In a game filled with abysmal offense and half a century of fouls, the Colorado Buffaloes rose to the challenge to defeat visiting Seattle University in Boulder, 67-55 on Monday, as forward Xavier Johnson wrote his name in the history books.

“That was the definition of winning ugly right there,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “But to figure out a way to win on a night when you’re not functioning offensively this early in the season is a testament to our guys’ will and their toughness and our defensive rebounding.”

Johnson, who returned as a fifth-year senior after sitting out last season with a torn Achilles, became the 33rd player in CU basketball history to hit the 1,000-point career mark early in the night after scoring just five points in the first seven minutes of the game.

“It’s a blessing to be able to play the game again coming off the Achilles tear,” Johnson said. “I’m just happy to score the basketball, I guess.”

Senior forward Wesley Gordon earned the 11th double-double of his career as he netted 11 points while grabbing 14 rebounds.

Seniority took over for the Buffs in the first game of the Legends Classic as guard Derrick White (15 points), Johnson (13), guard Josh Fortune (12) and Gordon all came together to contribute double digits despite the team’s overall shooting inefficiency.

“I’d really rather we not have a sloppy game, but I mean it’s good early to show the young guys that we’re not going to be able to score whenever we want to and shots aren’t going to fall every night,” Gordon said.

In what Boyle described as an “anemic” offense, the Buffs shot just 35.8 percent, which somehow bested the Redhawks’ 30.2 percent offense.

Throughout Boyle’s tenure at CU, defense and rebounding have been the backbone of his teams. On Monday night, the Buffs nabbed 55 boards to Seattle’s 35.

“We had 19 turnovers, we shot three for 18 from the three, and we still won, so that does show that when we guard and we rebound that we can win,” White said. “Our record when we do both those things is great, so we just got to keep doing that.”

The Buffs got off to a rocky start as they allowed the Redhawks to not only get on top early but couldn’t get any offense going to make up for the difference.

Colorado went down by as many an eight points, 19-11, by the midway point of the first half before sophomore guard Thomas Akyazili brought the Buffs some much-needed life with a layup and subsequent defensive rebound and assist to Miller.

Although the Buffs started lighting up a bit on offense, they were no match for the Redhawks, who kept them humble throughout the first. At the half, both teams remained deadlocked at 31 points apiece.

In the second half, Colorado’s shots started falling as the Buffs went up by double digits, 45-35, after just six minutes, but they couldn’t keep that smolder going. The Redhawks consistently tried to snuff that small heat output, but the Buffs wouldn’t let them gain any traction.

In the end, the Buffs earned a sloppy victory, 67-55. They return to their home court for the second game of the Legends Classic to take on Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.

“We won ugly, and I think that’s the sign of, I think, a good team,” Boyle said. “We’re in the process of becoming a good team. We’re not a good team right now.”

Worth Noting:
Dominique Collier sat out the second half due to a foot injury, and Boyle said the coaches might have to “shut him down” the next game to ensure it heals properly.

Freshman guard Bryce Peters ended his two-game suspension for breaking team rules on Monday and will debut during Thursday’s home game.