CU Above the Rim – December

-

 

CU Above the Rim

December 31st

Men’s team continues to rise amongst “others” in poll; CU women up to No. 20

The Colorado men’s basketball team concluded non-conference play with a 10-2 record. That’s good enough for a No. 32 ranking in the latest coaches’ poll (CU still isn’t receiving any votes in the AP poll). The Buffs received six votes this week, up from three last week (in case you are wondering, Tad Boyle is not one of the coaches who has a vote. The only Pac-12 coach who has a vote is Herb Sendek of Arizona State. The only coach with a vote from a team CU has played this year is Baylor’s head coach Scott Drew).

The only Pac-12 team in the poll is No. 3 Arizona, CU’s opponent on Thursday (6:00 p.m., ESPNU). UCLA is the only other Pac-12 team receiving votes, coming in at No. 35. (Hard to believe the company CU is keeping amongst the “others”. In addition to traditional power UCLA, the Buffs are nuzzled up with North Carolina, at No. 28, and Kentucky, at No. 29).

Here’s a link to both the AP and the USA Today coaches’ polls.

CU women move up to No. 20 in Associated Press poll; Stanford drops to No. 4

The numbers can now be affixed to the game promotions: Friday, 8:00 p.m., CU Events Center … No. 4 Stanford at No. 20 Colorado.

The undefeated CU women’s basketball team moved up three spots this week, jumping past Texas, Kansas, and Dayton. Meanwhile, this weekend’s first opponent, Stanford, fell from No. 1 to No. 4 after losing at home to new No. 1 UConn.

Lest the Buffs focus all of their energy on the Stanford game, there is another tough game coming up on Sunday (12:00 noon, Pac-12 Networks). The Bears are ranked No. 7 this week, up from No. 8 last week.

Other rankings of note … Louisville, No. 11; UCLA, No. 16. Other than the four teams from the Pac-12 who are ranked in the Top 20, no other Pac-12 team received votes this week.

December 30th

Tad Boyle: “I think we’re ready for conference play”

Tad Boyle on taking his 10-2 Buffs into Pac-12 conference play … “They picked us 6th and we’ll find out, I don’t get too concerned with those other than when people say it’s a given we’re going to go to the tournament or it’s a given that we’re going to win this game . Nothing is a given in college basketball, we learned that against Texas-Southern a couple weeks ago and for the young people there’s going to be a lot of learning opportunities, we’ve had some already and we’re going to continue to have some. I don’t get concerned with outside expectations but when I hear people talking about a given that we’re a tournament team or we should be going to the tournament, there’s nobody that should be. You have to earn your way into that thing and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’ve got a young team and young players, and we’ve got to figure it out and we’ve done a good job so far.”

On not repeating the same result as the Kansas game, a 36-point rout … “I think our guys were a little embarrassed by the Kansas performance but as we look forward to going to Arizona next week, it’s a great home court advantage we’re stepping into and so it will be a challenge for these guys to see if we’ve learned from that experience … You get into league play, every game means the same thing, the price goes up and the intensity goes up, the level of competition goes up, and I think we’re ready for conference play.”

December 29th - Boulder        Colorado 82, Hartford 50

Colorado players were told by coaches not to look past Hartford, even though a date with No. 3 Arizona was next up on the calendar.

After all, Hartford was 7-5, and had pushed Arizona State earlier in December, losing by only eight in Tempe, 71-63.

No problem.

Colorado’s big men each posted a double-double, while Askia Booker added 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting to lead the Buffs to an easy 80-52 win over Hartford. Freshman Josh Scott posted a new career-high with 21 points, also registering 10 rebounds, while Andre Roberson posted career double-double No. 31 with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Colorado opened the game with an 11-0 run, with Hartford failing to score until a three-pointer fell with 15:26 to play in the first half. An Andre Roberson dunk 17 seconds into the game set the tone. Layups by Roberson and Askia Booker led to a Hartford timeout at the 17:43 mark, but the timeout didn’t help. Josh Scott made two layups, sandwiched around a Sabatino Chen free throw, to up the lead to 11-0 before a three-pointer by Hartford put the Hawks in scoring column. This basket was quickly answered by a three-pointer by Askia Booker. At the first television timeout, it was 14-3, Colorado.

Play deteriorated in the middle portion of the first half, with turnovers being committed by both teams. By the next television timeout, layups by Roberson, Shane Harris-Tunks, and Xavier Johnson were offset only by the Hawks’ second three-pointer of the half. Colorado 20, Hartford 6 was on the scoreboard. Even move telling were the rebound totals. With ten minutes to play in the first half, Colorado had 15 rebounds, while Hartford had exactly zero.

Free throws by Spencer Dinwiddle and Xavier Johnson upped the lead to 24-6, with Josh Scott’s jumper upping the lead to 20 … before Hartford registered its first rebound of the game. At the under eight timeout, Hartford had one rebound, but still no two point baskets – three three-pointers on 3-of-18 shooting. Colorado, meanwhile, was 10-of-16 from the field. Colorado 26, Hartford 9.

After the under eight break, Josh Scott made up for missing two free throws by hitting a short jumper to give him eight first half points. Xavier Talton became the eighth Buff to score on a free throw, with Andre Roberson picking up rebound number eight and points number seven and eight on a layup. Two three pointers by Hartford gave the Hawks their first “run” of the game, silenced by a jumper by Booker and a put back by Josh Scott.

The sixth three-pointer of the first half by Hartford made the score 35-18, but a pair of dunks, one on a feed from Dinwiddle to Booker, the other on a breakaway by Josh Scott, put the lead back up over 20 at 39-18.

An Askia Booker three-pointer pushed the lead back up to 24 points at 42-18, but that was answered by a three-pointer by Hartford. At the buzzer, Andre Roberson hit a three-pointer to give him a first half double-double – 11 points; ten rebounds.

Halftime score: Colorado 45, Hartford 21

The halftime stats were filled with apparent typos. Colorado had 25 rebounds; Hartford 6. Hartford was a more than respectable 7-of-13 from three point range, but 0-for-14 from two-point range, and had yet to attempt a free throw.

Colorado was led by Josh Scott and Askia Booker, each with 12 points, and Andre Roberson, with 11. If there were any stats which Tad Boyle and the CU coaching staff could quibble about, it was the fact that the Buffs were continuing to struggle from the free throw line – 6-of-10 – and had eight first half turnovers.

An Askia Booker layup after a Spencer Dinwiddle steal set the tone early in the second half. Hartford did make its first two point basket of the game at the 19:21 mark was quickly offset by an Andre Roberson layup, a traditional three-point play by Dinwiddie and a Booker layup. A putback after an offensive rebound by Josh Scott gave Colorado a 33-point lead at 56-23.

A three-pointer by Hartford, the Hawks’ eighth of the game, stopped the run, but only cut the lead to 30 at the first break. Colorado 56, Hartford 26.

Free throws by Josh Scott after an offensive rebound gave Scott 16 points and nine rebounds. A layup and three-pointer by Hartford sandwiched a three-pointer by Askia Booker, making the new score 61-31, with 13:32 to play.

Spencer Dinwiddie made a jumper, then two free throws, before Josh Scott converted a traditional three-pointer. The 7-0 run by the Buffs were countered by two layups by the Hawks. At a timeout with 10:43 to play, the starters were taken out, with Colorado holding a 68-35 lead.

A three-pointer by Hartford gave the Hawks a 7-0 run of their own, which turned into a 12-0 run on an uncontested jumper and a three-pointer after a turnover. A peeved Tad Boyle then brought back in the starters, not so much as he was worried about losing the game (the score was still 68-43), as much as it was to send a message to the backups that their play was unacceptable.

Two free throws by Spencer Dinwiddie stopped the bleeding, with Josh Scott giving himself a double-double with his tenth rebound, followed by a basket to give him a career-high 21 points. A free throw by Andre Roberson followed by two free throws by Sabatino Chen to push the CU run to 7-0, and the lead back to 75-43. A basket and free throw by Jeremy Adams gave Colorado its ninth scorer, with the 10-0 run finally stopped by a three-pointer – the Hawks’ 12th – to make the score at the four minute mark 78-48.

With 2:51 to play in the game, Hartford took its first free throws of the game, making one, with the Hawks making three-pointer No. 13 to push past the 50-point mark. Sophomore guard Beau Gamble’s second basket of the season, accounted for the final points.

Final score: Colorado 80, Hartford 52

Colorado was led by Josh Scott’s 21 points, a new career high for the freshman center (20 v. Air Force). Scott’s ten rebounds also gave him his second career double-double. Askia Booker had 19 points, while Andre Roberson collected career double-double No. 31 … by halftime. At the break, Roberson had 11 points and ten rebounds, finishing the game with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

In all, ten Buffs scored in the rout, with Hartford being held to 34% shooting and only six two-point baskets in the game. Colorado kept Hartford without a rebound the first ten minutes of the game, finishing with a rebounding edge of 49-19.

“I’d like to talk about perspective, you know we’re 10-2 and for the most part I was happy with today’s performance”, said Tad Boyle. “There are still some areas where obviously our team has to get better, and taking care of the ball is one of them. When you look at our schedule and the strength of our schedule, and look at the fact that we’re 10-2, we feel good about ourselves, we’re not satisfied with ourselves but we feel good about where we are at this point.”

With a 10-2 non-conference slate now behind them, the Buffs could now – finally – focus on Pac-12 play and Thursday date with No. 3 Arizona in Tucson.

We should dominate Northern Arizona and we should dominate Hartford,” said Boyle. “Our guys are bigger and stronger and better athletes. Now the test becomes can we dominate Arizona, I’m not sure we can dominate them but we can neutralize their size and strength and athleticism. We’re not 6-6, 220 and they may be 7 foot, 250. They’ve got men, they’ve got animals in there and it’s a different deal than what we’ve faced the last two games. But our guys understand that and our guys love challenges, they’re competitive and they believe in themselves and we can’t put too much into any one game. When you go into conference play you’ve got 18 games in the Pac 12, 9 at home and 9 on the road, and I don’t know the last time someone went undefeated on the road in the Pac 12, but my guess is it has been a long time. We have to make sure we don’t get too high after a win, don’t get too full of ourselves, and we don’t get too down if we drop a game no matter who it is or who it’s against.”

Buff Bits

- Colorado is now 10-2, the best record after 12 games since the 2005-06 team also opened 10-2 (on their way to a 20-10 record).

- The 21 points allowed to Hartford in the first half was only the second-best effort of the season, as the Buffs previously held Fresno State to 17 points in the first half.

- The 45 points scored by CU in the first half was also the second-best effort of the season, coming in behind the 57 points scored in the first half against Northern Arizona.

- The official attendance was 10,228 (though the actual attendence was considerably less). It’s the fifth game in six tries in which CU has had over 10,000 for a home game this season.

- Andre Roberson (14 points, 14 rebounds) recorded his Pac-12 leading sixth double-double of the season. CU is 25-6 all-time when Roberson records a double-double.

- Freshman Josh Scott hit new season-highs for points (21), offensive rebounds (7), field goals made (9) and attempted (12). With ten rebounds, Scott recorded his second career double-double.

—–

No. 23 CU women rout New Mexico, 84-39

Colorado led New Mexico, 9-6, with 17:06 to play in the first half. At that point, it appeared that the 8-4 Lobos would give the undefeated CU women’s team a game.

Uh, not so much.

The Buffs went on a 14-2 run over the next nine minutes to take a commanding lead, 23-8, then never looked back on their way to an 84-39 rout and a perfect non-conference record of 11-0. Chucky Jeffrey had a terrific all-around game, with 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while Lexi Kresl, with 20, and Arielle Roberson, with 18, led all scorers.

Any doubt remaining in the game after the break was quickly squashed. New Mexico scored first in the second half to cut the CU lead to 39-23, but by the next time the Lobos scored, with 12:39 to play in the game, Colorado had run off 17 straight points to run up a 56-23 lead.

And then it got worse for the Lobos.

Another run, this one 12-4, gave Colorado a 40-point lead at 68-28. By the time New Mexico hit double digits in points for the second half, only 6:18 remained to be played in the contest.

“That was a great team win, we played as complete of a game as we’ve played so far this year,” said coach Linda Lappe. “We played the best that we’ve played, and we’ve played some pretty good teams. I thought that how we came out both with the intensity on the offensive and defensive end I thought that really helped us throughout the game and it helped us build a good halftime lead. In the second half, our depth really showed in extending the lead. Our starters were fresh, our bench was fresh. We got better as we subbed a little bit and we were able to pull away big in the second half.”

Up next for the CU women … Stanford, at home, next Friday night (January 4th, 8:00 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Networks). The Cardinal women’s team are the No. 1 team in the nation, but won’t be when they come to Boulder. On Saturday, while the CU women were routing New Mexico, the Stanford women were being routed, 61-35, by No. 2 UConn, snapping an 82-game home winning streak.

So, Stanford won’t be No. 1 next Friday when they come to Boulder, but they will be a top 5 team … and angry.

Notes … The next four games on CU’s schedule, including a date with No. 8 Cal, will come against teams with a current combined record of 30-3. Fortunately, three of those four games will be played at home … With CU’s win and Stanford’s loss, Colorado is the only remaining undefeated team in the Pac-12. Only seven teams nationally remain undefeated in women’s basketball … The victory over New Mexico was No. 100 in Linda Lappe’s career overall, and No. 50 while at Colorado. Lappe is 50-30 in 2+ seasons at Colorado … This is the third season in which Colorado has concluded non-conference play with an undefeated record. The 1992-93 team, as well as last year’s team, both went undefeated in non-conference play.

December 27th

Colorado v. Hartford - A Preview

Hartford is coming to Boulder to face 9-2 Colorado at noon Saturday (Pac-12 Networks national telecast).

The Hawks, from the American East Conference, are 7-5 on the season, but those seven wins have come against teams you would be hard pressed to place: Sacred Heart; Central Connecticut; Yale; Holy Cross; Farleigh Dickinson; Rice; and Marist.

Hartford’s losses include a relatively close loss to Arizona State on the road, 71-63, on December 5th. The Hawks have also lost to Quinnipiac, Mount Saint Mary’s, LaSalle and Niagara … not exactly a murderer’s row.

Still, Hartford has won three of four games, and six of its last eight. The Hawk to watch is 6’6″ sophomore forward Mark Nwakamma, who leads the Hawks in scoring (12.8 ppg), rebounds (5.3), steals (21) and blocks (11).

Buff Bits

- Colorado leads the series with Hartford, 1-0, with the only other game being an 81-67 victory in 1985.

- CU is looking to begin the season 10-2 for the first time since 2005-06 (20-10 that season)

- The Buffaloes are 37-4 at home in two-plus seasons under coach Tad Boyle (5-0 in 2012-13) and 57-28 overall

- CU has won eight-straight non-conference games dating back to last season

- Four of five CU home games have seen the announced attendance over 10,000. Colorado already has over 50,000 in attendance for the season. Since the Events Center opened in 1979, there have been nine seasons when Colorado did not reach 50,000 in attendance.

- Andre Roberson is fourth nationally in rebounding (11.9), 19th in double-doubles (5), 58th in steals (2.18)

- As a team, CU is eighth in the nation three-point field goal percentage (41%).

- Colorado is currently ranked No. 4 in the nation in the all-important RPI rankings, according to rpiforecast.com. The website projects a CU victory over Hartford to close out the non-conference schedule, and an 11-7 record in Pac-12 conference play.

CU picked 2nd in Pac-12 by Eugene newspaper

With Pac-12 conference play set to begin next week, it’s time to take stock of where the Buffs are in relation to other Pac-12 teams. Only Arizona (No. 3 nationally) is ranked, but Colorado, UCLA, and Oregon have been ranked or flirted with the rankings.

The Eugene Register-Guard ranked the Pac-12 teams as non-conference play comes to a close. Here is a link to the entire story, but below is what they had to say about Colorado, which was ranked second in the conference:

No. 2 – Colorado:

So far: Buffaloes are 8-2 but it’s been a mixed bag of results. The early wins over Baylor and Colorado State don’t look quite so impressive anymore, and the 36-point drubbing by Kansas exposed Colorado’s deficiencies.

Biggest happening: With an immediate jolt from 6-foot-10 freshman Josh Scott, Colorado was able to take some of the load on the inside off junior Andre Roberson, though he’s still averaging his usual double-double for points and rebounds. The biggest issue for Colorado is too many turnovers, and some inconsistent outside shooting.

Bottom line: With only two games in the three weeks leading up to the Pac-12 schedule, Colorado had plenty of time to work on its woes. It’s a difficult start to the Pac-12 schedule, opening at Arizona, but the Buffs played at three challenging sites in the nonconference portion of their schedule to get ready. And at home, they might have the league’s best advantage with a raucous crowd and altitude.

In an article about the Pac-12 women’s basketball race, the Register-Guard had this to say about the CU women, one of four Pac-12 teams ranked in the top 25 as conference play gets underway:

Colorado, one of the biggest surprises of the preseason, gets first crack at Stanford in its Pac-12 opener in Boulder, Colo. It could be a battle of unbeatens if the Buffs (10-0) take care of business against New Mexico on Saturday and Stanford (11-0) beats UConn.

With the addition of 6-foot-1 redshirt freshman Arielle Roberson, the younger sister of first-team all-Pac-12 performer Andre Roberson on the CU men’s team, and the return of do-everything 5-10 senior guard Chucky Jeffery, Colorado is poised for a breakout season.

“There’s a difference in how we’re beating teams,” said 32-year-old Colorado coach Linda Lappe. “A lot of different players are stepping up and making plays. We have a lot of versatility. Last year, we were one-dimensional for a lot of the season. We didn’t have the depth we have this year.”

