Story by Neill Woelk, Contributing Editor, CUBuffs.com
STANFORD, Calif. — McKinley Wright IV just missed a triple-double and Colorado used balanced scoring and solid defense Thursday to collect a 69-51 win over Stanford, giving the Buffaloes a season sweep of the Cardinal.
CU improved to 16-5 overall and 10-4 in Pac-12 play while Stanford fell to 12-8, 8-6. The win in the first of four on the road kept the Buffs firmly in third place in the Pac-12 standings and gave them their fourth conference road win of the season, tying the most in their Pac-12 history.
Oscar da Silva led Stanford with 22 points.
The Buffs played well on both ends of the floor. Offensively, CU shot 49% (28-for-57) with 14 assists and 11 turnovers. Defensively, Colorado held Stanford to 40% shooting, just four offensive rebounds and only 24 points in the paint — less than half what the Cardinal scored inside in a victory over CU at Stanford last season.
Colorado also held a 32-23 overall edge on the boards.
CU coach Tad Boyle called the game “the best execution of a defensive game plan we’ve had all year.”
The Buffs started the game with a 10-0 run before Stanford rallied to take a momentary 13-12 lead. But another 10-0 Colorado run put the Buffs back in the lead and they never trailed again, as the closest Stanford could come was within six midway through the second half. The Buffs then answered that Stanford rally with yet one more 10-0 run to put the game away.
“McKinley Wright was special,” Boyle said. “He wasn’t going to let us lose tonight. We fought through foul trouble again with Evan (Battey) and Dallas (Walton), Tristan da Silva gave us great minutes off the bench and Eli Parquet made a couple big shots like he’s been known to do. Really a great team victory. I wasn’t expecting one like this going away.”
HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado led by 11 at the half, 34-23, before Stanford made one more run to shave the margin to six, 49-43, with [11:32] to play.
But the Buffs then regained control to put the game away with their third 10-0 run of the game. Horne and Maddox Daniels each had 3-pointers in the surge before a Horne dunk with [9:26] to play gave CU a 57-43 edge, with Wright getting an assist on two of the baskets.
Colorado then pushed its lead to 14 on a Battey basket before Stanford finally ended a four-minute scoring drought to pull within 59-45. But Wright then scored back-to-back buckets to give CU an 18-point cushion, 63-45, with seven minutes to play and the Buffs never gave Stanford another chance down the stretch.
“It felt like a must-win,” Wright said. “We talked about it coming down here. This is something we wanted to do, sweep this road trip, and we knew we couldn’t do it without winning the first one. I just wanted to do whatever I could tonight to make sure we won this game.”
The Buffs were balanced in just about every category. Along with six players scoring at least eight points, they also had five players with at least four rebounds. On the defensive end, aside from da Silva’s 22 points, no Stanford player had more than seven points.
“This program is based on defense and rebounding,” Wright said. “We have so many offensive weapons, offense isn’t a huge concern for us. As long as we can get stops and get out and run, we’re a really good team. We’re hard to beat.”
Colorado started strong, jumping out to a 10-0 lead before Stanford responded with a 13-2 run to take a 13-12 lead midway through the half.
But the Buffs regained control over the last 10 minutes. CU put together another 10-0 run, getting 3-pointers from Tristan da Silva and Dallas Walton in the surge to take a 22-13 lead. The Buffs then extended their cushion to 11 points by halftime, with Eli Parquet hitting a 3-pointer and D’Shawn Schwartz scoring four points in the final five minutes.
The Buffs then maintained that cushion throughout the half, taking a 34-23 lead into intermission.
BACK-TO-BACK DEFENSE: Combined with the 49 points CU allowed Oregon State in a 78-49 win Monday, the Buffs gave up just 100 points in back-to-back conference games. The last time CU accomplished that was in 2012, when they held Arizona State and Utah to 97 points. Prior to that, the last time CU held conference opponents to a combined 100 points or less in consecutive games was 1962-63.
TURNING POINT: After Stanford closed to within six with [11:32] to play in the game, the Buffs answered with a 10-0 run to turn momentum back to their side and put the game away.
WHAT IT MEANS: The win keeps the Buffs firmly in third place in the Pac-12 standings and gives them a good shot at a road trip sweep, as they play at last-place Cal on Saturday.
KEY STATISTICS: CU shot 49% (28-for-57) with 14 assists and 11 turnovers … The Buffs held Stanford to 40% shooting, just four offensive rebounds and only 24 points in the paint … Colorado also held a 32-23 overall edge on the boards.
QUOTEWORTHY: “Overall just a great effort. Our guys were dialed in. I told them after the game, good teams split on the road in Pac-12 play. Great teams sweep. We did the first part. Now we have to turn our attention to Cal.” — CU coach Tad Boyle
NEXT UP: The Buffs continue their four-game road trip Saturday with an 8 p.m. game at Cal (ESPNU). After that, CU plays Thursday, Feb. 18, at Oregon (9 p.m., ESPN2), followed by a Feb. 20 contest at Oregon State (6 p.m., ESPNU).
Colorado improves to 16-5 overall and 10-4 in the Pac-12 Conference. The Buffaloes have won 9 of 11 overall.
Colorado picks up its fourth Pac-12 road win of the season matching the most road conference wins in the Pac-12 era (4-5 in 2012-13). The 10 overall wins matches its total from last season (10-8).
Colorado improves to 5-4 in true road games and 8-4 away from Boulder this season. The Buffaloes are 20-16 away from Boulder since Feb. 2019 including 11-14 in true road games.
Colorado increases its series lead over Stanford to 15-11 and narrows the Cardinal lead in Maples to 6-5.
Colorado, which held Oregon State to 49 points on Feb. 8, has held its opponents to 100 points or fewer in back-to-back conference games for just the second time in 58 years. The Buffs gave up 97 in games at Arizona State (W 63-49) on Feb. 11, 2012 and at Utah (W 55-48) on Feb. 18, 2012. The last time prior to that was 58 years ago (1962-63 season).
Colorado tied season lows in free throws made and attempted at 5 for 6 (.833). The Buffaloes, leading the nation in free throw percentage at 83.0 percent, shot 80 percent for the 14th time in 21 games.
Colorado shot a solid 49 percent from the field and is shooting 53.4 percent over the last three games (86 of 161).
Colorado’s 18-point margin of victory ties for its fourth best against a Pac-12 opponent on the road:
Date Opponent Score Margin
1-26-2012 at Southern California 74-50 24
2-15-2020 at Oregon State 69-47 22
2-01-2020 at Southern California 78-57 21
2-11-2021 at Stanford 61-59 19
12-05-1955 at Oregon 68-49 19
3-05-2015 at Washington 64-47 17
Tristan da Silva (8 points, 3-5 FG) has scored 29 points over the last three games – had just 10 total in his first 10 games. He saw a streak of 10 straight field goals made end, but has still made 15 of his last 22 attempts
Eli Parquet (10 points, 2-3 3FG) tied his career high in points; the other coming at UCLA on Jan. 2. He is averaging 8.7 points over the last three games. Has hit 6 of 10 from 3-point range over the last four games.
McKinley Wright IV (14 points, 9 assists, 9 rebounds) becomes the eighth player in team history to reach 600 field goals made (602). He moved into 23rd in career rebounds, now with 598, just two shy of becoming the first player in Pac-12 history with 1,600 points, 600 rebounds, and 600 assists
(Division I; dating back to 1985-86 when all statistics are available; but a check of some famous names added no one else, e.g. Oscar Robertson, John Stockton, Pete Maravich, Michael Jordan, Isaiah Thomas, etc.)
< One of 37 players to score 1,000 points, with 600 assists and 500 rebounds
< One of 28 players to score 1,500 points, with 600 assists and 500 rebounds
< One of 10 players to score 1,600 points, with 600 assists and 600 rebounds (one of four in a Power 6 conference)
< One of 7 players to score 1,700 points, with 600 assists and 600 rebounds (one of three in a Power 6 conference)
The 1,600/600/600 Club
Player, School Seasons G Points Rebounds Assists Club
Jon Elmore, Marshall 2015-19 133 2,638 636 783 2,600 / 600 / 700
Nate Wolters, South Dakota State 2009-13 127 2,352 601 668 2,300 / 600 / 600
Greivis Vasquez, Maryland 2006-10 136 2,171 647 772 2,100 / 600 / 700
DaAndre Kane, Marshall/Iowa State 2010-14 132 2,110 743 645 2,100 / 700 / 600
D.J. Cooper, Ohio 2009-13 143 2,075 620 934 2,000 / 600 / 900
Kyle Collingsworth, BYU 2010-16 140 1,707 1,047 703 1,700 / 1,000 / 700
Andre Miller, Utah 1995-99 134 1,618 643 721 1,600 / 600 / 700
Denzel Valentine, Michigan State 2012-16 144 1,645 855 639 1,600 / 800 / 600
Tarkus Ferguson, Illinois-Chicago 2016-20 127 1,646 743 632 1,600 / 700 / 600
McKinley Wright, Colorado 2017-21 120 1,674 598 623 1,600 / 500 / 600
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