Boyle’s Buffs Roll Past Oregon State
Story by Neill Woelk, Contributing Editor, CUBuffs.com
BOULDER — There would be no second-half comeback by the Colorado Buffaloes’ opponents Monday night.
The Buffs built a big early lead, then put the hammer down in the second half to run away with a 78-49 win over Oregon State at the CU Events Center.
The Buffs improved to 15-5 overall and 9-4 in Pac-12 play while the Beavers fell to 10-8 and 6-6 while also seeing their two-game win streak at the Events Center come to an end.
CU had three players in double figures, led by Jeriah Horne’s 16 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Tristan da Silva had career highs in points (15), rebounds (four) and minutes (20) and senior Dallas Walton chipped in 12 points and seven boards.
Ethan Thompson led OSU with 10 points — eight under his average — as the Buffs limited him to just 3-for-8 shooting. CU also held OSU’s second-leading scorer, Jarod Lucas, to just four points, nine under his season average, as CU guard Eli Parquet made Lucas’ night difficult all evening.
The Buffs were solid on both ends of the floor for the entire game against an opponent that was playing its third contest in six days. OSU managed to stay close for the first 10 minutes, but the Buffs slowly pulled away and made sure to use altitude to their advantage. Colorado led by 13 at the half, pushed the lead to 24 early in the second half and led by as much as 33 late in the game.
CU shot 55.8% from the floor (29-for-52) while holding OSU to 32.7% (18-for-55). On the defensive end, Colorado forced 20 Beavers turnovers — an OSU season high — and converted them into 29 points. The Buffs also held a commanding edge in bench points (43-19), more than making up for quiet nights from starters McKinley Wright IV (six points) and Evan Battey (one point).
The victory kept the Buffs solidly in third place in the Pac-12, one game behind co-leaders UCLA and USC, both with 9-2 conference marks.
“This was a separation game,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “Coming into tonight, they had five losses in league play, we’ve got four. If we don’t win tonight, we’re falling back in the pack. Now they’ve got six and we’ve got four, and we’re going to be faced with the same thing on Thursday against Stanford. February is kind of a separation month. You either play yourself into the top half or the middle or the bottom half. We want to be in that top half and we want to compete for a championship.”
HOW IT HAPPENED: After the two teams traded the lead four times early in the game, CU took the lead for good at the [12:09] mark of the first half on a Horne three-point play.
The Buffs then used 9-2 and 12-2 runs to take a 13-point lead at the half, 40-27, before expanding the cushion to 24 just five minutes into the second half with a 13-2 run.
Parquet had two buckets in the run to open the half, getting great feeds from Horne and Walton. Horne also had a 3-pointer in the surge as well as a fast-break dunk off a long pass from Wright.
Horne’s dunk gave Colorado a 24-point lead, 53-29, with [15:15] still to play — and unlike their last two outings, the Buffs didn’t allow their opponents to put together anything resembling a second-half comeback.
“I feel like tonight, that was our main focus going into halftime, just making sure we did all we could to keep that lead and extend it,” Horne said.
The Buffs did exactly that. With freshman Jabari Walker out with an injury, Da Silva got the most extensive playing time of his young career and he made the most of it. With Battey battling foul trouble and an ankle injury, the CU freshman had seven points in the first half when the Buffs were building a double-digit lead, then added eight in the second half as he finished the night 6-for-6 from the floor.
“As a freshman, when you make mistakes on the court it happens a lot that you get subbed out immediately,” da Silva said. “If you’re on the court for a longer period of time you know you’re playing good defense, you’re not screwing up plays. That gives you confidence. Then, if you don’t play two minutes on, two minutes off, you get into a rhythm and that’s what happened tonight.”
Horne, meanwhile, was an efficient 6-for-8 from the floor and 3-for-3 from the line, along with seven rebounds and two assists.
“Jeriah’s an efficient player,” Boyle said. “He’s got the ability to make tough shots and not everybody has that. We don’t want him taking tough shots … but Jeriah’s a crafty offensive player. We want him to be aggressive. He is so creative and crafty, you want him to play free and you want him to play his game.”
As fatigue set in for the Beavers, the Buffs kept up the pressure down the stretch. CU still led by 24 points, 61-37, with [7:43] to play and pushed the margin to as much as 33 in the final minute, even when Boyle emptied his bench. Thirteen Buffs saw playing time.
REST FOR REGULARS: The runaway win gave Boyle a chance to rest his starters, something that is important as they have two more games this week, and some are battling nagging injuries as well.
