Chasson Randle thinks help is coming, but the help doesn’t think it’s coming. That’s an easy layup for Colorado. Josh Huestis, in his first action since picking up foul No. 2 three minutes into the game, hits his first bucket of the half, but is then whistled for trying to WWE for an offensive rebound a minute later. As had been the case in the first stanza, no one boxes out the Buffs’ sabatino chen, but this period, it’s Colorado missing from point-blank range. A Huestis three from the top of the arc, open thanks to Bright penetration, sandwiches close-range Buffalo misses. ESPN must be staking the officials in this one, because they’re doing their utmost to keep it close. Colorado already has three fouls on the half, and Randle takes advantage, hitting a pair of freebies to pull within a dozen.
16 minutes left: Colorado 48, Stanford 36
Give the coaching staff all the credit in the world, because Stanford’s defense early this half has been leaps and bounds better than in the preceding 20 minutes. We have thus reverted to the more familiar pattern of Stanford getting a hard-earned stop at one end, but then missing a three at the other and thus simply treading water. Off long rebounds and Stanford turnovers (and, as Miles Simon shows on the replay, Cardinal players standing around instead of recovering after a turnover), though, Colorado then is able to beat the Stanford D down the court, and goes dunk, layup, dunk on consecutive possessions. This one will now require a miraculous comeback as Stanford trails, 54-36, with 14 minutes to play. Powell fights for a turnaround six-footer and Stanford then draws a charge. Colorado does miss two free throws and, on the other end, Stanford finds itself in the bonus.
As the Pac-12 standings flash, what odds would you have given on Oregon winning the conference this year – in basketball, not football? Apparently, two ranked teams haven’t played each other in the Pac-12 since, well, ever. (2009, when the league was still the Pac-10.) Sheesh.
12 minutes left: Colorado 54, Stanford 40
The Buffs are still shooting 55 percent on the night and are +14 in rebounds. Colorado’s RPI is 21, probably a bit inflated, though if they had beaten Arizona, imagine what their rank might be. Stanford’s is 78 entering tonight, sounds about right. Rosco Allen goes and-one despite what appeared an attempt to throw the ball at, and not into, the hoop. Hey, no style points in basketball, as the Cardinal have now cut the margin to 11. A major reason why? Colorado had no turnovers through 15 minutes; through 30, they have nine. The Buffs now have just six points in the last almost eight minutes, per the Worldwide Leader, and all of a sudden, it’s highly interesting again. Randle three from the right side, and it’s 54-46. It would be great for Stanford to steal one on the road from behind, especially in the wake of the blown lead at USC. Randle has a steal but then puts too much on the layup. Colorado is going to be screaming bloody murder if they lose this one – now they cough up possession on an off-ball foul we will call “hard to find” and, if it happened to our team, Stanford fans would call much worse. Huestis picks up No. 4 though, as Colorado makes two free throws to push its lead back to ten and snap a five-minute scoreless drought.
Andre Roberson has 18 rebounds(?!?) Who does he think he is, Kevin Love? After a volleyball-style Roberson block, Powell silences the Colorado momentum with another driving hook off the glass; he’s quietly bounced back with a strong second half and now has 11. John Gage is blindsided and stripped, and then called for taking his man to the floor.
Eight minutes left: Colorado 60, Stanford 48
Well, I hope someone has Andre Roberson in fantasy basketball, because he is currently outrebounding the entire Cardinal team by two. Colorado caps a 12-2 run with a strip and uncontested layup, and any hope Stanford had is now extinguished, down 16 with under six to play. As Miles Simon points out, Stanford doesn’t get back on D quickly enough after a turnover, and Colorado has probably scored enough points via fast break today to account wholly for their lead. Meanwhile, Roberson has another powerful block that has the Boulder faithful going nuts. But hey, at least we have football. Chasson Randle is 5-of-20 and Powell is 5-of-13. No other Cardinal has more than six attempts. Bright has now made 28 straight free throws as Stanford is in the double bonus. Roberson layup, Randle turnover, Colorado fast break and Bright foul bring this segment to a close.
Four minutes left: Colorado 67, Stanford 51
Sobering thought: this could be the worst Stanford basketball team since…? The Card were 6-12 in 2008-09 in conference, and you’d have to go back a few decades the last time we didn’t get to six wins, before Monty’s decade-plus NCAA run. Stanford will be 2-4 in a few minutes. Uplifting thought: Maybe Stanford isn’t regressing, but the conference is just getting better. I mean, it had to go up after these past few years, right?
Sabatino Chen with a three and Roberson does get to 20 rebounds as the Stanford subs enter in earnest. Five different CU players are in double figures. That doesn’t include seven-footer Ben Mills, last guy off the bench, who scores the game’s final four points. It was that kind of night for the Cardinal and White.
Final: Colorado 75, Stanford 54
P.S.: Shout out to UNITE, 9 p.m. Pacific on ESPNU. Caught it after the game on the same channel. Legitimately funny.
P.P.S.: And a ShamWow commercial? ESPNU is my new favorite late-night channel.
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