White, Colorado hold off Eastern Washington 76-68

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BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Colorado couldn't score, couldn't get stops and couldn't rebound in falling behind by 17 points early in the game.

Turns out, the Buffaloes had Eastern Washington right where they wanted the heavy underdogs.

Derrick White scored 17 points and Deleon Brown drew a charge that changed the momentum as Colorado rallied from an abysmal start to beat Eastern Washington 76-68 on Thursday night.

The Buffaloes (10-3) missed their first eight shots and fell into a 19-2 hole before getting on track. Colorado took the lead for good on a pair of free throws by Xavier Johnson with 8:25 remaining. Soon after, Brown stepped in the way of a driving Sir Washington and followed that up with a pivotal steal as the Buffaloes averted the upset despite turnover after turnover down the stretch.

Not exactly the way Colorado coach Tad Boyle wanted to finish up the nonconference schedule. Then again, he won't quibble with a victory that was tied for the program's sixth biggest comeback since 1947, either.

"Well, it was a good win, especially given how we started the game," Boyle said. "Down 19-2 — something I was certainly not planning on. But we beat a good Eastern Washington team."

The Buffaloes did so by finally finding a way to slow down Bogdan Bliznyuk, who scored 21 of his 25 points in the first half. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward certainly proved to be a handful.

"It was written (in the scouting report) he might be the best offensive player we've played against all year," Boyle said. "He's a good player, a hard matchup."

Colorado slowed Bliznyuk down by simply denying him the ball.

"He can't score if he doesn't catch it," Boyle said.

This was a game that got away from for the Eagles (8-5), who have dropped 20 straight to Pac-12 teams, according to the team. Eastern Washington wore down in the second half as the team played its third road game in five nights. The Eagles wrapped up their pre-holiday trip 0-3.

"Obviously, we would have like to have won the game, but we're really pleased with how we played," Eagles coach Jim Hayford said. "We took really good care of the basketball and only had four turnovers, which is why we made it a game."

Felix Von Hofe hit a 3-pointer with 1:18 remaining to make it a 72-68 contest. Wesley Gordon sealed the win with a ferocious dunk with 46 seconds remaining. Gordon finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Colorado barely out-rebounded the much smaller Eagles by a 38-36 margin. That's a growing concern for Boyle heading into Pac-12 play.

"Right now, we're not a good rebounding team," Boyle said. "Until these guys figure that out, it's going to cost us some games at some point."


Eastern Washington: The Eagles were a 17-point underdog against Colorado and played by far their most competitive game on the road swing. They lost to Northern Kentucky 70-48 on Sunday and Xavier 85-56 on Tuesday.

Colorado: The Buffaloes have won 15 of their last 16 at home. They're 95-16 at the Coors Events Center under coach Tad Boyle. ... Josh Fortune finished with 13 points, including three 3-pointers.


The Buffaloes have a few days off for the holiday break.

"It's going to be nice to spend time with our families," White said. "But we have to stay mentally ready. We can't just sit on the couch and eat cake and stuff."


It wasn't the best shooting night for Brown, who finished with five points. But he made up for it with superb defense. He had a critical steal and a blocked shot.

"I tried to focus more on the defensive end," the freshman guard said. "I feel like I can impact the game in other ways."


Bliznyuk refused to take solace in the fact the Eagles threw quite a scare at the Buffaloes.

"We're competitors," Bliznyuk said. "You never try to step out on the floor and be like, 'Oh, it's close.'"


Eastern Washington: Open Big Sky play on Dec. 30 at Idaho.

Colorado: Begins Pac-12 play at Utah on New Year's Day.


More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP\_Top25.

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