Oregon vs. Colorado score: Buffaloes take down No. 4 Ducks in Pac-12 opener for both teams

USATSI

In an upset only by way of AP ranking, No. 4 Oregon fell Thursday night to unranked Colorado 74-65 in both programs' respective Pac-12 opening tilts. And how's this for a stat: Oregon's still never taken out Colorado on the Buffaloes' home court.

The Buffaloes traded punches with their visiting foes for much of the first half before ballooning their lead to six just before halftime. They took that lead into the second half and never trailed, claiming their first 1-0 start in conference play under coach Tad Boyle since the 2014-2015 season.

Scratch past the surface and you'll see why this was no upset at all. Oregon was a 1.5 point underdog in this game in part, likely, because of Oregon's struggles in Boulder, Colorado. But also, largely, the line -- and result -- was a testament to the respect Colorado continues to garner. The Buffs are 12-2 with their lone losses this season coming to Kansas and Northern Iowa.

It'd be one thing if Oregon and Colorado scuffled to the final buzzer, but this was all Colorado. Oregon had no answers. Consider this a warning for the rest of the Pac-12: Colorado is no flash-in-the-pan, either. When Tyler Bey and McKinley Wright IV are clicking the way they were on Thursday, they're the best team in the conference. This might be Colorado's league to lose. The way this team looked Thursday, this is Colorado's league to lose.

On Thursday it was Wright who led the way for CU, scoring 21 points on an efficient 6-of-11 scoring. He was all over the place, a spark plug for a team already firing on all cylinders. The 6-foot guard added five boards, eight assists and a flashy at-the-rim putback off the glass that killed any positive second-half vibes Oregon may have been feeling. Wright's running mate Bey added 15 points and a game-high 14 boards in 28 minutes.

Oregon guard Payton Pritchard finished with 21 points. Chris Duarte added 10 points, the only two Ducks players to reach doubles figures in scoring in the loss. They have two days off before another daunting road tilt against Utah.

As for Colorado, the outlook is promising moving forward. It gets Oregon State at home on Sunday then Utah the following Sunday before a two-game road trip across Arizona. It may be looking a 4-0 Pac-12 start square in the eye. It may have just cemented its status as frontrunner in the league. It may, for the first time since its arrival in the Pac-12, be daring to dream about a conference crown -- and have realistic expectations of accomplishing it.

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