Two teams coming off close wins on Saturday look to continue their upward trends when Oregon State visits Colorado in a Pac-12 Conference game on Monday night in Boulder, Colo.
The matchup is the first of two over a 13-day span for the Pac-12 upper-division squads. They also will square off on Feb. 20 at Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore.
The latter will come at the end of a four-game trip for the Buffaloes (14-5, 8-4), who have played their best basketball at home this season. After Monday, they won’t play another home game until hosting Southern California on Feb. 25.
Colorado ran its home record to 5-1 in conference play with an 82-79 win over Arizona on Saturday.
The win was significant for several reasons, not the least of which being that it was the first this season at which Colorado allowed some fans in the stands.
Only family members were given that privilege, but that was enough to fire up the Buffaloes’ Evan Battey, who rewarded his mom and sister with a 21-point performance that included four clinching free throws in the final seconds.
“My mom loves watching me play,” Battey gushed afterward. “It just meant the world because she hasn’t been able to watch me all year. There’s no words to explain that feeling.”
The Buffs were without star freshman Jabari Walker, who has a foot injury. He already has been ruled out of all three Colorado games this week, including trips to Stanford on Thursday and California on Saturday.
Oregon State (10-7, 6-5) moved above .500 in conference play with a 68-66 home win over Washington State on Saturday. That victory capped a two-game home sweep of the Washington schools last week.
Now, the Beavers embark on a finish that has them on the road for six of their last nine games. Their only Pac-12 road win in four tries so far has come on the short trek over to Oregon last month.
Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle declared last week every game is winnable in a season of lesser home-court advantage and great parity in the Pac-12.
“There’s no clear-cut team that blows everybody away. There’s a lot of balance,” he said. “This is as competitive as this conference has been since my (seven years) here.”
Speaking of balance, the Beavers got just that in their win over Washington State. Eight different players scored at least six points, and none had more than Ethan Thompson and Jarod Lucas, who each scored 12.
–Field Level Media