Given its recent history against Wyoming, the Colorado men's basketball team figured a matchup with the Cowboys wouldn't be easy.

It wasn't, but the Buffaloes did finally find a way to get past the Pokes.

Four Buffs scored in double figures, led by Spencer Dinwiddie's 15 points, as CU knocked off Wyoming 63-58 on Wednesday night at Coors Events Center.

"If you guys were looking for the definition of the phrase 'winning ugly,' I think you saw it tonight," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "It wasn't pretty, wasn't our best effort, but I was really proud of our guys for finding a way down the stretch to win the game.

"They play us tough every year, and it's just good to get a win against them."

CU (2-1) had lost six in a row to Wyoming (1-1), including each of the past two years. But, they beat the Cowboys for the first time since Dec. 10, 1996. It was CU's first win against Wyoming in Boulder since March 18, 1991.

"I said earlier that they're not a rival and I stick by that, but at the same time they're a big game," said Dinwiddie, who had been 0-2 against Wyoming in his career before Wednesday. "We're glad we won."

The Buffs didn't have a great night on offense, but overcame that to get their second win in a row. CU hit six of eight free throws in the final 86 seconds to seal the win. Dinwiddie hit four in a row from the line to give the Buffs a five-point lead with 28.3 seconds to play.


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"One of our strengths is getting to the free throw line and we did that," said Boyle.

CU's advantage at the line proved to be critical. The Buffs were 24 of 33 from the line, while Wyoming was just 11 of 15.

"It's always difficult when a team can get to the line like that," said Josh Adams, who led Wyoming with 15 points. "If you get yourself to the line like that in a game, you give yourself a chance to win."

Askia Booker scored a season-high 14 points for the Buffs, while Xavier Johnson had 13 and Josh Scott 12. Scott just missed a double-double, finishing with nine rebounds.

CU went into the locker room at halftime trailing 31-26, but played a solid second half to rally.

"Second half, the defense was the difference in the game," said Boyle, whose team allowed Wyoming to hit just two field goals in the final 7:55.

The Buffs held Wyoming to just 38.1 percent shooting after intermission, while connecting on 50 percent of their own shots on offense. The Buffs also drained 16 of 21 free throws in the second half.

In the first half, CU's offense sputtered and its defense struggled.

After taking a 17-14 lead with 9:59 to play before the break, the Buffs went 7:49 without a field goal. During that stretch, they did hit seven free throws, but fell behind 31-24.

Wyoming's lead hit 10, at 28-18, with 3:36 to go in the half after Jerron Granberry hit one of the Pokes' five first-half 3-pointers.

CU was able to close the gap a bit before the break, but during the first 20 minutes, the Buffs hit just 32 percent of their shots (8-for-25) and turned the ball over eight times.

Opening the second half, CU pounded the ball inside, going on an 8-3 run to tie the game at 34. Wesley Gordon had two layups in key that stretch.

Wyoming responded with four points in a row, but CU went on an 8-2 run to regain the lead, 42-40, with 12:46 to play.

Colorado matched its biggest lead of the night when Dinwiddie hit a free throw with 3:06 to play. Larry Nance Jr. scored four points in a row to pull Wyoming within a point, 57-56 with 1:46 to play.

Dinwiddie then went 4-for-4 at the line to get the lead back up to five and CU held on from there.

"You learn something every game," Scott said of wining a close game. "We're a young team, so anything close or anything that helps us learn is a good thing."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.

Fast break

What went right

Colorado played exceptional defense in the second half to rally for an important victory. The Buffs held Wyoming to 38.1 percent shooting and 27 points after intermission.

What went wrong

The offense sputtered late in the first half, allowing Wyoming to build a 10-point lead at one point.

Star of the game

Spencer Dinwiddie. He overcame a rough shooting night (2 for 9), but hit 10 of 13 free throws, scored 15 points and pulled down seven rebounds.

What's next?

The Buffs will host Jackson State on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Colorado 63, Wyoming 58

WYOMING

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Cooke Jr 18 1-1 0-0 1-2 1 4 2

Nance Jr 28 3-7 4-4 0-8 0 5 10

Grabau 38 3-8 2-3 0-0 5 5 9

Adams 24 5-8 2-2 1-3 0 4 15

Sobey 30 2-7 1-2 0-4 0 4 6

Hankerson Jr 24 2-6 2-2 1-1 4 4 7

Washington III 7 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 2

Granberry 28 3-5 0-2 2-4 1 2 7

Haldorson 3 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 1 0

Totals 200 20-46 11-15 5-24 11 29 58

Percentages: FG .435, FT .733.

3-Point Goals: 7-21, .333 (Adams 3-4, Hankerson Jr. 1-2, Granberry 1-2, Sobey 1-4, Grabau 1-5, Washington III 0-2, Nance Jr. 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 1.

Blocked Shots: 3 (Nance Jr. 2, Sobey).

Turnovers: 13 (Nance Jr. 3, Sobey 3, Cooke Jr. 2, Adams 2, Grabau, Hankerson Jr., Granberry).

Steals: 5 (Hankerson Jr. 2, Cooke Jr., Nance Jr., Granberry).

Technical Fouls: None.

COLORADO

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Gordon 33 2-5 2-2 0-2 2 1 6

Johnson 31 4-6 5-9 1-5 0 2 13

Scott 31 5-7 2-2 4-9 0 2 12

Booker 32 4-11 4-4 0-3 0 3 14

Dinwiddie 30 2-9 10-13 3-7 1 3 15

Talton 16 0-2 1-2 0-1 0 1 1

Stalzer 2 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Fletcher 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

Thomas 11 1-3 0-0 1-2 0 2 2

Hopkins 10 0-1 0-1 0-1 1 3 0

King 2 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 200 18-45 24-34 12-35 4 19 63

Percentages: FG .400, FT .706.

3-Point Goals: 3-12, .250 (Booker 2-5, Dinwiddie 1-4, Stalzer 0-1, Talton 0-1, Johnson 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 5.

Blocked Shots: 1 (Johnson).

Turnovers: 14 (Dinwiddie 3, Booker 3, Gordon 3, Thomas 2, Hopkins, Scott, Johnson).

Steals: 5 (Booker 2, Gordon, Johnson, Dinwiddie).

Technical Fouls: Hopkins.

Wyoming 31 27--58

Colorado 26 37--63

A -- 9,429.

Officials -- Mark Whitehead, John Higgins, Eric Curry.