BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – Spencer Dinwiddie dissed Colorado State with his jawing and then dismantled the Rams with his jumper.
The Colorado point guard did some talking leading up to the game on Wednesday night but backed it up on the court.
Dinwiddie scored a career-high 29 points and Andre Roberson added 15, helping Colorado hold off Colorado State 70-61.
“We thought if we could stop him, we could stop them,” CSU coach Larry Eustachy said. “Obviously, we didn’t stop him and we didn’t stop them. He’s a great player. I could see him starting in the NBA.
“He talks and he backs it up – I like that in a guy. He guaranteed a win, and they got it. More power to him. He’s a great, great player.”
Now that it’s over, Dinwiddie has another message for Colorado State: If he offended with his words, he didn’t mean to. He was just having fun.
“I have a ton of respect for their team,” Dinwiddie said. “They have a ton of good players.”
He broke out in a grin.
“But backing up the comment is great,” he said. “They were on my Twitter — a lot.”
Buoyed by a big first half, the Buffaloes (7-1) bounced back from their loss over the weekend to Wyoming, which dropped CU out of the AP poll.
The Buffaloes played in front of a Coors Events Center-record crowd of 11,708, and the noise clearly rattled the Rams (6-1) early as they trailed by 25 points in the opening half.
For that, Eustachy took the blame. He said he didn’t have his players ready to handle this kind of raucous environment.
“I told the team afterward that I apologize, because obviously I have not gotten you tough enough to get your game and take it from Fort Collins in here to Boulder. We’ll work harder,” Eustachy said. “We’re soft. We weren’t tough enough. It starts with me. Soft coach, soft team right now, in these environments. Coach has got to get tougher, players have got to get tougher. Pretty simple.”
Colton Iverson scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half and grabbed 14 rebounds. Dorian Green added 18 points as the Rams fell a win shy of their best start in school history. They also were on the cusp of possibly appearing in the AP poll, something that hasn’t happened since 1954.
CSU cut into the Buffs’ big lead and whittled it to three with 6:43 to play, but two costly turnovers and layups from Askia Booker and Josh Scott helped send Colorado to the win.
However, the Buffaloes didn’t make it easy on themselves, as they struggled from the free-throw line, hitting just 7 of 14 over the final 1:33. But the Rams just couldn’t take advantage.
“We weren’t playing our game,” Iverson said. “We didn’t come out ready to play and that’s not our style.”
Eustachy couldn’t agree more.
“The environment and the game completely broke us down,” Eustachy said. “When we did play right, we just couldn’t sustain it.”
Playing an entertaining brand of hoops and coming off an appearance in the NCAA tournament, the Buffs have been in high demand around town. Season-ticket sales are up nearly 60 percent. It was the 12th sellout under coach Tad Boyle, who has put the program back on the basketball landscape.
“To have an atmosphere like this and make it a tough place is a great thing,” Dinwiddie said.
This was the third straight big game for Dinwiddie, who had 24 points against Texas Southern and again at Wyoming.
So, what’s going on?
“Just hitting shots,” he said.
Simple as that?
“When shots go in, you score,” Dinwiddie said.
The deafening roar from the crowd certainly revved up the Buffaloes, who jumped out to a 15-2 lead.
As his team struggled early, Eustachy looked nearly exasperated on the sideline. He’s now 1-5 all-time against Colorado at Coors Events Center, with most of those games coming when he was in charge at Iowa State.
“I thought we were afraid tonight,” Eustachy said. “That shouldn’t happen with this group. They’re too good of kids, too tough of kids.”
Colorado also was motivated by watching the Rams storm the floor after a 65-64 win last season in Fort Collins. It was a sight the Buffs didn’t want repeated, especially on their home floor.
“This was a big game,” Boyle said. “I thought it was an NCAA tournament-type game. We beat a good basketball team, a well-coached team and they’re going to win a lot of games this year.”
As for Dinwiddie’s talking, well, Boyle is going to have a word with him.
“I purposefully didn’t want to say anything to him about it before the game – I wanted to see if he was going to back it up or not,” Boyle said. “He backed it up now, but we have to be smarter of how we approach the media, because we don’t want to make a habit out of that.”
By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer
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