Even without arguably their best player, Colorado still got the job done at home.
Without Andre Roberson, who is often considered their best player and best pro prospect, Colorado raised plenty of eyebrows by dominating nationally ranked Oregon 76-53. Roberson, who missed the game due to a viral illness, instead was cheering on his team from the sidelines in street clothes but frankly they didn’t need him, not on this night.
It was a bit of a surprising result considering the circumstances. Oregon came in with a chance to take complete control of the Pac 12 regular season title race facing a Colorado team without Roberson and they even got four of Colorado’s starters into foul trouble late in the first half. But despite their main guys riding the bench due to foul trouble Colorado was able to maintain their double digit lead, even with their bench playing significant minutes in the first half, and dictate everything that happened.
“I’ve been coaching division basketball for 18 years now, as an assistant or head coach, I’m not sure I’ve ever been more proud of a group of guys to respond the way they did” CU head coach Tad Boyle said postgame. “Step up to a man, starters, bench, anybody we put in there… they played their hearts out and we beat a top 20 team convincingly.”
Practically everything was working for Boyle and Co. as the starters played well, the bench played big time minutes and their defense was phenomenal, especially in that first half when they held Oregon to a season low 21 points. Boyle consistently preaches defense and rebounding as keys to victory and his mantra paid dividends once again. The Buffs held the Ducks to 37% from the field and they won the rebounding battle 38-35 without Roberson, the nation’s leading rebounder.
This win can be attributed to a myriad of different factors but in the end Colorado wanted this game more than Oregon did and it showed. It looked like Colorado was the team playing for a conference championship but in reality they probably just played their way into a secure, at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament.
Boyle doesn’t put much stock in momentum at the end of the season but Colorado is playing their best basketball at just the right time.
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.