Colorado bounced back nicely on Saturday after losing to UCLA earlier this week following the loss of junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie to a torn ACL on Monday.
The No. 21 Buffaloes moved on to beat USC 83-62 at home on Saturday and had balanced scoring from players stepping up after injuries to Dinwiddie and Tre’Shawn Fletcher.
Josh Scott led the way with 20 points while Askia Booker had 13 points and Xavier Johnson and Jaron Hopkins each had 10 points.
With the talented group that Colorado (15-4, 4-2) still has on the floor and their distinct home court advantage of playing in high-altitude conditions, head coach Tad Boyle and the team is still counting on playing hard and winning in the Pac-12
These quotes from Boyle to the AP were telling:
“This was just what the doctor ordered for this team,” Boyle said to the Associated Press. “Obviously, it’s one game and we’ve got to move on. But I said after the UCLA game and I’ll say it again today, ‘Don’t count this team out.’ These guys have toughness. They’ve got grit and we can win some games in this league.”
With a talented interior player like Scott leading the way and with a decent amount of depth if guys like Hopkins step up as consistent scorers, Colorado will still be a tough out in the Pac-12.
Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: