EUGENE, Ore.— The Colorado Buffaloes have harbored regrets about how they performed in their two toughest road games of the season, losing lopsided showdowns that turned into routs against nationally-ranked Kansas on Arizona.
The Buffs will be a little more satisfied with the effort they turned in during a top-20 battle Thursday night at Oregon, though they will be equally disappointed with the result.
Despite a balanced scoring attack, an often smothering defense in the first half, and a torrid night at the 3-point line, the 16th-ranked Buffs couldn’t get it done at crunch time, dropping a 68-60 decision against the 17th-ranked Ducks.
Oregon used a late 12-0 run to pull away, earning a split of the season series with CU while pulling into a first-place tie with the Buffs atop the Pac-12 Conference standings.
After a slow start from both sides the Buffs erupted in the middle of the first half, reeling off 20 consecutive points to take a 14-point lead with just under four minutes remaining in the first half. Six different Buffs players scored during the 20-0 run, during which CU’s defense forced 11 consecutive missed shots out of the Ducks.
Oregon trimmed CU’s 14-point lead down to seven, but a McKinley Wright-to-Evan Battey bucket gave the Buffs a nine-point lead at the break. Oregon gradually cut into the deficit throughout the second half, eventually tying the game at 58-58 on a pair of Will Richardson free throws with 4 minutes, 18 seconds remaining.
CU went scoreless for over four and a half minutes while Oregon put together its game-changing run late in the second half.
Three players scored in double figures for the Buffs, led by 14 apiece from D’Shawn Schwartz and Evan Battey. After holding Oregon to a .323 shooting percentage in the first half, the Ducks shot .467 in the second half.
Oregon’s Will Richardson scored 17 of his game-high 21 points after halftime, while Ducks senior guard Payton Pritchard finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists