College Hoops

Colorado men’s basketball routs rival CSU Rams

Colorado men’s basketball routs rival CSU Rams

The Buffs show up for the big games, that’s for sure.

Welcoming in-state rival Colorado State to the Events Center for the first time since 2018, KJ Simpson’s huge night helped the Buffs send CSU back to Fort Collins with a 93-65 loss Thursday evening.

Head coach Tad Boyle, in typical fashion, was most impressed with Colorado’s defensive intensity. The Buffs held CSU to 37.9% shooting in the second half and on the other side of his 27-point effort, Simpson helped make Rams All-Mountain West point guard Isaiah Stevens a near non-factor.

Colorado pulled away late in the first half thanks to an 8-0 run and never led by fewer than 10 in the second half. Collapses have been common this season, but the Buffs altered that trend by outscoring CSU 55-35 in the final 20 minutes. The was aided considerably by a season-low in turnovers (eight) and a 56.7% clip from the field.

Playing in the state’s biggest rivalry, Colorado natives Nique Clifford and Luke O’Brien combined for 23 to help CU secure its largest margin of victory (28) over CSU since 1945.

“We realized how big this matchup was,” Clifford said. “We knew we had to set the tone from the start, especially in the second half. We haven’t had great second half starts this year, so we came out and punched it right in the face in the second half. I think that set the tone, got our crowd (going) and it brought energy to our team. We brought that toughness and intensity which we needed, and I think that’s what helped us get the win.”

Also of note, Deion Sanders popped the lid off the keg with his arrival in the second half.

The Buffs are now .500 at 5-5 with North Alabama coming to Boulder next Thursday.

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