No Buff played more than 26 minutes Monday, with Wright playing 25 (seven under his season average) and Battey just 12, barely half his season average.
With games on tap for Thursday and Saturday, the team won’t have a regular practice Tuesday, but will instead have an “individual improvement” day. That could mean anything from getting up shots in the gym to weight workouts to training room treatment.
“The goal is to keep this team fresh mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally as we head through February,” Boyle said. “This has been a long year and a trying year for everybody. We’re going to try to stay fresh and take care of business.”
TURNING POINT: After OSU pulled to within 19-17 at the midway point of the first half, the Buffs put together a 9-2 run, quickly followed by a 9-0 surge to take a 37-23 lead. The Beavers never came closer than 13 again.
WHAT IT MEANS: The win keeps Colorado firmly in third place in the league standings and within striking range of co-leaders USC and UCLA with seven conference games remaining. But the Buffs will need to find a way to pick up some victories on their upcoming four-game road trip before returning home for contests with the Trojans and Bruins.
KEY STATISTICS: Colorado shot 56% from the floor and held OSU to 33% shooting … CU forced 20 Oregon State turnovers and reaped 29 points off the miscues … The Buffs’ reserves outscored their Beavers counterparts 43-19 … CU had an 18-0 edge in fastbreak points.
NEXT UP: The Buffs hit the road for a four-game trip, beginning with a Thursday game at Stanford (5 p.m., ESPNU) and followed by a Saturday tilt at Cal (8 p.m., ESPNU). After that, CU plays Feb. 18 at Oregon (9 p.m., ESPN2) and Feb. 20 at Oregon State (6 p.m., ESPN2/ESPNU).
Colorado Head Coach Tad Boyle
On the younger players getting some playing time against Oregon State
“Yeah, no we talked about it as a staff and our older guys let them know. But yeah, again tonight’s game had nothing to do with the last couple years. But our guys were dialed in. They were ready and they knew that we needed to take care of this game because this was a separation game. You know, they had five losses in the league play. We’ve got four. So if we don’t win tonight, you know, we both have five and we’re falling back in the PAC. They’ve got six, we still have four and we’re gonna be facing the same thing on Thursday against Stanford. So, you know, February is kind of a separation month. You either play yourself into the top half or to the middle or to the bottom half, and we want to be in that top half and we want to compete for a championship. For us to do that, we have to win on Thursday. But tonight was a good win. Our bench was great. Tristan obviously played well. Jeriah played well. You know you score 78 points and you shoot 55% from the field and Evan and Mckinley combined for 7 points, you got some firepower.”
On having 18 assists tonight “I thought we did a good job, especially coming out of halftime, of cutting. Eli Parque, early in the second half, had a couple of cuts down the lane– he’s our best cutter and we found him and our guys made good passes. Now, the 18 assists, obviously, we’ll take it every night. That easily could have been in the 20s if we don’t turn it over 13 times. I think the turnovers tonight was something– and the offensive rebounding again, 12 offensive boards, we ended up a plus one on the glass. If we hit our number of six or less, we’re plus seven or eight, which is where we want to be. We have to continue to be a better defensive rebounding team. I thought our field goal percentage defense 32%, we’ll take that every night. We had three kills each half, so some good things happened but again, we caught Oregon State on their third game in six days. They had to travel after playing Saturday. We did not get their best shot. They’re a better team than they played tonight and we know that, they know that. That’s the same team that beat Oregon at Oregon, and that beat USC at home. We’re going to see a different Beaver team in Corvallis in a couple of weeks, I promise you.”
On finishing possessions and closing out the game “Yes, I do. The way we came out, we came out and got two buckets straight away and pushed that thing to 17 and at every media timeout we kept saying we want to win this next four– we had one stretch there, I think from the 16 to the 12, where we were minus two, and then we challenged our guys and they responded. So again, it was good to get some guys in the game there– Luke O’Brien, Nique Clifford, Alex Strating and Will Loughlin got into the game there at the end– and we got Keeshawn [Barthelemy] some minutes, which we’re going to need our bench as this season unfolds. It was a good team victory and you wish they could all be like that, but that’s not the case. It sure won’t be that way on Thursday night in Palo Alto.”
