BOULDER - No Andre Roberson, no problem. And if you say you saw it coming, who's going to believe you?
With the nation's leading rebounder watching from the Colorado bench in street clothes, the Buffaloes went ahead and did the unimaginable.
CU 76, No.19 Oregon 53 . . . so much for that streak of three, gut-wrenching one-point wins against the Ducks.
It was an outrageous, out-of-sight blowout Thursday night at the sold-out (11,013) Coors Events Center, and at night's end CU savored a sweep of Oregon and its fourth win in six games this season against a Top 25 opponent.
If the Buffs needed another highlight on their NCAA Tournament resume, this was it. And if coach Tad Boyle needed another milestone win in his three-year CU career, he can put a check by this one.
"I told the team in the locker room I have been coaching division one basketball for 18 years now and I am not sure I have been more proud of a group of guys with what they did and how they stepped up," Boyle said. "Our starters, bench, whoever we put in there played their hearts out and we beat a good solid basketball team. Unfortunately, we cannot enjoy it as much as we would like to, we have to get ready for Saturday, and this was a gutty effort with a great basketball team."
The Buffs, now 9-3 in their last 12 games, close the regular season on Saturday against Oregon State (2:30 p.m., CEC).
In the absence of the 6-7 Roberson, who is day-to-day with a viral illness, the Buffs took up the slack by committee. Their headliner was freshman Xavier Johnson, who responded with a career-high 22 points. He was perfect from the field, hitting seven-of-seven, including three-of-three from beyond the arc, and was five-of-six from the free throw line.
Boyle called Johnson's performance "terrific . . . his performance was big time, when you make shots it covers up a lot of things and we were not able to do that at Cal but we were able to do it tonight. I was really proud of him stepping up because he is a guy that with Andre being out we needed to count on."
Sophomore guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker added 17 and 11, respectively. Dinwiddie contributed seven rebounds and Booker six. Junior Jeremy Adams left the bench for seven points, and senior Sabatino Chen - opening in Roberson's place - got six.
Three Oregon players scored 10 points each - Jonathan Lloyd, Ben Carter and Arsalan Kazemi.
Chen returning to the starting five gave the Buffs a smaller than usual lineup that produced matchup problems for the Ducks. Said Oregon coach Dana Altman: "They went small and we had a little trouble with that and then (Xavier) Johnson stepped up and hit a lot of shots, so he played really well. (He) really made a big difference in the game."
Even without Roberson's 11.5-board average (he also averages 10.8 points) and fierce defensive presence, the Buffs outrebounded the Ducks 38-35 and held them to 35.7 percent shooting. CU now has held nine consecutive Pac-12 Conference opponents under 70 points - the most since 16 foes were held under 70 during the entire 1962 Big Eight season and the first two games of the following season.
"Rebounding is always our emphasis," Dinwiddie said. "We like to say that defensive rebounding is the pillar of our program. But of course when someone like Andre goes out and rebounding is their specialty, you have to pick up the slack in that area. We just all had to pick up the rebounds as a team."
CU improved to 20-9 overall - its school-record third 20-win season, all under Boyle - and 10-7 in the Pac-12. Oregon, needing a win to clinch a tie for first place in the conference, leaves Boulder 23-7, 12-5.
CU has had its share of injury/illness problems over the past three weeks. Freshman center Josh Scott was in his second game back since missing two with a concussion. He returned last weekend at California, scoring four points but hauling down 11 rebounds, and he collected eight on Thursday night with another four points.
Then comes Roberson's illness . . . but the Buffs were a team on a mission. Johnson said Roberson's absence "puts a lot of pressure on the freshman and everybody else, knowing that we have to make up for those rebounds. So, we just tried to do the best we could."
The Ducks scored the game's first basket - a jumper by E.J. Singler - but it was their last lead of the night. By intermission, despite Boyle having to sub liberally because of two fouls each on five of his key players, CU had rolled to a 37-21 lead - the Buffs' largest halftime advantage of the season in Pac-12 play.
CU's first-half defense was stifling, limiting Oregon to 18 percent shooting (3-for-16) in the first 10 minutes. By intermission the Ducks' shooting had improved, but not by much - 7-for-26 (27 percent). The Buffs, meanwhile, improved on their 23 percent shooting last weekend at Cal, going 13-of-27 (48 percent) and hitting half of their eight three-point attempts.
Needing to at least maintain their intensity to open the second half, the Buffs took it a step further, outscoring the visitors 8-4 over the first 5 minutes to race ahead by 20 (45-25).
With 12:31 to play, CU pushed its advantage to 24 (55-31) on a pair of Dinwiddie free throws after a flagrant foul on Oregon. The Ducks could only get as close as 17 points in the final 10 minutes, and the Buffs pushed their advantage to 25 (71-46) before it was over.