16 minutes left, first half: Colorado 13, Stanford 5
Colorado's just 2-4 in the Pac-12 this year, but they look like Phi Slamma Jamma out here, as Xavier Johnson beats everyone down the court and posterizes the Stanford D with an emphatic flush. Early, Stanford is 3-of-9, while Colorado is 7-of-11. Gabe Harris does his part with a jumper from the free throw line, and then Powell goes and-one to score seven straight for Stanford. Still, the story early on has been Colorado driving with impunity at the Stanford hoop, which I consider more concerning than missed shots because this team is built first and foremost on defense. (Yes, Huestis is out, but foul trouble and injuries do happen in basketball.) Now, it's Sabachino Chen beating a larger (slower) John Gage to the rack. Then it's Andre Roberson stealing a sloppy Randle pass 40 feet from the hoop and using a spin move to beat Randle for the lay-in. Then Gabe Harris fouls a good second late on a corner three. Oh, and Stanford has already used nine players in this contest. A really sloppy early showing for Johnny Dawkins' crew: whatever fundamental basketball mistake you can think of, these guys have likely made it early on. Ah, the story of this season. (And yet, the margin is only five.)
12 minutes left, first half: Colorado 20, Stanford 15
Note to Miles Simon: Although I'm sure their curriculum is cutting edge, the California high school is pronounced "MAH-ter day", not "modern day". We see Stanford is last in the league in overall (40.5 percent) and three-point (30.5 percent) shooting percentage, right after Bright does his part by airballing a mostly unchallenged corner three. I TIVO'ed to make sure I got those stats exactly right, and by the time I reach for the "live" button, Christian Sanders has been player No. 10 to check in for the Cardinal, and Colorado used a layup and three-pointer to pull ahead by 11, their biggest lead of the day. The Buffs are 11-of-19 and on pace to score well north of 80. Meanwhile, on the other end, Dwight Powell finds that he and four Buffaloes (Buffali?) are the only players inside the arc. He misses. Moments later, Bright and a ball-handling Brown run into each other, and instead of what looked to be a travel, Stanford somehow gets whistle No. 6 on Colorado.
Eight minutes left, first half: Colorado 26, Stanford 18
Randle hits a corner J off the media timeout, Stanford's second straight bucket off as many in-bounds plays. Colorado responds with a long, contested Xavier Johnson three. Randle responds with another three, as you wouldn't know it from the deficit, but Stanford is shooting pretty well after their poor start. Powell is the exception. After another miss from four feet, he is now 1-of-6. Meanwhile, the longer Colorado stays north of 50 percent shooting, the harder it is going to be for Stanford to come back. Also, a zone is a great idea in theory, but when it leads to Aaron Bright, a generous 5-foot-11, boxing out a 6-foot-7 Roberson, something went wrong, as a Roberson O board and putback demonstrate all too well. If not for the Pac-12 refereeing, this one could be uglier than it is already…
Four minutes left, first half: Colorado 38, Stanford 25
Colorado just committed its first turnover of the game, on an offensive foul heading into the last break. So give the Buffs credit for executing cleanly, but Stanford is offering up token resistance at best. Maybe they have been looking ahead to Utah? (Joke.) Whatever the case, the only thing stopping Colorado right now is Colorado themselves, as another charge wipes a bucket off the board. On consecutive fast breaks, Randle misses (gulp) four three-footers and then commits a frustration foul to boot. Still, other than Randle (10 points), no one has made more than two shots for the Cardinal, free throws included. Dwight Powell throws down a dunk to even out the two free throws Spencer Dinwiddie made off the Randle foul, so the margin stays at 15, now 42-27, with under a minute to go in the half. Alas, after a Rosco Allen layup, Xavier Johnson ends the period in fitting fashion, throwing down a dunk off an offensive rebound.
Colorado is 16-of-29 (55 percent) at the half, is +9 in rebounds and has attempted 11 free throws to Stanford's one. Stanford isn't playing well offensively, by any means, but it is the defense which has abandoned the Cardinal here through 20 in Boulder.
Halftime: Colorado 44, Stanford 29
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