With fellow freshman Tre'Shaun Fletcher hobbled with an injury, the Colorado men's basketball team had a shortened bench. That made Hopkins' minutes a little more important, and he delivered.
Hopkins finished with a season-high 13 points, 10 of those in the first half.
"I just wanted to come in the game ready," he said. "Off the bench coach has a lot of faith in me, so I just wanted to go out there and perform."
CU's offense sputtered throughout the first half, but Hopkins lead the team in scoring during that half. He hit four buckets, including two 3-pointers, before intermission.
"It was pretty big," he said. "I just got open looks and just knocked them down."
Hopkins' previous high was 12 points against Jackson State on Nov. 16.
Overall, CU head coach Tad Boyle didn't go to his bench much.
Hopkins played 21 minutes, but sophomore Xavier Talton (13 minutes) and freshman Dustin Thomas (11 minutes) were the only other players to come off the bench.
"Just the way it worked out," Boyle said, adding that it wasn't his plan going in to use just three players from the bench.
Fletcher was out with an undisclosed injury, but he did go through warm-ups.
CU carried into the game a school record-tying streak of 28 consecutive made free throws. That streak ended early Thursday, when Thomas went 0-for-2 on CU's first trip to the line.
The streak of 28, which included a 26-for-26 game against Georgia on Saturday, matches the previous long streak, which was set Dec.7-10, 1983.
Overall, CU went just 17-for-27 at the line, including 4-for-8 in the final two minutes.
Moreland makes debut
Oregon State didn't waste much time getting Eric Moreland onto the floor. The junior forward, who was reinstated from a suspension late Wednesday night, made his season debut just 3:27 into the game.
In July, Moreland was suspended by the team for the first 14 games for violating team rules. Moreland wound up missing just 12 games, after coach Craig Robinson determined Wednesday that Moreland had met the qualifications of the suspension.
The move caught CU off guard. The Buffs practiced all week believing Moreland would be out. Moreland wound up with 10 rebounds, helping the Beavers to a 37-34 edge on the glass.
Oregon State, without Moreland, was last in the Pac-12 in rebounding coming into the night.
"With Moreland back, they're a different animal," Boyle said. "Moreland brings the defense and the shot-blocking and the rebounding to their team that nobody else does. That's what we were concerned with."
Urging the crowd
On Sunday, the Buffs will host No. 10 Oregon, and Boyle said he and the Buffs need the crowd to show up like they did on Dec. 7 when Kansas came to town.
"We need our fans Sunday," he said. "We need a sell-out, we need this place rockin' and we need our fans to understand they can have an effect on this game. I thought they were good tonight, at times, but we need it from start to finish. We need a Kansas-type crowd effort on Sunday to get this team over the hump."
CU had 9,851 people in attendance Thursday. A sell-out crowd of 11,113 attended the Kansas game.
CU improved to 46-55 all-time in conference openers, including 2-1 since joining the Pac-12. ... Xavier Johnson finished just shy of a double-double, totaling nine points and nine rebounds for the Buffs. ... OSU had a 21-13 rebounding edge at the half, the first time all year CU has been out-rebounded in the first half. ... Oregon State is one of four teams in the Pac-12 that CU will play just once this season. The others are Oregon, California and Stanford. ... CU is 54-7 at home under Boyle, including 10-0 this year. ... CU is 10-4 all-time against Oregon State.
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org