BOULDER, Colo. – After Tad Boyle called Saturday's 23-point loss to Wyoming "embarrassing", there was no telling what he'd have said if his Colorado Buffaloes didn't turn things around after an unsettling start Tuesday.
His players made sure that didn't happen.
Xavier Johnson scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Josh Scott scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half, and the Buffaloes used a 25-0 run in the first half to trounce in-state foe Air Force 68-53.
Johnson tapped a layup off the glass and grabbed a steal before down a dunk on Air Force's ensuing possession during a run that covered more than nine minutes. Xavier Talton hit two of his three 3-pointers to help put his team up 31-10 with 5:04 left in the first half.
The nightmare of the past couple of days seemed to finally be over.
"Coming off a loss like that (at Wyoming), I mean they are a good team, but you never want to lose like that," said Talton, whose team lost 56-33 at Laramie on Saturday. "It felt good to get on the court and win the game."
Colorado (3-1) notched its 21st consecutive home win over a non-conference team — the third longest streak in program history.
Trevor Lyons and Matt Mooney each had 10 points for the Falcons, who missed 12 consecutive shots during the first-half run that buried them.
Air Force (3-2) regrouped and shot 12 for 29 in the second half as a team. And it managed to cut the 29-point deficit to 15 points on multiple occasions in the final five minutes, yet could close no further.
"For us to have an opportunity to play them is good for our program," Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich said. "We just have to be more competitive."
The Buffs, who scored only nine points in the second half at Wyoming on Saturday, started very shaky once again on Tuesday. The Buffaloes committed six turnovers before Johnson put up his team's first shot — a miss — more than three minutes into the game.
Johnson quickly grabbed his own rebound and scored despite being fouled. And the Buffaloes were quickly on their way to a rout.
Colorado: Askia Booker, the team's starting point guard, and the only senior under scholarship at CU, sat out of the first half due to academics. He started the second half, however, and scored five points. Tre'Shaun Fletcher, meanwhile, left the first half after Xavier Johnson's elbow came down on his face. He returned and finished with five points.
Air Force: Senior forward DeLovell Earls, a co-captain for the Falcons, sat out of Tuesday's game due to a concussion. Although he also has a walking boot on his right foot, Earls said the concussion is the thing that is keeping him out. In his place, freshmen scored 28
Freshman guard Dominique Collier, who attended Denver East High School, played his first game in front of the CU faithful. He scored three points and tossed out six assists, yet admitted he was winded during the game. "They run a lot more (in college), and I got winded a couple of times," he said with a grin. Boyle said Collier would play "more and more" going forward after the guard sat out the first two games with an ankle injury.
Colorado hosts the Lipscomb Bisons on Sunday afternoon.
Air Force, meanwhile, will travel and face the Texas Tech Red Raiders at the same time.