By Chris Derrett
In the final minutes of Saturday’s tight game, the Colorado defense wanted the ball in anybody’s hands but senior LaceDarius Dunn’s. Too bad.
Dunn was a perfect 8 of 8 from the charity stripe in the final 1:27 and scored 26 points as Baylor erased a 17-point deficit to beat the Buffaloes, 70-66, at the Ferrell Center.
The Bears (14-6, 4-3) trailed the entire game until Dunn drained a pull-up jumper with 2:58 left in the game and put his team ahead, 58-57. From there Colorado (14-8, 3-4) went 4 of 12 from the field while Dunn iced the game from the line.
But ask Dunn, and he’ll say his most important statistic of the night was neither points nor free throws. He recorded six assists, one shy of a career-high.
“I’m not just an offensive player. I just have to do other things to get my other teammates shots and do whatever we have to do to get the ball in the bucket,” Dunn said.
Dunn’s last assist came after he gave the Bears the 58-57 lead. He sliced to the basket and kicked out to a wide open sophomore A.J. Walton, who connected from 3-point range.
Considering the Bears’ 49 second half points, coach Scott Drew was asked if Saturday was the best second half he has seen from his squad this season.
“Against a quality team, yes. That’s a pretty good half, holding them to 32 percent,” Drew said.
Much of Colorado’s damage came in the first half when it had more momentum, cohesion and energy than the home team.
Levi Knutson’s 3-pointer answered one from Dunn and gave the Buffaloes a 15-5 advantage just after the 13 minute mark.
Colorado’s Austin Dufault later caught an offensive rebound, missed a putback attempt, grabbed his own rebound and finally laid the ball in unguarded for a 24-15 lead.
The play drew boos from the crowd and illustrated what the team felt was the problem in the first half. Film sessions after the game made the lack of boxing out even more evident.
“We’re so used to using our athleticism [in high school]. In the Big 12, everybody can jump and people are a lot bigger. We have to hit and go get it,” junior Quincy Acy said Monday.
Turnovers also plagued the Bears in the period, as 13 turnovers became 12 Colorado points. The Buffaloes used Acy’s turnover with less than a minute left to earn two free throws and build their largest lead of the game at 35-18.
Acy finished with 13 points, joining Dunn and freshman Perry Jones III as the Bears’ double figure scorers.
Acy was not in the starting lineup, again, to help provide a spark off the bench. Junior J’mison Morgan, instead, started but played only three minutes with no statistics in the box score.
Along with Acy, freshman Stargell Love made significant contributions off the bench albeit netting only two baskets.
Love’s first bucket, an offensive rebound and dunk with 30 seconds left in the first half, provided a momentum boost heading into the locker room. In the second half, Love hit a fadeaway jumper to pull the Bears within 52-50.
“He finishes the half in a great way for us, getting that bucket. We come in the locker room, and second half he continues to give us a lift,” Drew said. “We don’t win this game without him.”
The Bears play Oklahoma at 7 p.m. in Norman tonight and attempt a second consecutive season sweep of the Sooners.