December 25th

CU women move up two spots in AP poll

The CU women’s basketball team, fresh off of an easty 81-45  victory over Utah Valley State this past week, have moved up two spots in the latest AP poll, to No. 23.

Colorado received 156 votes – up from 99 last week – to make its second-straight appearance and highest ranking since also reaching No. 23 on Jan. 7, 2008. The Buffaloes are 10-0 and one of only seven remaining unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I – all of which reside in the AP top 25.

The Buffaloes have a long history of rankings in the AP poll, dating back to the 1980-81 season. This week’s ranking marks the 160th time Colorado has appeared in the AP poll, trailing only Stanford, USC and UCLA among Pac-12 Conference schools.

The USA Today Sports Coaches poll, however, still doesn’t have the Buffs included. The Buffs are close – with 34 votes, CU is ranked 27th overall – but are still a ways behind No. 25 Florida State, which had 86 votes this week.

The Buffaloes haven’t been ranked in that poll since April 2004. CU received 13 votes from the coaches’ poll last week. CU received votes from the coaches poll during the squad’s four-week AP run in 2007-08, but never reached the top 25.

Colorado will return to action against the University of New Mexico on Saturday, Dec. 29, at 2:30 p.m. at the Coors Events Center. Saturday is a doubleheader with the CU men taking the floor against the University of Hartford at 12 p.m.

CU men receiving votes in the coaches’ poll

The reverse of the women’s team, the CU men’s basketball team is getting some love from the coaches, but not the Associated Press. Colorado did not receive any votes in the AP poll this week, with only Arizona (No. 3) from the Pac-12 being ranked (Oregon, which was close to the rankings last week, is down to No. 33 this week after losing to UTEP in triple overtime earlier this week.

In the coaches’ poll, though, Colorado did receive votes, three in fact. The three votes ties the 9-2 Buffs for 34th, just behind Oregon and Wyoming, and just ahead of Colorado State.

December 23rd

No. 25 CU women coast to easy victory after sluggish start

From cubuffs.com … Competing as a member of the Top 25 is a relatively new experience for the Colorado women’s basketball team – and that inexperience might have showed early on Saturday afternoon.

But by the end of the first half, the No. 25 Buffaloes had settled in and were playing the part of a nationally ranked team. Using a 23-3 run to close the first 20 minutes, CU took full control and crushed Utah Valley 81-45 at the Coors Events Center.

The win was the 700th in the women’s program’s history and kept the Buffs unbeaten (10-0) this season. It was their 23rd straight victory in regular-season non-conference games and gave them a 30-4 non-conference record under third-year coach Linda Lappe.

“It’s exciting to know where we are at this point,” Lappe said. “It’s good to go into a break without a loss . . . there have been a lot of upsets in the last week or so; we wanted to make sure that wasn’t us.”

The Buffs, she said, finally “got a feel for the game” after their shaky start and eventually “did nice things in spurts” – such as hitting the open player on offense and showing intensity on defense.

The gnarly defense was particularly apparent in the first half; Sammie Jensen, Utah Valley’s leading scorer (17.7 average) and the Great West Conference player of the year in 2011-12, was held scoreless in the first 20 minutes and finished the game with nine points.

Benefitting from finding open spots and getting crisp passes from her teammates, CU’s Jen Reese led all scorers with a career-high 16 points. She got help from Chucky Jeffrey (12), Brittany Wilson (11), and Arielle Roberson (10). Jeffery also had nine rebounds and seven assists.

December 21st – Boulder          Colorado 98, Northern Arizona 51

From cubuffs.com … On a name-your-score night for the Colorado Buffaloes, coach Tad Boyle was more impressed by his team’s willingness to share than its point total.

Oh, CU’s points – 98 of them – were impressive, especially considering overmatched Northern Arizona managed only 51 on Friday night at the Coors Events Center.

But by halftime, Boyle’s Buffaloes had dished out 13 assists, tying their full-game season high. Sharing the ball more effectively has been on Boyle’s mind for a couple of months, and Friday night his team offered him an early Christmas present – 24 assists.

“We played unselfish . . . we made the extra pass it was contagious on our team,” a beaming Boyle said. “It’s a great way to go into Christmas break . . . a great team victory.”

On the switches-and-ashes side, the Buffs also committed 16 turnovers. Yet at halftime, when they were up 57-21, their assist-to-turnover ratio was a sparkling 13-to-5, so Boyle couldn’t leave the building overwrought about second-half ball handling that he termed “just a little careless.”

He used all 12 of his players and 11 of them scored – five reaching double figures. Askia Booker and Xavier Johnson each had 17, with Spencer Dinwiddie adding 15, Josh Scott 11 and Andre Roberson 10. Reserves Ben Mills and Beau Gamble got in the game late and scored their first points of the season.

Said Boyle: “To give them some time and minutes was something everybody felt good about.”

Added Dinwiddie: “Everybody is happy. We had people getting off the bench. We are each other’s biggest supporters. Most of the time you see the guys on the bench supporting us (starters) and it was just a great opportunity we had to be able to support them.”

Buff Bits -

- The Buffs 9-2 start is the best start since the 1994-95 team also started 9-2 (but that team only finished with a 15-13 record)

- The game turned on a 19-0 run by the Buffs early in the first half. Between the 15:16 and 9:07 mark, the Buffs extended their lead from 12-8 to 31-8, and never looked back. During the first half, Colorado had a run of 43-7, taking a 55-15 lead.

- The 98 points were the second most points scored by a CU team under Boyle (first: 104-59 win over Longwood on Dec. 19)

- The 47-point win did not crack CU’s top 10 list of largest margins of victory, but was the second most decisive win in the Boyle Era to the 92-34 thrashing of New Orleans last year

- CU had a season high 24 assists (old high was 13) and also had season bests of 11 three-pointers made at a 55.0 percent clip.

- Colorado, in five home games this year, has now drawn 51,285 fans to the Coors Events Center (an average of 10,257). CU set its season record for average per game just last year (7,804), and in the 35-year history of the Events Center, there were nine occasions where the Buffs did not exceed 50,000 fans for an entire season.

 

Preview – CU/NAU

Colorado is back within the friendly confines of the Coors Events Center, taking on a Big Sky Conference team which has only mustered up a 4-6 record to date.

Cakewalk?

All CU head coach needs to do to motivate his team to not overlook the Lumberjacks are these two words … Texas … Southern.

Colorado was 5-0 and nationally ranked with the 1-5 Tigers from Houston came to town. The game was supposed to be a laugher, with fan favorite Ben Mills supposed to get some quality minutes with an extended amount of garbage time. Instead, Texas Southern nearly pulled off the upset, forcing the Buffs into two overtimes before succumbing, 85-80.

Northern Arizona hasn’t fared well against Pac-12 competition so far this season, losing at Oregon (83-73) and at Arizona (93-50). None of the four Lumberjack victories – over UC-Davis, Campbell, Sam Houston State, and Montana State – have come over quality competition.

So, if the Buffs don’t overlook Northern Arizona, and take control of the game early, what will the coaches be looking for as the Buffs prepare for Pac-12 conference play?

From cubuffs.com … With conference play looming, Boyle wants more productivity from his bench. In fact, in the final two non-conference games, he says he will “play my bench earlier in both of these games regardless of what’s going on on the floor. It’s time now to do that. We’re not looking past Northern Arizona and Hartford . . . it’s just that I have to do it.”

In a 50-43 win at Fresno State, CU’s bench was outscored 20-3. In the Buffs’ eight wins, their bench has outscored the opposition just three times, which underscores the obvious: the five starters are carrying the scoring load. Freshman Xavier Johnson, averaging 5.5 points, has been the top scoring reserve.

That four of his five starters are his chief point producers – the foursome each is averaging in double figures – is a stat that Boyle doesn’t dwell on.

“I don’t concern myself with that,” he said. “We’ve got guys that can score coming off the bench. It’s just a matter of feeling more comfortable and playing with more confidently. Eli (Stalzer) is a capable scorer, Xavier Talton is, Xavier Johnson is . . . and Shane (Harris-Tunks) can give us a presence down there. I don’t concern myself with those kind of stats.”

Johnson’s 18.2 minutes a game are the most among CU’s reserves, with Stalzer next at 11.1. They are followed by Harris-Tunks (8.8), Talton (7.7) and Jeremy Adams (6.9) on what amounts to a nine-man bench.

Adams’ minutes have been on the upswing since November, but Boyle believes they can still increase.

“You never know with Jeremy how his knee’s going to be or how his energy level is going to be,” Boyle said. “He’s a guy who can bring something to this team, there’s no question with his body and experience level now. But you just never know each day how his body is going to be. It’s just kind of a hit and miss thing.”

Buff Bits

- Colorado is a 19-point favorite over Northern Arizona.

- CU leads the all-time series over NAU, 3-0. Tad Boyle is 5-3 against the Lumberjacks, with all of those games coming as Big Sky Conference games when Boyle was the head coach at Northern Colorado.

- The Buffs are looking to up their record to 9-2. The last time Colorado was 9-2 to start the season was in 1994-94 … but that team ended up with a 15-13 record.

- Junior Andre Roberson is third in the nation in rebounding (12.3 per game), the same place he finished the 2011-12 season.

- With 796 points, Roberson is set to join an elite club. Roberson, who already has 821 career rebounds, will become only the fifth player to have at least 800 points and rebounds (Stephane Pelle, Cliff Meely, Shaun Vandiver, Jim Davis).

- Entering the week, Roberson is first in the Pac-12 in double-doubles (5).

- The best barometer of CU success? Field goal percentage. When Colorado has a better field goal percentage than its opponent, the Buffs are 8-0. When the opponent has a better field goal percentage, the Buffs are 0-2.

- Spencer Dinwiddie, a 6-6 sophomore, has been named to the 2013 Bob Cousy Award watch list. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame came up with a list of 85 candidates for the award that honors the nation’s top point guard. Dinwiddie joins Pac-12 peers Mark Lyons (Arizona), Jahii Carson (Arizona State), Justin Cobbs (Cal), Ahmad Starks (Oregon State), Casson Randle (Stanford) and Abdul Gaddy (Washington).

December 18th

Andre Roberson second Buff to receive Pac-12 Player-of-the-Week honor

From Pac-12.com …  Colorado junior forward André Roberson has been named the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 10-16, the Pac-12 Conference announced Monday.

Roberson tallied his fifth double-double of the season in Colorado’s only game of the week, a 50-43 win at Fresno State. Roberson scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed a career-best 20 rebounds. He shot 7-of-12 from the field with an additional three assists and one steal on the night.

The San Antonio, Texas, native is the first Buff to have 20 boards in one game in more than a decade. His total is the most by a Pac-12 player this season and the most for a Pac-12 player in four years. The first road win of the season moved the Buffs to an 8-2 record, matching its best start since the 2001-02 campaign.

This is Roberson’s first career Pac-12 Player of the Week honor. It is the third all-time selection for Colorado, and the second this season (Askia Booker was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week after winning MVP honors in the Charleston Classic in November). Six weeks into the 2012-13 season, Colorado is the only school in the conference to have multiple Player-of-the-Week honorees.

The Buffs hosts Northern Arizona on Friday, December 21 at 6:30 p.m. MT on the Pac-12 Networks.

December 17th

Chucky Jeffrey ESPN Women’s basketball Player-of-the-Week … and the Pac-12 Player-of-the-Week

From ESPN … Chucky Jeffery has suddenly made the rest of the country notice unbeaten Colorado.

Jeffery, the Buffaloes’ senior point guard, scored 22 points and pulled down seven rebounds Friday as Colorado ran its record to 9-0 with a 70-66 win over No. 8 Louisville in Boulder. It was the Buffs’ first win over a top-10 team since 2002, and helped Jeffery win the espnW national player of the week award.

Against the Cardinals, Jeffery was 6-of-10 from the floor and 8-of-10 from the line, where she can do significant damage if she’s playing her game, driving to the hoop, drawing fouls.

Jeffery, who led the Buffs in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals a season ago, had a bumpy start to the season with a suspension that kept her out of the season opener, but seems to have righted the way. Last Tuesday, Jeffery tallied 14 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists in a win over Denver. She is averaging 4.0 assists per game.

Buffs coach Linda Lappe praised her star’s improvement at the point.

“Chucky’s really developed into a nice point guard. Her decision making, for the most part [Friday] night, was very good,” Lappe said. “She attacked the basket very well. She hit a couple of outside shots. Right now, she’s pretty dynamic in how she scores the ball.”

Lappe also likes what she’s getting from Jeffery, an all-league defensive pick last year, at the other end of the court.

“When she really focuses on it, her defense is tough,” Lappe said. “She’ll have some lapses defensively at times, mostly because she’s played a lot of minutes, and she has to rest somewhere, she has to take a few possessions off. But for the most part, if I can get her some rest, she’s a dynamic defender.”

CU women’s team back in the Top 25

From cubuffs.com … Fresh off its first top-10 victory in more than10 years, the University of Colorado debuted at No. 25 in the Associated Press Women’s Basketball Top 25 poll, released Monday.

Colorado received 99 votes to make its first appearance in the AP poll since a similar No. 25 ranking on Jan. 14, 2008. The Buffaloes are 9-0 after defeating then-No. 8 ranked Louisville 70-66 on Dec. 14. CU’s last win over a top-10 opponent was a 62-59 win over No. 5 Stanford in the 2002 NCAA Sweet 16.

The Buffaloes have a long history of rankings in the AP poll, dating back to the 1980-81 season. This week’s ranking marks the 159th time Colorado has appeared in the AP poll, trailing only Stanford, USC and UCLA among Pac-12 Conference schools. CU had received one vote in last week’s AP poll.

(Note: the CU men’s team does not have as strong a history in the polls. The two weeks the Buffs were ranked this season were Nos. 32 and 33 for the Buffs)

The USA Today Sports Coaches poll will be released on Tuesday. The Buffaloes haven’t been ranked in that poll since April 2004. CU received votes from the coaches poll during the squad’s four-week AP run in 2007-08, but never reached the top 25.

Colorado is one of four teams from the Pac-12 ranked this week, with the Buffs coming in behind No. 1 Stanford, No. 8 Cal, and No. 12 UCLA. Louisville, which had been ranked No. 8 before falling to the Buffs, dropped to No. 14 this week.

Colorado will take to the floor as a ranked team for the first time since January 2008 by hosting Utah Valley on Saturday, Dec. 22, at 1:30 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.

December 12th – at Fresno           Colorado 50, Fresno State 43

Junior forward Andre Roberson had a career-high 20 rebounds to go with 17 points to lead Colorado to a 50-43 victory over Fresno State. Askia Booker contributed 14 points, with Josh Scott going for 11 points and eight rebounds as Colorado posted its first true road victory of the season.

Colorado entered its game  against Fresno with a 36-point loss to Kansas on their minds, and an 0-2 road record on their resume.

The Buffs did not start off well, with a shot clock violation on their opening possession, but Spencer Dinwiddie took a charge to get the ball back. Andre Roberson, for the third straight game, opened the scoring for the Buffs, but Fresno State answered with a three-pointer, briefly taking a 3-2 lead.

Two missed free throws by Askia Booker were forgotten when Andre Roberson got the rebound and scored to put the Buffs back into the lead. A few moments later, a drive by Booker led to a dunk by Josh Scott gave the Buffs an early 6-3 lead.

Roberson made one of two free throws to up the lead to 7-3, which was answered by the Bulldogs’ first two-pointer of the game three minutes in. Colorado 7-5. Askia Booker, who had been struggling of late, then hit a basket to give the Buffs a 9-5 lead at the first break.

Askia Booker hit two free throws to give the Buffs a six point lead, which was met by a layup on the other end of the floor, then a jumper after a CU miss. 11-9, Colorado. The Buffs’ fifth turnover of the first seven minutes of play gave Fresno State the opportunity to tie the game, but the Bulldogs couldn’t convert. A Shane Harris-Tunks basket followed, restoring a four point lead for the Buffs at the under 12 timeout. Colorado 13, Fresno State 9.

Out of the timeout, Xavier Johnson made one of two free throws, with the freshman being called for a foul at the other end. The Bulldogs made both of their free throws to pull Fresno State to within three at 14-11 at the ten minute mark of the first half.

Andre Roberson collected his fifth rebound and his seventh point a few moments later, giving Colorado a five-point lead, 16-11, at the under eight break. The Buffs were doing well from the field, making 6-of-11 (no three point attempts), while holding Fresno State to 26% (4-of-15).

The Buffs sixth turnover of the first half did not hurt the Buffs, as another defensive rebound by Andre Roberson (his seventh of the first half) led to a layup by Josh Scott, who missed his opportunity for a three point play (making the Buffs 4-for-9 from the free throw line). A seven point lead was all but erased by two straight three pointers by the Bulldogs, 18-17, Colorado.

A Roberson steal, moving him into tenth place on the all-time list with 124, followed by a Roberson layup, stopped the 6-0 run by the Bulldogs. Still, the lead was only three, at 20-17, with five minutes to play in the first half.

Josh Scott, with an offensive rebound and a layup after a Sabatino Chen miss, gave the freshman six points for the game, and a 22-17 lead. Booker then hit a three-pointer, the Buffs’ first of the game, extended the Buffs’ lead to eight, with three minutes left before halftime. Timeout, Fresno State. CU 25, Fresno State 17.

Roberson collected his tenth rebound of the first half, with Josh Scott connecting on a 14-footer, upping the lead to double digits for the first time. Colorado 27, Fresno State 17, with just under two minutes to play in the first half.

Neither team was able to get the ball in the basket late in the first half, with the Buffs ending the half on a 9-0 run.

Halftime score: Colorado 27, Fresno State 17.

Fresno State entered the game in the top 20 in the nation in scoring defense, and looked to keep the Buffs under their 72-point average. At the half, the Bulldogs were well on their way to meeting that goal.  The problem for Fresno State was that the Bulldogs were on their way to only 34 points for the game.

Andre Roberson, Josh Scott and Askia Booker made up almost all of the Buffs’ attack in the first half. Roberson collected nine points and ten rebounds, Scott eight points and five rebounds, and Booker seven points two rebounds and two steals. Those three accounted for 24 of the Buffs’ 27 points, with Shane Harris-Tunks (two points) and Xavier Johnson (one point) the only other Buffs in the scorebook. Spencer Dinwiddie, the Buffs’ leading scorer, had no points – but four turnovers – in the first half.

Turnovers were a focus for Tad Boyle coming into the game, especially after the Buffs committed 18 turnovers against Kansas. But the Buffs were not responding well against the Bulldogs, having turned the ball over nine times in the first half.

The Colorado defense, though, was having a good game, holding Fresno State to 25% shooting (6-of-24) overall and from behind the arc (3-of-12). The Buffs had the edge on the boards (19-13), and had 16 points in the paint to only four for Fresno State.

An offensive foul on Josh Scott opened the second half, denying Scott a made layup. Fresno State scored on its first possession of the second half to end the Buffs’ 9-0 run, cutting the lead to eight points. An offensive foul on Sabatino Chen – turnover No. 11 – gave Fresno State the chance to cut the lead further, and the Bulldogs capitalized with a made jumper. Colorado 27, Fresno State 21.

A Colorado miss was followed by a layup by FSU and a foul on Askia Booker. The three point play was completed on the free throw, and the ten point halftime lead, in just two minutes of playing time, was down to three.

Yet another miss, this time by Booker, gave Fresno State the chance to tie, but the Bulldogs did not convert. Then it was Xavier Talton’s turn to miss a jumper, but Roberson rebound No. 11 was followed by Buff turnover No. 13. Four minutes into the second half, the Buffs remained without a point. Colorado 27, Fresno State 24.

To open the second half, the Buffs had four turnovers, four fouls, four missed shots … and no points. A turnover by Xavier Johnson was followed by Johnson’s third foul – and the Buffs’ fifth foul of the first five minutes. The Bulldogs made one of two free throws to extend the run to 8-0. Colorado 27, Fresno State 25.

Andre Roberson scored the first points of the half for the Buffs with 14:48 to play in the game. A put back by Fresno State included a foul by Jeremy Adams – the sixth of the second half to none for Fresno State - which led to a three-point play, and the Buffs were down to a one point lead at 29-28.

A Roberson miss gave Fresno State its first chance at a lead since the score was 3-2, but the Bulldogs missed on their next possession. A miss by Josh Scott gave the Bulldogs another chance at the lead, but rebound No. 13 by Roberson gave the Buffs the ball back. A missed dunk by Josh Scott gave Fresno State chance No. 3, and the Bulldogs finally made the Buffs pay. A basket with a foul on Roberson (team foul No. 7 against Fresno State in the first eight minutes of the second half) gave Fresno State a three-point play opportunity, which was missed, but the Bulldogs had their first second half lead. Fresno State 30, Colorado 29.

A foul on Fresno State, at the 11:57 mark, was the first for the Bulldogs in the second half. At the under 12 break, the Buffs still trailed, 30-29.

Josh Scott was fouled on the Buffs’ first possession after the timeout. The 6’10″ freshman made both free throws to give the Buffs back the lead, and giving Scott 11 points.  A miss on a three-pointer gave Andre Roberson the chance to pick up rebound No. 16. At the other end, Josh Scott was again fouled, with Scott making one of two free throws. Colorado 32, Fresno State 30.

At the ten minute mark, the teams were where they started, with a Fresno State basket tying the game at 32-all. Askia Booker then made his second three-pointer of the game to give the Buffs a 35-32 lead. The run became 5-0 after a missed three-pointer by Fresno State led to a slam dunk by Andre Roberson, then a 7-0 run after a Sabatino Chen layup following a Bulldog turnover.

Timeout, Fresno State. Colorado 39, Fresno State 32.

Sabatino Chen scored his second basket in a row, and his second in succession, to make the lead nine with 7:26 to play. Colorado 41, Fresno State 32.

An illegal screen became the fifth straight foul on Fresno State (after the Buffs opened the half with seven straight called fouls). The Buffs were then called for a shot clock violation even though a Dinwiddie shot had hit the rim. A review of the replay caused a stopage of play with 6:24 to play, but the ball was still given to the Bulldogs, the Buffs’ 16th turnover of the night.

The Fresno State drought continued, though, but Xavier Johnson was then called for his fourth foul. The Buffs’ 9-0 run was ended by one of two free throws by the Bulldogs. CU 41, Fresno State 33.

Roberson collected a career-high tying 17th rebound on the offensive end, putting the ball back in to give the Buffs their ten-point lead from halftime back. 43-33 Colorado.

A foul on Roberson, his third, stopped the clock with 3:42 to play, and the Buffs nursing a ten-point lead. At the break, the Buffs had nine team fouls, to six for Fresno State, which meant that the Buffs – 7-of-14 from the free throw line – would be facing three straight one-and-one opportunities when fouled down the stretch.

The Bulldogs hit one of two free throws, with Askia Booker answering with a layup to give the Buffs their largest lead of the game, at 45-34, with 3:22 to play. A three-pointer by Fresno State at the three minute mark gave the home crowd some hope. Colorado 45, Fresno State 37.

After a timeout, the Buffs turned the ball over for the 18th time, with Fresno State making it a 45-39 game with a jumper with 1:59 still to play.

The Buffs ran down the shot clock, but two shots failed to fall, giving Fresno State the ball back. The Bulldogs then called a time out with exactly one minute to play. With the shot clock running down, Fresno State hit a 15-footer, pulling the Bulldogs to within four. The run was now 7-0, Fresno State, with the CU lead cut to 45-41.

Andre Roberson was fouled, but he missed the free throw. A layup by Fresno State made it a two point game with 29 seconds to play. A 45-34 lead was all but gone. Colorado 45, Fresno State 43.

Spencer Dinwiddie, who was scoreless for the game, was then fouled with 18 seconds to play. Dinwiddie then hit one of two, but Andre Roberson collected rebound No. 20, and was immediatley fouled with 17 seconds to play.

Roberson, one-of-three from the line on the night to that point, had the chance to give the Buffs a two-score lead. Roberson made the all-important first free throw to give CU a four-point lead, then made the second. Colorado 48, Fresno State 43.

A three-point attempt was Fresno State’s last hope, but the Bulldogs missed. Askia Booker was then fouled with six seconds to play.

Booker then made both free throws. Game over.

Final score: Colorado 50, Fresno State 43.

 ”You know, if you looked up ‘winning ugly’ in the dictionary in today’s world you would probably see a youtube video of this one,” said Tad Boyle. “You have to find a way to win when you don’t play your best, and we obviously ran into that in the second half. We had two points I think, what, in the first eight minutes or nine minutes, whatever it was. We were dribbling it off our feet, we were missing point blank layups, we didn’t play our best, obviously, but we found a way. Before the game we talked about how we wanted to see progress in our defensive field goal percentage and our rebounding. We were plus seven on the boards, and we held them to 29 percent (field goal percentage); it was our best defensive performance all year, so that’s progress.”

The Buffs finished their three road games in four outings with a 2-2 split. “Like I said after the Texas Southern game when we went into this stretch, we could be 6-4; but were not, were 8-2,” said Boyle. “And I told our team, it is a good time to reflect on what has gone on, learn from what we need to learn from, but also look forward and get better”.

The Buffs would have time to reflect. With finals week upcoming, the Buffs were now off until Friday, December 21st, a home date against Northern Arizona.

Buff Bits -

- The road victory was the first true road win since taking down Utah, 55-48, in the 2012 regular season.

- Andre Roberson’s 20 rebounds marked the 17th time in CU history that a Buff had posted 20 or more rebounds, but the first in over a decade (Stephane Pelle had 21 v. Stetson in 2002). Roberson’s efforts were, though, the first 20-rebound game in a road game in almost 52 years (Roger Voss had 27 at Missouri in February, 1961).

- The Buffs committed a season-high 18 turnovers for the second game in a row.

- The victory marked the first road victory for the Buffs in December in three seasns under Tad Boyle (1-2).

- Askia Booker, who had been struggling, scored 14 points against Fresno State. Spencer Dinwiddie, who had been the leading scorer for the Buffs, was 0-4 from the field, and had five turnovers. Dinwiddie’s only point came on a free throw in the final minute of the game, giving the Buffs a three point lead with 17 seconds to play.

- The Buffs’ struggles from the free throw line continued, as CU hit only 12-of-21 free throws for the game (57%).

- The Buffs out-rebounded Fresno State, 40-33, with Andre Roberson collecting exactly half of the Buffs’ rebounds.

—-

 Buff  Bits – Preview of Colorado v. Fresno State

- Coming into the game against CU, Fresno State is 5-4 on the season, including a close road loss to Texas, 55-53, in the season opener. In the Bulldogs’ most recent game, played Sunday in Pullman, Fresno State lost to Washington State, 59-50. None of Fresno State’s five victories are against BCS opponents.

- Last season, Fresno State was 13-20 overall, 3-11 in conference play. The 20 losses include a 71-64 loss to Colorado in a December game played in Boulder.

- The Bulldogs are led by junior guard Allen Huddleston, who is averaging 12.2 points per game. The inside threat is 6’8″ forward Kevin Foster, who is averaging 7.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

- Want a stat to track during the game? Against Colorado State, the Buffs committed only seven turnovers. Three days later, the Buffs committed a season-high 18 turnovers in a blowout loss to No. 9 Kansas.

- Colorado is 2-1 against Fresno State at home, but lost the only other time the Buffs traveled to Fresno. an 80-70 loss in 1974.

- With his next steal (No. 119), junior Andre Roberson will join the top ten on the all-time list at CU. Roberson is already in the top four in blocked shots (123), top five in rebounding (801), and top 50 in scoring (779).

- Colorado is one of only six BCS conference schools to play three or more true road games in non-conference play this season.

- After tonight’s game, the Buffs will be off for finals, resuming play with a home game next Friday night (Dec. 21st, 6:30 p.m.) against Northern Arizona from the Big Sky Conference.

December 11th – Colorado seeks first road victory at Fresno State

What would the reception have been like for the CU men’s basketball team had the Buffs taken Fresno State’s football coach, Tim DeRuyter? …

From cubuffs.com … Winning road games has been a long-standing challenge in Colorado men’s basketball – and the challenge still stands.  It’s what this CU team finds confronting it as the 2012 non-conference schedule trickles toward a close.

The Buffaloes need, really need, a true road win. They are 0-2 after losses at Wyoming and Kansas, with chance No. 3 – the last chance before Pac-12 Conference play begins next month – presenting itself Wednesday night at Fresno State (8 p.m. MST, AM 760).

The Buffs are young, but coach Tad Boyle has repeated nearly on a weekly basis since mid-October that youth won’t be an excuse for whatever befalls his third CU team. His young players apparently are picking up on that.

“Last year we weren’t a great road team either and we had a lot of veterans,” said sophomore guard Askia Booker. “I think it’s just a mental thing; we have to believe in each other and take initiative and responsibility on the road. Yeah, that’s easy at home, but once we’re on the road and everybody turns against you, we kind of fall apart.

“This Fresno State trip is very important to us. If we can’t win at Fresno it’s going to be a bumpy road when we get to the Pac-12. We just have to take accountability, get better and get ready. We have to win our first road game. We can win at home against anyone, but this road game is very important. It’s a must win.”

Wednesday night’s game comes on the heels of the worst loss in CU’s Boyle era. On Saturday, the Buffs were overwhelmed at No. 9 Kansas, losing by 36 points (90-54). If Boyle wished to play the youth card, he could have and no questions would have been asked. CU’s true freshmen and sophomores went numb in the frenetic Allen Fieldhouse environment against a KU lineup stocked with seniors. The Jayhawks’ experience and the Buffs’ lack thereof in that setting were apparent from the opening tip. Things turned ugly early and stayed that way.

“We got overwhelmed, we had the deer-in-the-headlights look,” Boyle said. “Once it starts going downhill in that building, it’s hard to stop.”

After that kind of blowout, some coaches prefer to move forward quickly and opt not to revisit the game via tape. Not Boyle. “It’s a big mistake not to watch that kind of defeat,” he said.  “We talked about it, but that thing has got to hurt. Our team has to understand there’s a reason why that happened. And it’s our job as a coaching staff is to figure out what those reasons are . . . we still have a young team and by turning the page and moving on, it’s saying that’s OK. We’ll treat that loss like any loss.”

Junior forward Andre Roberson said casually dismissing the KU debacle was “not going to be easy,” but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “What was it, 40 points?” he asked. “I think that was the worst I’ve ever lost by in anything. Everybody else on the team feels the same way. We’re holding that in the back of our minds; we need to remember that every time we go on the road – that feeling and never have it again.”

The tale of the KU tape revealed poor shot selection, missed opportunities to take charges, unforced turnovers (18 total) and a lack of effort in boxing out. Said Boyle: “We want to control the things we can control. We can’t always control the ball going in the basket, so we’d better control what we can. Pressure breaks pipes and they busted ours to pieces.”

After scoring only six points in each of the two games preceding the KU trip, Booker shook loose for 15 against the Jayhawks. But he hit only five of his 15 field goal attempts and went one of six from three-point range. He wasn’t satisfied with his shot selection, and neither was Boyle.

He called the next two games “beyond important for me. I haven’t been shooting the ball the way I want to shoot. I’ve been taking a lot of contested shots and I haven’t been getting to the free throw line. These are things over these next two games that you’re going to see me work on – shot selection, getting to the free throw line more and getting my teammates shots. Coach talked about selfishness (Sunday) during the film; we’re almost dead last in the country in assists. We have to get better at that.” (At 9.7 assists per game, the Buffs are tied for 317th among 345 NCAA teams.)

Fresno State (5-4) is coming off a weekend loss at Washington State (59-50). The Bulldogs are 2-1 at home, having lost to Long Beach State (69-61) in late November. Junior guard Allen Huddleston is the only Bulldogs player scoring in double figures (12.1 points a game).

Fresno State signed one of California’s top players – 7-foot center Robert Upshaw – in its last recruiting class. He’s averaging 6.2 points and 3.8 rebounds coming off the bench. The Bulldogs’ leading board man is 6-8 junior Kevin Foster, whose points and rebounds averages are identical (7.2).

Booker said the Buffs’ road success hinges on them developing a more rugged mindset: “We’re not as tough as we think we are. Just coming together as a team is important for us; we don’t come together quite yet on the road.”

December 8th - at Kansas           No. 9 Kansas 90, Colorado 54

The 2012-13 Colorado Buffs traveled to Lawrence hoping to wake up the echoes … of Jay Humphries and Vince Kelley.

The last time Colorado upset Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse was in 1982-83, when Jay Humphries led the Buffs to a 75-74 upset. It was a true upset – the 1982-83 team went into the game having lost its previous four games, and would go on to post a 3-11 record in Big Eight play.

The 2012-13 Buffs wanted to make a little history of their own against Kansas (and then hopefully post a much better in conference play), but the Buffs played like the Buffs of old, rolling over in a 90-54 rout. The No. 9 Jayhawks won for the 45th time in the last 46 meetings with Colorado, bringing back less-than-fond Big 12 memories for the Buff Nation.

Kansas, which came into the game with a 25-game home winning streak, started the game against Colorado as if No. 26 would be easy. A first possession layup by the Jayhawks was followed by one-of-two free throws by Andre Roberson.

A 2-1 edge for the Jayhawks … which would become the theme for the afternoon.

A three-pointer by Kansas was followed by a steal and another basket. Kansas 7, Colorado 1, two minutes into the game.

A double dribble by Spencer Dinwiddie was followed by another three-pointer by Kansas, then another turnover by the Buffs. Kansas opened four-for-four from the field … before the Buffs had their first field goal attempt. Kansas 10, Colorado 1.

Askia Booker finally gave the Buffs their first field goal attempt and make three minutes in, but another turnover led to a break away dunk. Kansas 12, Colorado 3. Time out, Buffs.

The Buffs’ leading scorer, Spencer Dinwiddie, picked up his second foul at the 16 minute mark, leaving a team which was struggling without its best option. Two more baskets by Kansas made it look ugly … Kansas 16, Colorado 3.

A steal and a layup pushed the lead to 15, as the Buffs struggled to even get off a field goal attempt.

A tip-in by Josh Scott broke the drought, but another layup for the Jayhawks offset Scott’s points. A three-pointer by Askia Booker made it 20-8, but Kansas was not concerned. The Jayhawks made one of two free throws – about the only miss for Kansas in the first seven minutes, and followed that up with a dunk. Kansas 23, Colorado 8.

After another dunk, the lead was 25-8. At the under 12 time out, Kansas was shooting 73% from the field (11-of-15), while Colorado was at 33% (3-of-9). The Buffs had eight points in the first eight minutes … and seven turnovers …

Two free throws by Kansas were then offset by a basket by Josh Scott, finally getting CU into double figures at the 10:47 mark. A free throw by Scott completed the three-point play, but 27-11 was nothing to be excited about. The Buffs’ 10th turnover of the first half led to two free throws by the Jayhawks, restoring an 18-point lead.

