a .290 mark after halftime (9-for-31) following a .577 shooting performanc­e by Stanford in the first half.

CU used a 15-5 run in the first half to take the lead, eventually building an 11-point edge at 31-20. The Buffs’ lead was at 35-27 with 4 minutes, 57 seconds left in the first half when da Silva and Luke O’brien, who had combined to score 17 of CU’S 35 points to that point, were forced to the bench with two fouls apiece. Stanford took advantage to outscore the Buffs 12-4 over the remainder of the first half to pull into a 39-39 halftime tie.

After the break, it was all Colorado.

Stanford missed its first 10 shots after halftime while the Buffs reeled off a 16-0 run, posting 11 consecutiv­e stops defensivel­y. The Cardinal never threatened the rest of the way.

“In the first half they got downhill, they got (Maxime) Raynaud on a couple lobs and our guards weren’t getting through those (screens),” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “The second half, we switched that action. Lawson Lovering did a great job of stopping that ball at the free throw line. Now we have a guard or somebody cracking down on their big guy, and then we doubled the post. That was a key adjustment and our players did a good job of that.”

Da Silva posted his fifth consecutiv­e 20-point game, going 9-for14 from the floor and 4-for-5 at the free throw line to finish with 25

points and four rebounds. Simpson enjoyed a strong all-around game, going 11-for-11 at the free throw line with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

CU put together one of its top shooting performanc­es of the season, fin- ishing .527 overall, 9-for-19 on 3-pointers, and 17-for-18 on free throws. The Buffs’ .527 shooting percentage was their fourth-best of the season and their top mark in Pac-12 play.

Stanford finished just 5-for-27 on 3-pointers. CU outscored Stanford 45-23 after halftime.

“What a great win for our program at this stage of the season and where we’re at,” Boyle said. “I didn’t know what to expect coming to the gym today. If we were going to be ready to play. Stanford’s been on a roll, won five straight. We’ve had a couple good practices but obviously being down J’vonne Hadley, being a little thin up front against a Stanford team that’s big and strong.

“That was absolutely huge to come out of halftime like that. It’s a good win against a quality team.”

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