Young scores 23 as Oregon holds off Colorado 73-60
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Oregon coach Dana Altman accepts that the book on his undersized team hardly reads like a mystery at this stage of the Pac-12 season.
Yet, somehow his Ducks are on the brink of another 20-win success story.
The latest chapter had Joseph Young scoring 23 points and Oregon holding off several Colorado rallies in the second half for a 73-60 victory on Wednesday night.
The taller Buffaloes found plenty of success inside with 38 points in the paint, but it could have been even more as they struggled to spin 20 offensive rebounds into only 12 points.
”Size has given us problems,” Altman said, ”There’s no hiding it; everybody knows it.
”We’ve just gotta get tougher, gotta get meaner and figure out a way to take some of those easy baskets in the paint away.”
Dillon Brooks added 14 points for the Ducks (19-8, 9-5), who took over sole possession of third place in the conference with UCLA’s loss to Arizona State. Elgin Cook had 13 points and Dwayne Benjamin added 11 points and 13 rebounds.
The Buffaloes (12-13, 5-8), who whittled a 17-point deficit down to five late in the second half, were led by Askia Booker with 20 points. Wesley Gordon added 14 and Josh Scott 10 for Colorado.
Scott’s 17 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end, helped give the Buffaloes a 45-37 on the glass, but the Ducks took advantage of 16 Colorado turnovers to hold off the late charge.
Oregon led 49-32 in the second half when Booker, who had 14 points after the break, fueled an 8-0 run that started the comeback for the Buffaloes.
Xavier Johnson’s 3-pointer with 4:10 to play pulled Colorado as close as it would get at 63-58, but Brooks answered with his own 3 as the Ducks finished the game on a 10-2 run.
Altman took the blame for his team’s offensive stagnation in the second half, when Oregon was just 4 of 20 inside the arc and 3 of 9 beyond it.
”We got a little conservative there and that’s as much my fault as it is theirs,” Altman said.
The Buffaloes took control early by hitting five of its first nine shots for an 11-4 lead. It quickly evaporated after seven straight points from Young, who sparked a 24-4 run that seemed to put the game out of reach.
Colorado missed 13 of 14 shots during Oregon’s burst by repeatedly blowing second-chance opportunities. At one point, the Buffs had more offensive rebounds (9) than the Ducks had total (8), but Colorado never got closer than 10 points by halftime.
The Buffs closed the half with a 21-17 edge on the boards but trailed 39-22. Young had 11 points at the break, and Benjamin gave the Ducks a big lift off the bench with seven points and eight rebounds.
”We hold them to 58 percent (shooting) in the first half and 24 percent in the second half,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. ”Consistency continues to be an issue with this team.”
Colorado: Tad Boyle, who started his college coaching career as an Oregon assistant under Jerry Green for three seasons (1994-97), is now 5-2 against the Ducks as the Buffaloes’ coach. . Colorado had its second-worst shooting first half of the season at 28.1 percent (9 of 32). The Buffs shot 27.9 percent in a 23-point loss to Wyoming in their third game of the season.
Oregon: Jordan Bell had three blocks against the Buffaloes and passed Stanford’s Robin Lopez for second among the Pac-12’s best freshman shot blockers. Bell now has 75 and trails only UCLA’s Jelani McCoy with 102 in 1995-96. . Joseph Young jumped two spots to 23rd on Oregon’s career scoring list with 1,182 points in 61 games over two seasons. Both former Ducks he passed played in at least 105 games.
THIRD TIME’S A CHARM
Brooks’ 3-pointer with 3:15 to play came after the Ducks chased down two offensive rebounds to keep the possession alive. Brooks connected from the right wing off the last of Young’s six assists.
Colorado plays at Oregon State on Saturday night.
Oregon hosts No. 9 Utah on Sunday.