BOULDER — Colorado freshman Cody Williams scored a career-high 23 points and KJ Simpson tallied 22 Thursday as the Buffaloes pulled away from Oregon down the stretch to take an 86-70 win at the CU Events Center.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffs improved to 11-0 at home while pushing their record to 13-5 overall and 4-3 in Pac-12 play. The Ducks, who fell to 1-12 all-time in Boulder, saw their six-game win streak come to an end and dropped to 13-4, 5-1.

Williams shot 10-for-13 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from long range, to lead five Buffs in double figures. Along with Simpson’s 22 points, five assists and five rebounds, Tristan da Silva tallied 13 points to go with eight rebounds, J’Vonne Hadley scored 11 and Luke O’Brien chipped in 10.

Jadrian Tracey led Oregon with 14 points while UO’s leading scorer, Jackson Shelstad, finished with just nine, nearly six under his season average.

Colorado led by nine at the half, 43-34, only to see a rash of turnovers to open the second half pave the way for a 16-6 Oregon run as the Ducks regained the lead.

But the Buffs recovered from their miscues. After a see-saw five minutes, Colorado sandwiched a pair of 7-0 runs around one Oregon basket to take control and CU outscored the Ducks 30-13 over the final 11 minutes to collect the win.

CU shot 51 percent from the floor (30-for-59), including a 16-for-29 effort in the second half. CU’s defense forced 13 UO turnovers to produce 24 points and Colorado also held Oregon to just 41 percent shooting in the second half (14-for-34).

The Buffs also held a 37-25 edge on the boards and they outscored the Ducks 40-28 in the paint.

“Our guys competed,” Boyle said. “They competed on offense and competed on defense. Cody was terrific, KJ was terrific, Luke gave us phenomenal minutes off the bench. Just a good all-around team victory.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado led by 14 late in the first half and still had a nine-point edge, 43-34, at the break.

But the Buffs committed four turnovers on their first four possessions of the second half, opening the door for a 16-6 Oregon run and a 50-49 Ducks lead five minutes in.

“We started turning it over and they were right back in the game,” Boyle said. “We just can’t have those.”

The two teams then traded the lead five times over the next four minutes before the Buffs put together a 7-0 run to take the lead for good. Da Silva erased Oregon’s final lead with a 3-pointer to start the run, Williams added a layup and da Silva scored again to give the Buffs a 63-57 edge with 9:22 to play.

Da Silva missed eight of his first nine shots but then hit three of his final four, including the go-ahead 3-pointer.

“The thing I love about Tristan is that he missed a couple that he normally makes, but when he got that corner three he didn’t hesitate and nailed it,” Boyle said.

Oregon momentarily stopped the run with a Brennan Rigsby jumper but the Buffs answered again with another 7-0 run. Back-to-back steals and layups from da Silva and Simpson gave CU a 70-59 lead with 7:06 to play.

One minute later, Williams drained a 3-pointer to give Colorado a 12-point edge, 73-61, and the Buffs never allowed Oregon to come closer than nine again.

“Cody really grew up tonight,” Boyle said. “That was a big-time performance in a big-time game.”

Williams was playing in his third game since missing seven with a wrist injury.

“It’s definitely fun when you get a ‘W’ and protect home court,” Williams said. “I just trusted my teammates, moved the ball and got into the flow. We knew the game plan and just had to execute it.”

The first 10 minutes of the game featured five lead changes. Colorado used a 7-0 run featuring a Simpson 3-pointer to take a 15-9 lead six minutes in before Oregon answered with an 8-0 surge to take a 20-18 lead at the 9:52 mark.

Colorado then took control with a 17-2 run that included 11 unanswered points. Williams had five points in the run, including a long 3-pointer, and Hadley added four. A Simpson jumper in transition gave Colorado a 35-22 lead with 5:04 left in the half and that was enough for an Oregon timeout.

The Ducks managed to narrow the gap to eight with five straight points out of the break but Colorado answered again with a 6-0 run. Da Silva scored four points in the burst, including a dunk in transition, and Colorado had a 14-point edge, 43-29, with 1:23 left in the half.

But Oregon didn’t go away. The Ducks scored the last five points of the half, including a Shelstad 3-pointer, and the Buffs took a nine-point lead into intermission.

While the Ducks shot 54.5 percent in the opening half (12-for-22), the Buffs forced eight UO turnovers that led to 17 Colorado points.

TURNING POINT: After Oregon took a 57-56 lead with 11:21 to play, Da Silva started a 7-0 Colorado run with a 3-pointer and the Buffaloes never trailed again.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Buffs stayed within striking distance of the conference lead and now trail Oregon by just two games in the loss column.

KEY STATISTICS: CU shot 51 percent from the floor (30-for-59), including a 16-for-29 effort in the second half … CU’s defense forced 13 UO turnovers to produce 24 points … Colorado held Oregon to just 41 percent shooting in the second half (14-for-34) … CU held a 37-25 edge on the boards and outscored the Ducks 40-28 in the paint.

NEXT UP: The Buffs wrap up their homestand Saturday with a 5 p.m. game against Oregon State at the Events Center (Pac-12 Network). They then hit the road for three in a row: next Wednesday at Washington (9 p.m.), Jan. 27 at Washington State (3 p.m.) and  Feb. 3 at Utah (3 p.m.).


Story by Neill Woelk, Contributing Editor for Content courtesy of the University of Colorado at Boulder.