Colorado had five players in double figures, led by Alec Burks with 19 points.
“We went on a four-game skid and needed to get back on track,” Senior Levi Knutson said about the team’s attitude coming into the game. “This was a must-win for us to get back in the thick of it in the Big 12.”
The Buffs came out of the gate hot and went on 16-0 run. Senior Cory Higgins was hot scoring seven of the team’s first nine points.
The Cyclones found themselves down 15 points early in the game but were able to go on a pair of runs, 9-2 and a 10-2, around a Knutson 3-pointer. Iowa State cut the lead down to three, but Colorado went on another big run, stretching the lead to 20 with a 17-0 stretch over the next 5 minutes.
The Buffs took a 15 point lead, 49-34, into half behind Higgins and Burks. The two combined for 24 points and eight rebounds in the half.
"It's good to get back on the winning side, I can tell you that," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "It has obviously been a rough couple of weeks for us."
Freshman Andre Roberson came off the bench and almost had a double-double in the first half
with nine points and eight rebounds. The Buffs out-rebounded the Cyclones 21-13 and had 12 assists on 17 field goals.
The Buffs were in the same position that they were this past Saturday in Waco, Texas, where they had a 14-point lead at half only to give it up and lose by four. Colorado had no business giving up another double-digit half time lead.
“We didn’t want that to happen or let anyone in the gym think that it would happen,” Higgins said about the 15-point, half-time lead. “We just wanted to come out with a fire in our eyes and put them away early.”
The Cyclones were able to cut it to 11 early in the second half, but the Buffs
went on yet another run. This time, they pushed the lead to 31 and the Buffs never looked back on their way to a 26 point victory.
Burks finished with a double-double, grabbing 10 rebounds to go with his 19 points. Higgins finished with 15, Marcus Relphorde had 15 and Nate Tomlinson scored 10, the first time he has scored in double figures this season.
The bench gave the Buffs a huge push, outscoring the Cyclones’ bench 29-11. The
bench was led by Knutson’s 15 points. Roberson got stuck on nine points but was able to lead the Buffs with 13 rebounds.
“We knew that defensive rebounding and field goal percentage were our main aspects we had to control,” Roberson said about the Buffs effort on the defensive end.
Colorado went on three huge runs throughout the game. If you put the three runs together, the Buffs outscored the Cyclones 58-5 over 15 minutes of play.
Colorado knew that Iowa State would get out and run.
“The pace of the game really favored us in the first half,” Boyle said. “We love when teams run with us because that’s what we do best.”
The fast break layups and open threes were thanks to great defense on the other end.
“I think we were just getting stops during those runs,” Higgins said. “Whenever we got stops, we got chances to get easy baskets in
Colorado travels to Missouri on Saturday where the Tigers will want some revenge for a January loss in Boulder.