The University of Colorado Buffaloes took down the Wyoming Cowboys on Wednesday night in a close game, 63-58. It was the Buffs' first victory over the Cowboys since 1996 after losing six straight matchups between the two teams.
"It was a big game for us," junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie said. "I know I said earlier that they're not a rival and I stick by that, but at the same time they're a big game. Anything's a big game, really, but we're glad we won."
Dinwiddie led the Buffaloes with 15 points and seven rebounds. Three more Buffs also contributed double digits in scoring, with Askia Booker at 14, Xavier Johnson at 13, and Josh Scott at 12.
Colorado's challenge as a young team showed early in the game, with numerous fundamental mistakes such as two over-under calls in the first half.
Sophomore forward Josh Scott addressed this issue as both a blessing and a curse for the young team, which consists of four sophomores and four freshmen.
"You can see that we make mistakes," Scott said. "I think sometimes we lose concentration, but one of the blessings is that we have so much that we can improve upon. When we play teams that are well-coached and have some returning players from last year. We just have to feel pretty excited that we were able to beat a team like that. It just shows that we have promise for the games coming up."
The Buffs struggled offensively in the first half after shooting 8 for 25 from the field (32%) and 2 for 8 from the three-point range (25%). The Cowboys shot much better in the first, with 48% shooting from the field (12 for 25) and 50% from the three-point range.
The Buffs picked it up in the second half, shooting 50% from the field and 25% from behind the arc. The Cowboys, on the other hand, shot 38.1% from the field and 18.2% from the three-point range.
As a whole, the Buffs only had four assists during the game. The last time they had four assists or less in an entire game and won was Dec 19, 1977 against Jacksonville.
The game got off to a quick start after Wyoming sunk its first bucket off of a three-point jumper by Derek Cook Jr. 19 minutes into the game (0-3). The Buffs responded quickly with a layup from Scott (2-3), who set the tone for the majority of the rest of the half.
The Buffs acquired their biggest lead of the half 15 minutes into the game with a nasty dunk by sophomore wing Xavier Johnson, giving the Buffs a five-point edge over the Cowboys (10-5). The Buffs kept the score close for the next eight minutes and tied the game at the 7:26 mark (18-18).
The Buffs lost their momentum after a technical foul called on freshman guard Jaron Hopkins shook them up. The Cowboys took advantage of the opportunity and scored ten in the next two minutes, accumulating their biggest lead of the game with a score of 28-18.
The Buffs tried to close the ten-point gap in the remaining three minutes, but only managed to cut it in half before the buzzer sounded. The Cowboys went into halftime with a slight lead, 31-26.
The Buffs came out fighting in the second half and quickly caught up to the Cowboys. They kept the score close throughout the remainder of an energetic second half, which had four tied scores and two lead changes.
Despite a poor offensive effort in the first half, the Cardiac Buffs managed hang on in the second half to pull out the narrow victory, 63-58.
"If you guys are looking for the definition of the phrase 'winning ugly,' I think you saw it tonight," head coach Tad Boyle said. "It wasn't pretty, wasn't our best effort, but I was really proud of our guys for finding a way down the stretch to win the game... It wasn't easy, it wasn't pretty, but we'll take it. We'll learn and move on and we'll get better."
The Buffs return to the floor on Saturday morning at 10:00, and will face Jackson State on at the Coors Events Center in Boulder.