Spencer Dinwiddie, who sat out for seven minutes with two fouls, hit a jumper upon his return. A free throw by Ben Adams gave the Buffs a modest 3-0 run, which reached five points after a Josh Scott short jumper. At the under eight break … Kansas 29, Colorado 16.

Kansas made 11 of its first 15 shots, then missed six in a row to give the Buffs a chance at making the score respectable. Askia Booker hit a floater to cut the lead to 11 after the break, but a Kansas layup stopped the CU run at seven. Kansas 31, Colorado 18.

A traditional three-point play pushed the lead back up to 16, and, after yet another CU turnover, Kansas hit a layup to raise the score to 36-18. Yet another layup raised the lead to 20, after a 9-0 Kansas run. 38-18, with four minutes to play. Timeout, Colorado.

A short hook by Josh Scott, giving him seven first half points, got the Buffs up to 20 with 3:12 to play before halftime. A free throw and a dunk by the Jayhawks more than doubled up the Buffs at 41-20, with Josh Scott answering for the Buffs with a short jumper.

In the last minute of play, two free throws by Kansas were answered by … two missed free throws by Xavier Johnson.

That about summed up the first half for the Buffs.

Halftime score: No. 9 Kansas 43, Colorado 22.

Colorado had 17 rebounds in the first half, to 14 for Kansas.

So much for positive stats.

The most telling statistic at the half  - 12 CU turnovers (to one for Kansas), leading to 22 Jayhawk points. Kansas was hitting 50% of its shots, but that number was held down only because the Jayhawks were 2-of-12 from three-point range in the glorified scrimmage.

Colorado was led by Josh Scott, who had half of the Buffs’ points with 11 on 5-of-8 shooting, but the other Buffs were suffering. Leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie, hobbled by a turned ankle and two fouls, had only two shots and two points. Askia Booker was at seven points (an improvement on the six points scored against Wyoming and Colorado State), but Andre Roberson was 0-for-4 from the field, with only one point in the first half.

The second half opened with a dunk by Kansas (another high percentage shot), giving Kansas its largest lead, at 23 points. That was up to 26 a minute later after a three-pointer, then 28 after a layup.

So much for a CU comeback. Kansas 50, Colorado 22. Timeout, Colorado.

After another dunk by Kansas, Askia Booker finally stopped the bleeding almost four minutes into the second half, scoring the Buffs’ first second half points with a jumper. A layup by Kansas was followed by Andre Roberson’s first basket of the game, a three-pointer. At the under-16 break, Kansas had twice as many points as Colorado, 54-27.

A wide open three upped the Kansas lead back to 30, with Josh Scott answering with his first basket of the second half. A pair of free throws by Kansas was followed by Andre Roberson being blocked on a dunk attempt. Another Kansas layup made the lead 32, with Xavier Johnson then being called for an offensive foul, then another foul on the defensive end, giving him four. Yet another Kansas layup (sensing a theme here?) pushed the lead to 34, with a dunk (yes, another dunk) making the lead 36 … Kansas 65, Colorado 29.

A free throw by Xavier Johnson – giving him one point to go with his four fouls – was met by a three-pointer by Kansas. With 11:59 to play in the game, every possession seemed to give the Jayhawks another new ”largest lead of the game”. Kansas 68, Colorado 30.

A Xavier Talton steal and layup gave Colorado ten points in the second half, but the lead was 38 again after two free throws by the Jayhawks. A layup by Kansas briefly raised the lead to 40, before Josh Scott got a layup to make it 72-34. Two straight baskets by Kansas made it a 42-point lead.

Spencer Dinwiddie made a pair of free throws to give the Buffs 36 points, but then Shane Harris-Tunks air-balled a free throw to give the Jayhawk fans something else to laugh at … followed by an air-balled three point attempt by Xavier Talton.

The CU basketball team was, for the first time in recent memory, taking on the characteristics of the CU football team.

Andre Roberson made up for two missed free throws with a steal and a dunk to give him six points to go with nine rebounds. A Josh Scott jumper gave the Buffs its first “run” of the second half, which was extended to an 8-1 point run with two Askia Booker free throws and a Booker jumper.

A three-pointer by Kansas pushed the Jayhawks up over 80, with the lead 82-45. A Booker airball was rebounded and put in by Xavier Talton, with Booker hitting two free throws to get Buffs to “within” 35 points at the under four break … Kansas 82, Colorado 49.

Roberson scored on a layup with three minutes to play, but another three-pointer by Kansas stopped the CU run.

Then Josh Scott scored on a layup with two minutes to play, but that was followed by another Kansas three-pointer. Kansas 88, Colorado 53.

A free throw by Eli Stalzer got him into the books, with Kansas walk-on Tyler Self - son of Jayhawk coach Bill Self – getting the final points on a jumper with five seconds to play.

The Jayhawks’ coach got to smile at his son’s made basket, but no one on the Colorado bench was laughing …

Final score: No. 9 Kansas 90, Colorado 54.

“We got our (butt’s) kicked in every form, fashion and way you can do it,” said Tad Boyle. “There is just no other way you can put it. There is no other adjective to describe it; we just got whooped in every way shape or form, mentally, physically. (Kansas) has had a week off, and you can tell they have been working. They came out here hungry, tougher than us, and we didn’t handle it well. And, right now I think it is safe to say, the (Colorado) Buffaloes are not a good road team. I think we are a good home team, I think we are a good neutral court team, but we are not a good road team and we better get that figured out between now and next Wednesday (at Fresno State). I take responsibility as a coach, I give our guys a lot of freedom, and with freedom comes responsibility. So, what I’ve learned when going on the road, is that we have to take some of that freedom away from them; whether that is shots, or dictating who goes where on the court, but we’ve got a lot of work to do between now and next Wednesday. And, it is not going to happen overnight, but we’ve got to make some changes, because what we are doing ain’t working.”

Buff Bits -

As you might expect, the stats sheet was ugly.

Freshman center Josh Scott had the best day amongst the Buffs, with 19 points. Askia Booker, held to six points in both of the previous two games, had 15 … but on 5-of-15 shooting.

Andre Roberson had 11 points, but only eight points, breaking his double-double streak at four games. Spencer Dinwiddie, who had 24, 24, and 29 points the previous three games, had only four on one-of-four shooting.  For the game, the Buffs were at 37% from the field, 15% (two-of-13) from behind the arc, and a poor 57% (12-of-21 from the free throw line).

Four Jayhawks were in double figures, led by 24 points by Ben McLemore, with 16 for Kevin Young.

- Tad Boyle fell to 0-4 against his alma mater.

- The Buffs committed a season-high in turnovers (18) and lowest in points (54).

- The 54 points were the lowest for the Buffs since the first round of the 2012 Pac-12 tournament (a 53-41 victory).

December 7th – Buffs look to break 28-game losing streak in Allen Fieldhouse

Preview – Colorado at No. 9 Kansas – ESPN2 (Saturday – noon MT)

Yes, friends, you read that right.

Colorado has lost 28 straight games to Kansas in historic Allen Fieldhouse, dating back to a 75-74 victory in 1983 (ironically, CU head coach Tad Boyle was a sophomore on the last Jayhawk team to lose to the Buffs at home).

This season, the 7-1 Buffs have at least a puncher’s chance (11-point underdogs) against the Jayhawks. Kansas is 6-1, ranked No. 9 in the nation, and doesn’t usually lose at home.

That trend has continued under coach Bill Self. Now in his 10th season, Self is 148-7 in Allen Fieldhouse, with his most recent loss coming on Jan. 22, 2011 against Texas (74-63). KU was 16-0 at home last season and is 3-0 at home this season. The Jayhawks’ 25-game home court winning streak is tied for the longest in the nation.

The Jayhawks feature four players in double figures, topped by 6-5 redshirt freshman Ben McLemore’s 14.9 point average. The other three top scorers are seniors: 7-0 center Jeff Withey (14.6 points, 8.1 rebounds), 6-6 Travis Releford (13.1) and 6-4 Elijah Johnson (10.0). KU has outrebounded its opponents by an average of 37.7 to 34.1 this season and has held them to 58.9 points a game on 35.3 percent field goal shooting.

If possible, Boyle wants to reduce the minutes logged by Dinwiddie, Roberson and Askia Booker. Against CSU, Roberson was at 37 minutes, Dinwiddie at 36 and Booker at 33. “I’m playing Spencer, ‘Ski’ and Andre too many minutes,” Boyle said. “I want to cut that down, but in big games, those guys are going to have to play.”

That means on Saturday, that trio’s minutes aren’t likely to decline. Booker, the tournament MVP in CU’s run to the Charleston Classic title, has scored six points – season lows – in each of the past two games. Still, against the Rams, Boyle said Booker didn’t allow his offensive woes to contaminate his overall game as he did in the 76-69 loss last weekend at Wyoming.

“He defended (CSU guard) Dorian Green very well,” Boyle said. “He got over screens and pressured him . . . that’s progress. We all know he’s a good shooter. He’ll be fine. As long as it doesn’t affect the other end, he’ll be OK.”

