Earlier this week, senior forward Xavier Johnson said he believed Colorado basketball had what it needed to turn their embattled season around with just 11 games until the postseason. With a stunning 74-65 victory over No. 10 Oregon in Boulder on Saturday night, the rest of the team is starting to believe as well.

“This could be how we turn it around,” junior guard George King said. “Going forward, looking at our schedule, we can beat anybody. But we have to consistently guard for 40 minutes. This is definitely how we can turn this ship around.”

After finishing non-conference play on a high note with a 10-3 record, the Buffaloes dropped their first seven contests of Pac-12 play; some by just a handful of points. After a slim victory over a terrible Oregon State team earlier in the week, the Buffs were ready to change their identities on the court.

Head coach Tad Boyle never doubted his team’s ability to win, despite what their conference record may have indicated.

“I think that’s the Colorado basketball game we know and love that we showed tonight,” Boyle said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our group of guys. As a head coach—this is my 10th year—I’ve never been through something like this with a team like this.

“We beat a heck of a basketball team. They’re not just a top 10 team, they’re a legit top 10 team. There’s been some wins in here against some name opponents, maybe, that haven’t been quite as good as their name, but Oregon’s every bit as good as that No 10 ranking they came in here with.”

All throughout the season, Colorado (12-10, 2-7) has struggled to get stops on defense and keep their opponents at bay. But on Saturday night, the Buffaloes came out in full camouflage with guns a-ready, and embraced duck hunting season in their fair state.

And for the third time this season, they took down a top-25 team with a phenomenal defensive effort that has been absent all year.

As a surprise to no one, senior guard Derrick White once again gave a top-notch performance with 23 points, four steals, four assists and five rebounds. His efforts were complemented by King (13 points) and senior forward Xavier Johnson (10) as the Buffs finished with 42.4 percent shooting to Oregon’s 38.6 percent.

“It was a great feeling, a team effort all the way,” White said. “We all made big plays and we all guarded. That’s a big reason why we won this game. This is why you come to Colorado in the first place. It was good to get this win on our home court.”

The Buffs came out firing on all cylinders on Saturday as they hit four straight shots from long range to quickly gain the edge on the Ducks (19-3, 8-1). Throughout the remainder of the first half, they let that early flame fuel the rest of their offense as they kept the Ducks on their webbed toes.

In a turnaround from the rest of the season, the Buffs also stayed on hot on defense as they hunted the Ducks with three monster blocks, five steals and 11 forced turnovers. Colorado led by as much as nine, 14-5, before Oregon started fighting back.

“We haven’t seen it,” Boyle said of his team’s defensive effort. “Maybe the guys said, ‘enough is enough.’ Look, they did it. I didn’t do it.”

At the half, the Buffaloes led 35-34.

Throughout the rest of the game, the Buffs kept up their antics on both sides of the ball and, no matter how hard the Ducks tried to soar, the Buffaloes trampled them and wouldn’t let them fly. The Buffs led by much as 12, 64-52, with just over three minutes remaining.

By the time the final buzzer sounded, the Buffs shocked the world with a 74-65 victory over a top 10 team. The Buffs return to action on Thursday, Feb. 2 as they head to Stanford to take on the Cardinal at 9 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.

“The good thing about our team is they didn’t get their heads down. They kept competing, and that was the message before we came on the floor,” Boyle said. “It sounds simple. We’ve competed, but I’m not sure we’ve competed for 40 full minutes with the alertness, tentativeness and toughness that we showed tonight.”

With the team riding high after a marquee win, the Buffaloes believe they can do anything.

“If they dial in, we can play with anybody in this basketball league, and there’s a lot of basketball to be played left,” Boyle said. “The joy in that locker room and the togetherness in that locker room is something I think we can build upon. It’s not going to be easy. We’re halfway through the conference season.”