Sometimes in close games all a team needs is a little spark to motivate them to victory. For Colorado on Thursday night it was a sign of disrespect from Rocky Mountain rival Utah that lit a fire under the Buffs.
Coming out of halftime, with Colorado leading 30-28, Utah players pounded on the home team’s locker room doors as they walked out to the court, something the Buffs didn’t appreciate one bit. So as they came out after their halftime adjustments walk-on player Beau Gamble broke through Utah’s group of players and messed up their huddle, sparking a bit of a scuffle.
“I came out kind of late but I heard Beau walked through Utah’s huddle and kind of banged into everyone,” Jeremy Adams said.
No punches were thrown but a few players had to be held back from getting into a fight, most notably freshman forward Xavier Johnson.
“We were behind him (Gamble) 100 percent. We’re not going to let anybody come in on our home court and punk us – so that’s how it is,” said Andre Roberson after the game.
The scuffle seemed to have motivated Colorado as they opened up the second half with an 11-3 scoring run to put them up by double digits. Utah never got closer than five points the rest of the way home as the Buffs held them to 31.9 percent from the field and out-rebounded them 22-14 in the second half.
Roberson once again had a good all-around performance, with 10 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks and two steals prompting coach Tad Boyle to reiterate his notion that the junior forward is one of the top defenders in the country, if not the best.
“First of all, Andre Roberson is the best defender in America,” Boyle said. “He’s without a doubt the best defender in the Pac-12. … I’d put him up against anybody in the country. Anybody.”
Among Roberson’s game high 13 rebounds was a personal milestone as he brought in his 1,000th rebound in a Colorado jersey placing him second all-time (1,006) in program history, trailing only Stephane Pelle (1,054). Roberson should reach that total by season’s end and if he stays for one more season in Boulder he could enter the top 10 in rebounds all-time in NCAA history.
Colorado wound up winning the game 60-50 to improve to 18-8 overall and 8-6 in the Pac 12, but it was a walk-on leader that set the tone coming out of halftime in a game Colorado had to come out on top in.
“It was a must win,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “It wasn’t pretty but we found a way to get it done.”
David LaRose is a College Basketball writer for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado. He’s also a member of the USBWA. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.