Brooks has 23 and No. 7 Oregon routs Colorado 101-73
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) While the Oregon Ducks figure they will find a way to score, defense will be what boosts the team the rest of the season.
The defense was certainly working against Colorado on Saturday.
Dillon Brooks scored 23 points and No. 7 Oregon extracted some revenge for the Buffaloes’ upset earlier this season with a 101-73 victory.
Dylan Ennis added 20 points for the Ducks (24-4, 13-2 Pac-12), who won their 42nd straight home game. It is the longest active home winning streak in the nation.
The Ducks rode a 29-2 run that started late in the first half and continued into the second, stymieing Colorado’s offense.
”We’re going to find a way to score,” Ennis said. ”But when we get stops, we’re that team that everybody thinks about like `Man, these guys are tough.”’
It is the second straight season that the Ducks have been undefeated at home.
George King led Colorado (16-12, 6-9) with 16 points in the loss, which snapped a three-game winning streak. The Buffaloes trailed by as many as 36 points late in the second half.
It was the final home game of the season for Oregon, which travels to play California and Stanford before visiting in-state rival Oregon State in Corvallis for the regular-season finale.
Defense has got to be the focus as the team heads out on the road, coach Dana Altman said.
”It’s going to be a big week for us, and again, I think it boils down to us having that defensive energy,” he said.
The Ducks sit behind only fifth-ranked Arizona in the Pac-12 standings with three games to go. The Wildcats’ one conference loss came to the Ducks in Eugene earlier this month.
With the win, Oregon matched the program’s mark for the best overall record at this point of the season, set by the 1926-27 Ducks (24-3).
The Buffaloes are one of just two Pac-12 teams to defeat the Ducks this season, a 74-65 victory in Boulder on Jan. 28. Oregon’s other loss in conference came at UCLA, 79-82, on Feb. 9.
Oregon opened Saturday’s game with three straight 3-pointers and Jordan Bell’s windmill dunk. Oregon made five-3-pointers in a little more than 5 minutes to open the game, but the Buffaloes stayed close and tied the game at 23 midway through the first half on Xavier Johnson’s layup. The Buffs went ahead on two free throws from Deleon Brown.
Colorado’s lead was short-lived. Ennis hit a 3-pointer, layup and jumper that put the Ducks up 35-27 and Oregon went into the half with a 45-32 lead. The Buffaloes didn’t score for the last 3:57 of the half.
Brooks led all scorers at the break with 16 points.
”They got hot. We knew they were going to be ready to play against us as a result of what happened in Boulder a few weeks ago, and they were,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. ”You catch a team like this that’s legit on senior night and you let them get going like they did, and we had our hands full.”
Bell’s tip-in pushed the Ducks’ lead to 55-34. Oregon opened the second half on a 19-2 run and put the game away.
Oregon outrebounded Colorado 38-24.
Boucher, a senior playing in his final game at Matthew Knight Arena, got a standing ovation when he fouled out with 7:48 left. He finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.
”We’re focused on defense. We’re not focused on who gets the next shot, not focused on what plays are getting run. We’re focused on getting stops on the defense end,” Ennis said. ”I think once we put all our focus on that, the game is so much easier for us, we play with so much more energy on both sides when we get stops.”
It was Oregon’s seventh sellout this season.
Colorado: The Buffaloes started the day seventh in the Pac-12 standings. … A 60-52 victory over Oregon State on Thursday was Colorado’s second on the road this season. … The Buffaloes finish the season with three straight at home: Utah, Stanford and California.
Oregon: The Ducks are one win away from matching the Pacific Coast Conference record of the 1938-39 NCAA championship-winning Oregon team. … The Oregon band played the Canadian national anthem before tipoff in honor of the Canadian seniors on the team: Ennis and Boucher. … The Ducks were coming off a 79-61 win over Utah on Thursday.
POLL IMPLICATIONS: Oregon is well aware that in order to win the Pac-12 regular-season title they’ll need some help from Arizona. ”It means a lot to us. We’ve got to take care of our own business and hope something good happens for us,” Altman said. ”If it doesn’t we’ve got to go try to win the conference tournament.”
QUOTABLE: ”Confidence hasn’t been a problem with these guys. They think pretty highly of themselves,” Altman said.
Colorado: The Buffaloes return home to host Utah on Thursday night.
Oregon: The Ducks visit California on Wednesday.
More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25