The second half of Wednesday’s rivalry game between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Colorado State Rams became the Cory Higgins show. The CU sophomore had 28 second half points en route to a 75-56 victory over their in-state rival.
Higgins finished with 33 points, six rebounds, three assists, and three steals as Colorado (4-3) broke away from the Rams in the second half after being tied at 28 at halftime.
“I just wanted to be aggressive within the offense, I didn’t want to force anything, and the opportunities presented themselves in the second half and I was able to knock them down,” Higgins said after the game. “The offense opened up so many opportunities; if they pushed up, I’d go around and if they were to lie under, I was going to shoot the three. Tonight if fell for me.”
The Danville, CA native had a very efficient night from the field, going 11-for-16, including 3-for-5 from beyond the arc.
The win is the first for Colorado after a two-game losing streak, while Colorado State (3-7) has now lost four in a row.
“I was really proud of the effort,” said CU head coach Jeff Bzdelik. “It was wire-to-wire effort. We just kept battling and staying within our offense. We had 16 assists on 28 baskets, we had four guys in double-digits, we drew charges, and we battled on the boards. The most important thing is to keep getting better.”
The three other Buffs that were in double digits were Austin Dufault with 12 points, Nate Tomlinson with 11, and Dwight Thorne II with 10.
Things looked bleak for the Buffs early in the second half as the Rams jumped out to a 40-32 lead in front of a season high attendance of 5,963 at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, CO.
“Our fans were absolutely awesome even when we fell down eight points,” Bzdelik said. “For them to be here means a lot to us. It was a lively crowd and a great atmosphere.”
CU would then go on a 22-13 run to regain the lead and begin to pull away for good.
The team showed glimmers of brilliance after losing 62-46 last Wednesday to a TCU team that was picked to finish last in the Mountain West Conference.
The Buffs finished shooting 58.3 percent from the field, and late in the second half the team’s offense and defense seemed to be running on all cylinders.
“With the score and the way the game went, we played very well,” Thorne said. “The effort was through the roof, and I think Jermyl [Jackson-Wilson] played extremely well, Cory [Higgins] played extremely well. We just played hard and had great effort tonight.”
Jackson-Wilson, the lone senior on this Colorado squad, had six points, four rebounds, four assists, and two blocks on the night.
The one bright spot for the Rams was the play of Dan Vandervieren, who had a season-high 16 points in the loss.
The Buffs will look to keep this momentum as they will be out of action until Dec. 19 when they host Prairie View A&M, while CSU will host Stanford on Saturday at 7:00 pm in Fort Collins.