BOULDER, Colo. (AP) No lead is ever safe when Colorado steps onto the court. Usually it’s a source of pride for the Buffaloes, who have overcome double-digit deficits in three of their wins this season.
Other times, it can be downright frustrating.
Josh Scott had 22 points and 10 rebounds, George King scored 23 points and Colorado held on to beat BYU 92-83 Saturday for its eighth straight victory.
The Buffaloes (8-1) led by as many as 25 points in the second half before it dwindled to as few as six in the final minute.
”I thought we played 36 minutes of pretty darn good basketball,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said.
And apparently that was enough.
After a dominant first half, Colorado went on a 13-0 run that lasted the first 4:25 of the second half. Josh Fortune converted a 3-point play and King capped off the burst with a 3 and a pair of free throws to push the lead to 61-36 with 15:46 remaining.
The Cougars responded with an 18-3 run and cut the lead to 10 with 11 minutes to go. Later, back-to-back 3s by Zac Seljaas and Nick Emery made it 85-77 with less than 3 minutes left and Kyle Collinsworth hit 1 of 2 from the line to cut it to 89-83 with 21 seconds remaining.
The Buffaloes, however, went onto hit 3 of 4 from the line to preserve the win.
”If we can just play solid, not turn the ball over and take away what the other team is good at for a full 40 minutes then I think we would have blown them out by 25,” Scott said. ”But credit (the Cougars), they are a good team and they came back.”
Wesley Gordon and Dominique Collier each added nine points for Colorado. The Buffaloes went 20 of 23 from the line and hit 10 3 pointers.
Emery, meanwhile, paced the comeback for BYU (6-3) and finished with 23 points. Seljaas added 18 points and Collinsworth had 17 for the Cougars, who gave up a season-high 92 points.
”I don’t think we ever thought it got away,” Collinsworth said. ”I thought we had a chance to win. Even with nine seconds left we thought we could win this game.”
Colorado, though, was too much.
In the first half, the Buffaloes shot 53 percent from the field and 46 percent from 3-point range. Scott led the way, scoring six quick points as part of a 12-2 run to put the Buffs up 27-17. Xavier Talton added a pair of 3s and Fortune had another as the lead grew to as big as 46-29 with 2:46 left in the half.
Emery and Seljaas connected on successive 3s in the final two minutes to help cut the deficit to 48-36 at the break. Prior to that, the Cougars had missed seven of their first eight 3-point shots to start the game.
”Colorado really impressed me with their team and how they play together,” BYU coach Dave Rose said.
BYU: Collinsworth, an All-American, struggled from the field on Saturday, making 6 of 18 from the field. He also only had six assists after reaching double figures in the last two games.
King, who guarded Collinsworth most of the night, said: ”That was my whole focus because he is a great player. . Coach Boyle really challenged me and asked me to make him work to catch and don’t give him anything easy.”
Colorado: With 92 points on Saturday, the Buffaloes have scored 80 points or more in a school-record eight consecutive games.
TALTON NOT WORRIED
Talton, whose minutes are down from a year ago, came off the bench and scored eight points on Saturday. Asked about his diminished minutes early in the year, he didn’t seem too bothered by it.
”I have been all over the place throughout my four years. So I had a sense of what I would need to do this year. I don’t think it’s too much of an adjustment.
BYU: hosts Central Michigan on Friday.
Colorado: hosts Nicholls State in the first round of the Las Vegas Classic.