The Colorado Buffaloes are doing everything they can to make the NCAA Tournament, and Wednesday was a step in the right direction. Colorado (20-9, 9-7) beat No. 9 Arizona (22-6, 10-5), 75-72, in Boulder, to notch its first win over a ranked opponent this season.
“It was a big win for us,” Buffaloes forward Josh Scott said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “We played hard and got the job done.”
Scott finished had a game-high 26 points to go with nine rebounds and three blocks to snap Arizona’s six-game winning streak.
“They’re always tough,” Scott said. “In previous encounters, they’ve not only gone the better of us, but they’ve really creamed us. So we knew that we were playing a higher-quality team and it was going to be an intense game and we had to bring it. It kind of helped that we had a packed building. The energy really helped us out and added fuel to the fire to get the W.”
George King and Wesley Gordon played pivotal roles for Colorado. King drilled three three-pointers and finished with 14 points, while Gordon had 12 rebounds, six assists and played great defense throughout.
“I think George, Wesley, they both were pretty big time,” Scott said. “I think Wesley played great defense on Ryan Anderson, who’s a good player. He also rebounded the ball. I think George scored the ball when we needed to. He also defended really well. When we get contributions from other people, we’re dangerous. It’s just about being consistent with our team.”
Scott, a 6-10, 245-pound senior, was recently named one of 10 finalists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, which is given annually to the top center in college basketball. Other finalists include Purdue’s A.J. Hammons, Utah’s Jakob Poeltl, Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis and Arkansas’ Moses Kingsley.
“It’s big time,” Scott said of the nomination. “Anybody that knows who (Abdul-Jabbar) is knows that it’s an honor to be even associated with something that he’s related to. For me, I don’t really look at awards so much. I just try to go out and hoop every night and try to get Ws for my team. Really, it’s just about being aggressive. I’m trying to soak up my senior year and enjoy every second of it. But it’s definitely an honor. Hopefully I’ll make it farther along in that award and hopefully win it. We’ll see what happens.”
The Buffaloes had lost four of six entering Wednesday but took care of business on their home floor. They host Arizona State (14-13, 4-10) on Sunday and play at No. 22 Utah (21-7, 10-5) on March 5.
A win over Arizona certainly bolsters their NCAA Tournament resume.
“We definitely felt like our backs were against the wall tonight,” Scott said, “and we played like it.”