Boulder, Colo.--Leading by five points with 12:41 left in the second half, the Colorado Buffaloes took command with a 24-0 run on the way to a 90-59 basketball victory over the Auburn Tigers at the Coors Events Center.
Auburn trailed 38-34 at halftime and cut the margin to 42-40 early in the second half, but with the home team holding a 51-46 lead the Tigers got very cold shooting the ball and the Buffaloes quickly built the lead into double figures and kept expanding it as Auburn went more than seven minutes without a point.
Coach Bruce Pearl’s Tigers were out-shot from the field 58.5 percent to 29 percent for the game as AU fell to 1-1 while Colorado improved to 2-0.
In the second half the Buffaloes hit 65.4 percent of their shots while the Tigers managed just 18.2 percent shooting as CU outscored Auburn 52-25 in the final 20 minutes.
“When the other team shoots 59 percent and you get out-rebounded like we did there is not much you can do,” Pearl said. “We had to make shots and in the second half we were 1-15 for threes and I think about 13 of them were pretty good looks. We have got to make some of those shots to open things up.”
K.T. Harrell led the Tigers in scoring with 20 points, but the senior guard hit just 5-17 field goals.
Bowers drives to the basket vs. the Buffaloes.
Colorado used its size advantage to help take command of the contest and finished the night with a 46-31 rebounding advantage.
Auburn hit 5-27 threes while the Buffaloes made 5-14. Auburn was 14-20 at the foul line while the home team made 23-29 free throws.
The Tigers turned the ball over just nine times, three fewer than Colorado.
“I did think we had a good plan and for about 30 minutes we executed it,” said Pearl, who noted that his team’s lack of size was a problem that Colorado did a good job of exploiting that, particularly in the second half. “It was a real issue for us and the defense is going to have to tighten up,” he added.
Commenting on Colorado's 24-0 run, Pearl said, “We have to make shots. I mean we have to make perimeter shots. Cinmeon Bowers is the only guy that can really score inside forced off the post. I just thought we were taking the ball to the net way too often.
"Our drought had more to do with the fact that they were scoring on a pretty regular basis. We panicked a little bit and tried to get it back a little too quick."
Halftime Numbers: The Tigers trailed 38-34 after hitting 14-36 field goals (39 percent), 4-12 threes and 2-2 free throws while matching CU in rebounds with 18. The Tigers had just three first half turnovers and got 14 points from Harrell, eight from Bowers, five from Ross-Miller, three from Devin Waddell and two apiece from Tajh Shamsid-Deen and Malcolm Canada.
Colorado hit 51.9 percent of its field goals (14-27), 4-11 threes, 6-9 free throws and committed four turnovers.
John Scott scored 17 points and added nine rebounds for Colorado while Wesley Gordon scored 16 points while adding a dozen rebounds.
Injury Report: Antoine Mason was a no-go for the game with a swollen ankle from a sprain suffered in the opener. Tajh Shamsid-Deen wore a harness to protect the shoulder he injured in game one. Shamsid-Deen struggled to shoot the ball, making just 1-8 field goals.
“He certainly would’ve given us another threat," Pearl said. "I thought T.J. Lang did what he could, but you know he doesn’t squeeze off a shot in 18 minutes. He’s a freshman, but it’s great that he got the experience and got out there. That didn’t cost us the game. Defensive rebounding is what cost us the game. When you only have seven assists we did not make plays for one another tonight. We didn’t execute. We didn’t make anybody better offensively or defensively on that one.”
Quoting Pearl: "You look at the stat sheet and see that Cinmeon Bowers had 13 rebounds and I have a bunch of guys that didn’t rebound the basketball. We can’t rely on him to do everything on the inside. We are a team that needs everybody to contribute for us to be successful. We had a couple guys that didn’t show up and did not play well on either the offense or the defense. They were physically overwhelmed. That’s going to happen some nights against some matchups.”
Stat Of the Game: Colorado finished with 37 defensive rebounds while Auburn managed just 16.
The Tigers will take on the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns on Friday at 8 p.m. CST at Auburn Arena.