Colorado snapped a three-game losing streak in the best way possible Thursday, beating No. 4 Arizona State, 90-81, in overtime.
“Our guys were just resilient,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said on Ferrall on the Bench. “We were down 11-0 out of the shoot. Our starting five was kind of non-existent out of the gate, so I sent five guys in three minutes into the game to try to just get some juice off the bench.”
That’s exactly what he got. Colorado’s bench scored 38 points, including a team-high 19 from guard Namon Wright. The Buffaloes trailed 34-29 at halftime but fought back to force overtime, where they outscored the Sun Devils 16-7.
“Our guys just kept battling and competing,” Boyle said. “We played a little bit of zone. I don’t play a lot of zone, but we played some zone tonight and kind of kept Arizona State off-balance a little bit. Their guys missed some threes, which was key to us.”
So was home-court advantage.
“We play at altitude,” Boyle said of Boulder. “This is a mile-high city. They have eight guys that they play and they got a little tired. Those threes came up short late and we got some run-outs and some dunks and got the crowd into it. It was just a hell of a win against a really good team.”
Boyle believes this could be a season-changing win for Colorado (9-6), which plays five freshmen, including guard McKinley Wright IV, who finished with 19 points and five assists.
“A win like this can make them understand how you do this,” Boyle said. “Because guess what? We got to turn around on Saturday and play Arizona. That’s what makes this league so tough. We got to turn around in less than 48 hours and play Arizona.”
The No. 14 Wildcats (12-3) have won nine straight games following a sluggish 3-3 start. Boyle knows Colorado will need to be ready to play.
“In our league, you don’t feel like you can out-scheme anybody,” he said. “You’ve got to coach your team, and your team has to go out and beat the other team. We beat Arizona State. Arizona State didn’t beat themselves. Now they may not have shot the ball as well as they’re capable and maybe (didn’t play) as well as they’ve played in previous games, but they didn’t beat themselves.”
Boyle could say that about a lot of teams in the Pac-12.
“You’re talking about Sean Miller, you’re talking about Dana Altman – you’re talking about all the coaches in our league,” he said. “They’re not going to beat themselves. You have to go out and win games. I’ve been in leagues where there’s a couple gimmes and you can out-scheme guys. This league’s tough to do that.”