After coming off of a disappointing 18-point loss to UCLA earlier this week, the Colorado Buffaloes redeemed themselves on Sunday night with a huge road win over the USC Trojans, 83-74. The Buffs now stand at 19-7 overall and improved to 8-5 in Pac-12 play.
For the fourth time this year and the fifth time in his career, sophomore forward Xavier Johnson led the team with a 20-point game. Four more Buffs added double-digit scoring, including Askia Booker (18), Josh Scott (17), Xavier Talton (14), and Jaron Hopkins (10).
A couple Buffs also set career-marks for themselves. Talton finished the game with a career-high seven rebounds, while Hopkins added four assists to his career record.
The Trojans had some offensive firepower of their own, but they concentrated it in only two players. Byron Wesley led the team with a game-high 21 points, followed by J.T. Terrell who came off the bench to score 14.
For the night, the Buffs played fairly well on offense. They shot 28-56 from the field (50.0%), 8-17 from the three-point range (47.1%), and went 19-27 from the foul line (70.4%). In the end, their ball-handling was what let the Trojans get within eight in the end; they turned the ball over 18 times total and 12 times in the second half alone.
The Trojans, on the other hand, shot rather poorly during the game. They shot 23-63 from the field (36.5%), 3-16 from downtown (18.8%), and 25-36 from the free throw line (69.4%). After a sloppy first half with 12 turnovers, the Trojans improved their ball-handling in the second half for 17 total turnovers.
Sunday's match up got off to a quick start, with USC getting on the board early on with a three from Kahlil Dukes, but the Buffs tied it up right away with their own trey by Johnson. Over the next three minutes, the score was tied one more time and the lead changed twice.
After that, the Buffs took over. They went up by as much as 11 points late in the first half before finishing it out with an eight-point lead, 40-32.
In the first half, the Buffs produced well on offense. They made 15-28 of their field goals (53.6%), 5-10 of their three-point shots (50.0%), and 5-7 of their shots from the foul line (71.4%). On top of their shooting, their defense caused 12 USC turnovers in the first half alone, whereas the Buffs only turned it over six times.
Freshman forward Hopkins excelled off the bench for the Buffaloes throughout the half, leading the team with 10 points, three assists, two steals and a rebound. Askia Booker and Josh Scott were right behind him with nine points apiece.
The Trojans, however, weren't as efficient on offense. They shot 11-25 from the field-goal range (44.0%), 1-5 from behind the arc (20.0%), and went 9-13 from the charity stripe (69.2%).
At the break, Byron Wesley led the Trojans with eight points, and was closely followed by Chass Bryan, who contributed seven of his own. USC's four bench players were a major factor for the Trojans after accumulating 11 points total in the first 20 minutes.
The second half got off to a bit of an ugly start for the Buffaloes after giving up five turnovers in the first five minutes. In that time, the Trojans managed to cut CU's lead in half with just under 15 minutes left, 47-43.
From there on out, the Buffs regained control again. They went up by as much as 18 points two separate times late in the second half before the Trojans started to fight back. Over the course of three minutes, they outscored the Buffaloes 16-6 to get within eight points, 80-72, with 30 seconds left on the clock.
Despite USC almost closing the gap, the Buffaloes managed to hold it out for an 83-74 victory.
The Buffs return to their home court on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 9:00 p.m. to take on Arizona State in an attempt to redeem themselves of their 21-point loss to the Sun Devils earlier this season.