BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Evan Battey made a point of going to the basket, taking high-percentage shots and drawing fouls in the process.
Battey scored a season-high 20 points, hitting a career-high 10 of 11 free throws, and Colorado pulled away in the second half to beat Prairie View A&M 83-64 on Thursday night.
"Evan is just getting better and better," Colorado coach Tad Boye said of his sophomore power forward. "He's playing within himself and he made free throws tonight."
Battey said he's focused on making the inside game his offensive calling card.
"I always get it to the basket," he said. "It's what I always do."
He had an offensive complement on the perimeter. D'Shawn Schwartz added 13 points, including three 3 pointers, all in the second half. Tyler Bey also had 13 and McKinley Wright had 11 for Colorado (9-2), which has won two in a row since dropping consecutive games after a 7-0 start.
"It was better, better than the last couple of games," Wright said of the Buffaloes' offense. "We just have to stay with each other, stay believing in each other and everything will go in the right direction."
Gerard Andrus scored 12 points to lead Prairie View (3-8), which has lost its last three. Devonte Patterson added 11 points. It was only the second meeting between the schools and the first in 11 years. The Panthers also lost their first encounter with Colorado 72-47 in 2008.
After Chancellor Ellis hit a jumper to pull the Panthers to within 56-49 with 7:49 remaining, the Buffaloes put together a 10-0 run that included successive 3-pointers by Schwartz and a pair of free throws by Battey to go in front by 17 points with 6:03 remaining.
By the time Schwartz connected on a third 3-pointer in the second half, Colorado had gone in front 73-52 with 4:17 left to play. A dunk by Bey stretched Colorado's advantage to 77-53 with just over three minutes remaining and the Buffaloes freely substitued the rest of the way.
"They just played good team basketball, ran their offense and picked their spots. They were a very efficient team," said Prairie View A&M coach Byron Smith. "They made 26 of 28 free throws when we fouled them playing undisciplined defense and they made us pay. I thought they executed their offense and got the ball on the inside and did a good job."
Wright scored nine of his points in the first half, helping Colorado take a 35-28 lead. The Buffaloes finished the period by scoring eight of 12 points over the last two minutes of the period.
Prairie View A&M: The Panthers, nearing the end of an 11-game road trip, kept it close for much of the game before their off-target shooting seeemed to catch up with them. They were outshot from the field 50% to 36.8% and the Panthers were only 1 of 9 from 3-point range.
Colorado: The Buffaloes had their inside and outside game going, hitting an array of jumpers with Battey leading a low-post game that banked on layups and short jumpers en route to a season high in points. On defense, they consistently contested shots and improved to 5-0 this season when holding an opponent to below 40% shooting.
Prairie View A&M: Finish up 11-game road trip at Seton Hall on Sunday.
Colorado: Head to Chicago to play Dayton on Saturday night in the Chicago Legends tournament.