Colorado cruises to 90-59 win over Auburn
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) Josh Scott was mediocre on Monday and terrific on Tuesday.
Same pretty much goes for his teammates, too. But once that clock struck midnight, the Buffaloes turned into a high-flying hoops team.
Scott and Xavier Johnson each finished with 17 points and Colorado used a 24-0 run in the second half to pull away from injury-riddled Auburn 90-59 in a contest that started Monday night and ended in the early hours of Tuesday.
Wesley Gordon had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Askia Booker ignited the pivotal run by scoring seven of his nine points during the stretch. The Buffaloes (2-0) held the Tigers (1-1) scoreless for more than seven minutes to turn a close game into a rout and capture their 20th straight nonconference home win.
”Since we’re playing at altitude, we might as well just keep running. That’s what we do,” Johnson said. ”We know eventually teams will get tired. … We’re off to the races.”
Their electric run certainly energized the fans that turned out for a late, late game that was part of ESPN’s college basketball marathon. Coach Tad Boyle appreciated they sacrificed sleep to show their support. The Buffs actually fed on their frenzy, which only increased the longer the team prolonged Auburn’s scoring drought in the second half.
”The MVP tonight was our fans,” Boyle said. ”The energy in the building was terrific.”
Bruce Pearl was coaching so intensely on the Auburn sideline that his blue shirt underneath his suit jacket was drenched. He was none too pleased on a crucial play midway through the second half, when Booker pump faked on a 3-point shot to get KT Harrell up in the air. Booker then leaned into Harrell to draw the foul and hit the shot. Pearl just shook his head in frustration.
Booker missed the free throw, but Scott grabbed the rebound and Booker hit another jumper to extend Colorado’s lead to 58-46 with 11:29 remaining.
It only got worse and worse for the Tigers. K.C. Ross-Miller finally ended Colorado’s scoring streak on a layup with 5:28 remaining.
”I just hope at 2 a.m. in the morning on the East Coast everyone went to sleep. Because we obviously did,” Pearl said. ”Give Colorado credit – they’re a terrific team.
”That’s an NCAA team and we’re not there yet.”
Harrell finished with 20 points for Auburn. Cinmeon Bowers had 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Antoine Mason was a late scratch for Auburn because of a balky ankle. Mason is a graduate student transfer from Niagara, who averaged 25.6 points a game last season. He’s also the son of former NBA player Anthony Mason.
Tahj Shamsid-Deen was dinged up, too, wearing a brace on his aching right shoulder. He finished 1 for 8 from the floor.
Auburn: Center Matthew Atewe who didn’t make the trip after re-injuring his left leg in an exhibition game. … Pearl said of agreeing to play so late: ”I’m sure ESPN called a lot of schools and said, `Do you want to go to Colorado and play at 1 a.m. in the morning Eastern Time?’ They didn’t get a lot of bite.” … Auburn flew commercial to Colorado and will return aboard a charter.
Colorado: This is only the second time the two schools have met on the court. The Buffaloes beat the Tigers 78-72 in overtime on Nov. 29, 1996, in Hawaii. … Colorado led this game for 37:53 and Auburn for 31 seconds. The game was tied for all of 1:36.
The game was so late that Boyle actually put a permission slip on Twitter for Colorado fans to miss a little bit of work for extra sleep.
His letter said: ”To whom it may concern: Excuse (insert name here) tardiness to work on this morning of Tuesday, November 18. I understand that this lateness may result in reduced productivity for your workplace, but I can assure you that it was for an important cause. …”
Boyle also signed the form.
Auburn hosts Louisiana on Friday
Colorado plays at Wyoming on Saturday