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Colorado holds off USC 66-60

Posted: January 10, 2013 10:42 p.m.
Updated: January 10, 2013 10:42 p.m.
USC’s DeWayne Dedmon (14) defends as Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie, left, drives to the basket on Thursday in Boulder, Colo. USC’s DeWayne Dedmon (14) defends as Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie, left, drives to the basket on Thursday in Boulder, Colo.
USC’s DeWayne Dedmon (14) defends as Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie, left, drives to the basket on Thursday in Boulder, Colo.

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — If he had to do over again, Tad Boyle would've earned his degree in psychology rather than business.

It sure would come in handy right now. Maybe that way the Colorado coach could better figure out how to get his team to focus more with a big lead.

At least this time, the Buffaloes didn't squander it away. Not all of the lead, anyway.

Josh Scott scored 14 points and Askia Booker added 12 to help Colorado snap a two-game skid by holding off USC 66-60 on Thursday night.

It wasn't easy — again.

In back-to-back games last week, Colorado blew a 17-point lead in an overtime loss to Arizona and then had a double-digit advantage erased as the team tumbled at Arizona State.

But the Buffaloes (11-4, 1-2 Pac-12) found a way to hang on and, bottom line, that's all that really matters.

"Part of league play is you've got to figure out a way to win when you don't play your best basketball," Boyle said. "But until our guys figure out that we have to play for 40 minutes, we're not going to beat great teams. Just not going to happen, you can't do it."

The Buffaloes ran their home record to 7-0 this season and kept the Trojans (6-10, 1-2) searching for that elusive road win. USC has now dropped 14 straight away from the Galen Center.

Eric Wise finished with 16 points for the Trojans, which haven't won on the road since Nov. 30, 2011, at UC Riverside.

Andre Roberson, one of the top rebounders in the nation, didn't start for the first time in 49 games. He was late for a team function and his penalty was a seat on the bench.

The junior forward anxiously waited for just over four minutes before being summoned into the game by Boyle. Roberson finished with 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Colorado led by 15 points at halftime before the Trojans closed the gap to 43-36 on a layup by J.T. Terrell early in the second half. It made for some tense moments, almost a here-they-go again feeling.

Boyle began pacing on the bench, crouching down at times as his players looked tentative on the court.

Finally seeing enough, Boyle called timeout to settle down his squad. Whatever he said hit home as Colorado went on a 14-7 run to gain some separation. The big play in the run was a three-point play by Booker with 8:41 remaining.

But the Trojans had one last run in them. Byron Wesley hit a deep 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining to make it a six-point game. USC then stole a pass, but couldn't capitalize as Colorado hung on for the win, much to the relief of the boisterous crowd.

Were the Buffs nervous when the lead was whittled down?

"Not at all," Booker said. "We've been in that situation before, where we're up in the first half and they come back and make a run in second half. It was a matter of keeping our composure."

Boyle was a little bit on edge.

"I'm not comfortable on the bench, I can promise you that," he said. "Basketball comes down to execution, making plays at the end or not making plays. We made enough plays to win that game tonight."

USC was its own worst enemy in this contest, turning the ball over a season-high 23 times.

"Way too many," USC coach Kevin O'Neill said. "Bad basketball in the first half led to a lot of easy baskets for them. If we had played anywhere near the way we played in the second half we would have had a chance to win the game."

After a fast start by USC to open the game, the momentum began to shift late in the first half when Jio Fontan left the court with a strained rib cage injury. The Buffs turned a four-point lead into 11 by the time the senior guard checked back into the game.

However, Fontan didn't play in the second half.

"That's our leader," Wise said. "We definitely needed him. He's our vocal leader.

"This is tough. We all wanted to win, but we can't dwell on it too much because we have to play in less than 48 hours. Of course, we really wanted to win, though."


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