Josh Fortune added 14 points for Colorado, which pulled away in the last eight minutes and improved to 6-2. Derrick White scored 13 points, George King had 12 and Wesley Gordon grabbed 10 rebounds.
“The thing we did really well in this game was we guarded,” senior guard Derrick White said on KOA 850 AM after the game. “We didn't let our offense affect our defense like we did against CSU.
Portland maintained a slight lead through much of the first half. The Pilots went up 13-10 on a 3-pointer by Tyson midway through the first half and led by as many as eight on several occasions.
The Pilots were leading 25-17 with just over four minutes remaining, but the Buffaloes mounted a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to one on two free throws by Xavier Johnson. Colorado tied the score on a layup by King, but Portland led 30-28 at the break.
Colorado went up 35-33 on a 3-pointer by Xavier Johnson early in the second half. The Buffaloes extended the lead to five on a 3-pointer by Bryce Peters.
The Pilots clawed back to get within three on a 3-pointer by Tyson with just under nine minutes remaining, but the Buffaloes responded with a 9-0 run to take a 60-48 lead on a layup by Xavier Johnson. They led by as many as 14 points in the final minutes.
“We are kind of struggling as a team right now but we kind of broke out of it there at the end,” White said.
Added Buffs head coach Tad Boyle: “This team is still struggling to put 40 minutes together. That is obvious. So the consistency we are still looking for, but I really thought we battled.”
Colorado shot 43.1 percent from the field and amassed a 38-28 rebounding advantage. Portland shot 40.4 percent and committed 18 turnovers.
“The way we execute and shoot the ball and move the ball in practice is so much better than what it is in games,” Boyle said. “In the games, it sticks a little bit. In the second half tonight, I thought it got a little better.
“We have some guys that are pressing a little bit. So we have to get certain guys playing better than they have been playing right now. This team is functioning at about a 65 percent clip right now. That is what November and December is for, figuring that out, but look, you have to win games while you do it.”