BOULDER, Colo. (AP, Dennis Georgatos) - Staggered by a string of close losses in the last couple of weeks, Colorado finally put together a strong finish to avert another late-game collapse.
George King scored a season-high 24 points, including a key 3-pointer down the stretch, and Colorado snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating Oregon State 85-78 on Thursday night.
Bryce Peters added 15 points for Colorado (11-10, 1-7 Pac-12) in the battle of winless conference teams.
“Starting the game hasn’t necessarily been an issue for us. Finishing the game has been an issue and tonight we finished the game,” said Colorado coach Tad Boyle. “They shrink (Colorado’s lead) to two. We could have folded. We’ve folded before, but we didn’t. We strung some stops together and won it going away.”
Colorado had lost its last three games by a combined seven points — three to Southern Cal and by two in overtime losses to Washington and Washington State before breaking through for that elusive league win.
“You have to start somewhere,” King said. “We started here tonight on the 26th of January against Oregon State. We’re going to keep pushing from here.”
Drew Eubanks had 27 points and Stephen Thompson Jr. added a career-best 26 but Oregon State (4-17, 0-8) could not avoid its eighth loss in a row. The Beavers are also 0-8 on the road.
“We are in all of our games, but then we shoot ourselves in the foot,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said. “Defensively, we get lost in our zone. We are young and I am proud of our guys, but it is disappointing because I think we could have had this one.”
Trailing 56-55, the Buffaloes put together a 12-4 run capped by Peters’ 3-pointer with 6:37 remaining for a 67-60 lead.
Oregon State fought back to pull to within 72-70 on a 3-pointer by Thompson with 4:06 left to play.
But Tory Miller hit a pair of baskets around a 3-pointer by King as part of an 8-0 burst that put the Buffaloes up by 10 with 1:35 left to play. That was more than enough to fend off the Beavers the rest of the way.
Colorado took a 41-40 halftime lead on Deleon Brown’s layup in the closing seconds.
King had 17 of his points in the opening period, including 10 straight for the Buffaloes to move them from a 28-25 deficit to a 35-28 advantage.
Oregon State: Troubled by injuries throughout the season, the Beavers continued to struggle without Cheikh N’diaye (left shoulder) and Tres Trinkle (broken right wrist), who both remain out indefinitely. They still kept the game close until the final minutes but could not withstand the Buffaloes closing burst.
Colorado: Coming off back to back losses in overtime, the Buffaloes rebounded with clutch scoring in the final minutes to fend off the Beavers for their first league win of the season. Their 50 percent shooting from the floor helped them offset a rough night at the free throw line, where they made 15 of 31 attempts.
Colorado’s starting lineup was made up entirely of reserves, including four who made their first starts of the season. Boyle said he wanted to reward the backups for all their hard work this season and the move did not reflect on the play of his regular starters. “It’s not anything against the guys who have been starting but it was more because the guys who haven’ been starting deserved a chance.”
Oregon State: Heads to Utah for a Saturday night matchup with the Utes.
Colorado: Hosts No. 10 Oregon on Saturday night, the fourth time in the last seven games the Buffaloes have faced a ranked team.