On Jeriah Horne
“The key word there in your question, slash comment, (on Horne) was efficiency. Jeriah is a very efficient player. He’s got the ability to make tough shots and bad shots and not everybody has that. We don’t want him taking tough shots. I thought he took a turnaround jumper there in the lane in the second half where we got a little quick given the time and score, but Jeriah is a crafty offensive player. We want him to be aggressive. He’s a guy you just can’t put a lot of hindrances on his game because he is so creative and crafty that you want him to play free and you want to play his game, but you also have to make sure the shot selection is key. I think the key with Jeriah and with Maddox (Daniels) as they come off the bench, and Keeshawn (Barthelemy) or any bench player, is shot selection. When they come off and take good shots, good things happen. When they come off and force things and take quick contested shots, usually good things don’t happen. Jeriah has done a really good job and he’s a really mature player.”
On The Health Of McKinley Wright IV And Evan Battey
“I went down to McKinley with 12 minutes to go to ask him how he’s feeling and if he wanted to go and he was like, ‘I’ll take the rest of the night off.’ With Evan, that ankle is just not where we need it to be. Certainly, both those guys are banged up. We need them healthy as we head down the stretch here. Because we have three games this week, we’re going to take tomorrow off and use it as an individual improvement day. Some guys will get in to shoot jump shots. Some guys will get a workout in. Some guys will shoot free throws. Some guys will get treatment. Whatever it is they need to get better, that’s what tomorrow is for. It’s not going to be a team practice like we normally would. My goal is to keep this team fresh mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally as we head through February because this has been a long year and a trying year on everybody. I don’t want to make excuses for Oregon State, but you just never know what team is going to show up sometimes just given the psyche of the young people and all they’re going through with this pandemic and COVID. We’re going to try to stay fresh and take care of business.”
Tristan da Silva, Fr., F
On being more comfortable on the court
“I feel great out there. I really love this group, to be honest. It’s just fun to play with them. It starts in practice. They give me the ball a lot. They let me play, especially coach Boyle, he has a lot of confidence in me, and I’m just glad they give me the opportunity to make plays and to go out there.”
On learning from the older players
“I’ve learned a lot from those guys, especially in the front guard and the posts and stuff like that on defense. It’s not just Jeriah (Horne), but also Evan (Battey) and Dallas (Walton). Those guys really gave me tips and really helped me to improve my game. I appreciate that.”
On being more consistent in the game
“It’s just basically hours in the gym that I spend after practice shooting with my coaches and stuff like that. I know that we have less players, and are less deep. And players had to step up and since they gave me the minutes, I gave my best and had a good result today.”
On finding more rhythm in the game
“As a freshman, when you make mistakes on the court, you need to step out immediately. And if you’re on the court for a long period of time you just know that you are playing good defense. You’re not screwing up plays, and stuff like that. So that gives you kind of confidence, and obviously if you don’t play two minutes on two minutes off or something like that, you get into the rhythm, and that’s what happened tonight.”
On his family looking forward to the brother’s matchup
“They love the first game. They were watching that back home. It’s just awesome, all the feedback you get from back home, from family and friends. And I really look forward to that next game. It was awesome seeing my brother again, playing against him. So, I’m really looking forward to flying over there.”
Jeriah Horne, Sr., F
On the focus during the game
“Man, it was a quick turnaround. Everybody was extremely focused, extremely locked in. I want to make sure we came out with the victory tonight.”
On the momentum this game caused
“It’s definitely good to come off a win going into the road games. You need to continue to work hard continuously to stay together because obviously, it’s not easy when you’re on the road. But we’re just going to continue to lock in on personnel and listen to Coach Boyle.”
On not losing the lead
“Last time I was here, it was the Utah game. I spoke about how we had to finish games. I feel like tonight that was our main focus going to halftime, and just making sure that we did all we could to keep that lead and extend it.”
On being a team leader
“I feel like I have great players around me. It’s a blessing to play with guys that are so gifted. Just being able to find open spots. Coach Boyle has really helped me understand how to move and play well within our motion, within our sets, and just getting used to everybody’s personnel and how everybody plays. I think it’s been a great fit for me.”
On being seamless with the other players
“I made this decision leaning completely on faith. And you know, interested in my relationship with God. So to see the fruits of that that faith, really coming into fruition, it’s just a blessing and I gave all my honor and my prayers to Him.”
On taking freshman under his wing
“Tristan has definitely stepped up. He continues to work hard each and every day in practice. He’s always trying to learn. I do my best to talk to him and make sure that he’s caught up to speed. But the performance that he had tonight, it doesn’t surprise me. It was an honor to see his confidence really start to grow. You know he’s going to be a really really good player in this conference.”
TROY ANDRE | ASSOCIATE SID/MANAGING EDITOR CUBuffs.com
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