Oregon wasn't able to lock up a share of the Pac-12 title, falling 76-53 to Colorado.
BOULDER, Colo. — Spencer Dinwiddie has been defying his coach’s orders and looking at bracketology projections.
The swift Colorado guard can’t help studying the reports, wondering what seed his team might draw. He thinks the Buffaloes have proved they belong in the NCAA tournament, especially after a 76-53 win over No. 19 Oregon on Thursday night.
The Buffaloes (20-9, 10-7 Pac-12) improved to 4-2 against Top 25 teams this season, dismantling the Ducks while playing without the nation’s leading rebounder, Andre Roberson, who sat out with a viral illness.
But Colorado coach Tad Boyle isn’t banking on anything yet. He still remembers the disappointment of being left out of the tournament two years ago when he thought the Buffs were a lock.
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“All I know is obviously our body of work is much better this year than it was two years ago,” Boyle said. “I still feel badly for that team two years ago. … It’s important we finish strong.”
No one realizes that more than the Ducks (23-7, 12-5), who were thwarted in their bid for an outright conference title.
Now, they’ve fallen into a first-place tie with UCLA, but the Ducks hold the tiebreaker after beating the Bruins in their only meeting in January.
Oregon has a chance to wrap up at least a share of its first league crown since 2002 with a win at Utah on Saturday.
“We have to bounce back quickly,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said.
Colorado freshman Xavier Johnson stepped up in Roberson’s absence, scoring a career-high 22 points. Johnson hit all seven of his shots, including three three-pointers, and 5 of 6 free throws.
“Trying to step my game up with Andre out,” Johnson said.
He was far from alone. The Buffs were without Roberson’s 11.5 rebounds and 10.8 points a game.
Little-used backups Xavier Talton and Jeremy Adams helped pick up the slack. Adams’ thunderous dunk early in the second half gave the Buffs a 52-29 lead and brought the capacity crowd to its feet.
Moments after play resumed, Shane Harris-Tunks crumbled to the floor after being bumped by Waverly Austin, who drew a flagrant foul. Dinwiddie, who had 17 points, made both free throws.
From there, the Buffs cruised to the victory as they reached the 20-win mark for the third straight season under Boyle.
Utah tops Oregon State
SALT LAKE CITY — Jordan Loveridge scored 17 points and collected 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season to help Utah run away from Oregon State for a 72-61 victory.
Jason Washburn added 15 points and eight boards while Jarred DuBois chipped in 15 points and six assists for the Utes (12-17, 4-13 Pac-12) as they moved a step closer to wrapping up the 10th seed in the Pac-12 tournament next week.
Roberto Nelson scored 18 points for Oregon State (13-17, 3-14), which lost its fifth straight game.