Boyle, who is 0-3 against KU, is intrigued by how his team will respond Saturday.  “It’ll be interesting to see,” he said. “Allen Fieldhouse is a pretty special place and our guys will be dialed in. The thing I like about our team is that they’re pretty competitive and they like challenges.

“But it’s going to make Wyoming look like a cakewalk in terms of the atmosphere, the number of people and the decibel level. We’re going to have to grow up . . . Kansas is Top Ten (No. 9) and they’re a good basketball team, a good program. It’s a big opportunity.”

Buff Bits

- Colorado is 7-1 on the season, the best opening record since 2005-06, when the Buffs opened 10-1 on their way to a 20-win season and an NIT bid.

- Spencer Dinwiddie has posted 20 or more points in three straight games, the first Buff to do so since Alec Burks went five straight games with over 20 points in 2011.

- Spencer Dinwiddie, Askia Booker, and Andre Roberson are accounting for 76% of CU steals this season; 75% of assists; 60% of blocks; 59% of scoring and 51% of rebounding.

- Colorado committed only seven turnovers v. CSU. The Buffs are 9-3 under Tad Boyle when committing seven turnovers or less in a game.

- Dating back to the 2002-03 season, Kansas has won 18 in a row in the series. The Jayhawks lead the series 122-39, with a 61-7 edge in games played in Lawrence. The Buffs are 0-3 against the Jayhawks under Tad Boyle.

- Only Ben Mills and Andre Roberson were on the roster the last time CU played in Lawrence. In that 2011 game, No. 1 Kansas easily handled the Buffs, 89-63.

- In an oddity in today’s game, Kansas not only has four seniors on its team, it has four senior starters.

Program Note … Remember that you can follow CU at the Game Saturday afternoon for live in-game updates, notes, and comments …

December 5th – Boulder          Colorado 70, Colorado State 61

Colorado basketball certainly has one clear advantage over Colorado football … the students are on time to the game.

Make that early. For an 8:30 p.m. tip-off, the students showed up, and showed up with plenty of time to spare. A full 40 minutes before the start of the game against Colorado State, the student section was filled. Here’s a shot of the largest crowd (11,708) to ever watch a Buff game at the Coors Events Center (photo courtesy of Rob Thompson):

Sold out CEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As was the case against Wyoming, the Buffs started the game featuring Andre Roberson. Against Wyoming, it was a Roberson three-pointer. Against Colorado State, it was a jumper from the free-throw line and a dunk after a steal. A banked-in three by Askia Booker gave Colorado a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes.

A Sabatino Chen layup with 17:07 left gave Colorado a 9-0 lead … and a time out for Colorado State.

At the 15:15 mark of the first half, Colorado State posted its first points of the game … after opening the rivalry game missing its first eight shots from the floor. A pair of free throws by Shane Harris-Tunks restored the nine point lead, which rose to 13 a few seconds later after a Dinwiddie jumper and an Andre Roberson dunk after yet another steal. Colorado 15, Colorado State 2.

A three-pointer by Colorado State after a pair of offensive rebounds quieted the crowd. After a CU turnover, a layup by the Rams gave CSU fans something to cheer about for the first time all night. Still, at the under 12 break, CU still had the lead, 15-7.

Another CSU three-pointer after a Dinwiddie turnover gave CSU an 8-0 run, cutting the lead to 15-10. Buckets by Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott, though - both assisted by Dinwiddie – pushed the lead back up to nine points, 19-10, bringing about another Ram timeout.

Dinwiddie then hit a three-pointer to give Colorado a 7-0 run of its own, countered by a three by the Rams. A sixth straight field goal make by the Buffs – on another Dinwiddie score – pushed the lead up to 24-13. A layup by Andre Roberson doubled up the Rams, 26-13. A goal-tending call gave CSU a basket, but at the under eight break, the Buffs had a 26-15 lead.

The Buffs were on fire from the field, with Andre Roberson going four-for-four and Spencer Dinwiddie three-for-three in leading the Buffs to 65% shooting percentage.

Two Roberson field goals gave him ten points, and CU a 28-15 lead. Shane Harris-Tunks got a basket at the 6:45 mark to raise the CU lead to 15 at 30-15. A Dinwiddie three, giving him ten points, upped the lead to 18. A few moments later, a frustrated Ram, center Colton Iverson, was given a technical foul for arguing a call. Spencer Dinwiddie made both free throws, giving the Buffs a 20-point lead, 35-15 – a 9-0 run after the goal-tending basket for the Rams.

A dunk after an offensive rebound – the Rams’ seventh – ended the drought for CSU, but Dinwiddie answered with a three-pointer – giving him eight points in a row for the Buffs. At the under four timeout, the scoreboard read: CU38, CSU17.

Xavier Johnson got a layup to give the Buffs 40 points, and a 25-7 run. Another layup basket for the Buffs, by Shane Harris-Tunks, made the new score like a CU football game (only the other way around) – 42-17.

A CSU basket with under a minute to play was followed by Spencer Dinwiddie’s first miss of the game … and a CSU three-pointer. A modest five-point run by the Rams gave CSU fans some hope.

Some.

Halftime score: Colorado 42, Colorado State 22.

Colorado had almost doubled up the Rams on the scoreboard … and on the score sheet. The Buffs were shooting 59% from the field; the Rams 30%. Colorado was making two-thirds of its three-point attempts (4-of-6), while Colorado State was making one-third (4-of-12). The Rams were out-rebounding the Buffs, 16-13, and had nine offensive rebounds … the only positive stat for Colorado State in the first half.

The 42 points were a first half best for the Buffs for the season (41 v. Air Force), led by Spencer Dinwiddie with 15 points and Andre Roberson with 10. Pretty much everything was going CU’s way at the break.

The celebration of a big win over the Buffs’ “little brother”, though, would have to wait.

The Rams, who started five seniors, did not go away quietly. A dunk, two free throws, and a layup to open the second half extended CSU’s overall run to 11-0  … and cut the CU lead to 42-28. A Dinwiddie free throw stopped the run, but one point for CU was off-set by a floater by the Rams. 43-30, Colorado.

A Dinwiddie three-pointer at the 17 minute mark gave Colorado its first basket of the second half, but the Rams responded with a layup. Colorado 46; Colorado State 32.

Another Dinwiddie three-pointer gave him a five for the night, and restored order for the moment. Colorado 49; Colorado State 32, at the first television timeout.

Colorado State next connected on a three-pointer, then a layup by Iverson. A 5-0 run by the Rams cut the lead to twelve with 14 minutes still to play – 49-37.

The Buffs, trying to take time off the clock, were stymied on offense. A basket by CSU extended the Ram run to 7-0, and cut the Colorado halftime lead in half.

Timeout, Colorado … CU 49; CSU 39.

Colorado was relying too much on Dinwiddie – who had all seven of the Buffs’ points in the second half in the early going - but it was Dinwiddie to the rescue again, with a layup on CU’s first possession after the time out, raising  the lead back up to 12 points.

Two free throws for the Rams cut the lead once again to ten, with Xavier Johnson then missing two free throws at the other end. At the under 12 minute break, the lead was ten … 51-41. The Buffs, who made 60% of their shots in the first half, opened the second half making 25% – three-for-12.

Xavier Johnson was fouled again on the Buffs’ next possession. After a made free throw, Xavier Johnson missed the second. No problem – an offensive rebound and layup by Andre Roberson gave the Buffs a 13-point edge, 54-41.

The Buffs had a chance to take control on their next possession, but an airball on a three-pointer by Roberson was followed by a short jumper by the Rams. Xavier Johnson then missed a three-pointer, and the Rams, after a bank shot, were back under ten points, at 54-45, for the first time since the score was 22-13.

Two free throws by the Rams cut the lead again, to 54-47, making the 11,708 fans on hand – at least the black-and-gold contingent – nervous.

A missed free throw on the front end of a one-and-one by the Buffs gave the Rams the opportunity to cut the lead yet again, and a lob score made it a five point game – 54-49. A miss by Askia Booker – 1-for-10 from the field to that point – was followed quickly by yet another open jumper by the Rams.

What had been an insurmountable 25-point first half lead was now all but gone. Colorado 54, Colorado State 51.

Spencer Dinwiddie – the only offensive threat for the Buffs – then made only one of two free throws, pushing the lead to 55-51. A steal by the Buffs was followed by a layup by Askia Booker, and suddenly the lead was back up to six, 57-51.

Then it was Josh Scott’s turn. After another Ram miss, Scott pushed through a layup on an offensive rebound, and the lead was back up to eight.

One-of-two free throws by CSU stopped the 5-0 Buff run, which was answered by two free throws by Spencer Dinwiddie. At the under four break, Colorado had a nine point lead – 61-52.

A Sabatino Chen layup as the shot clock was running out gave Colorado an 11-point lead on the Buffs’ next possession. Thereafter, defensive stops by the Buffs helped to run clock – after getting to within three points, the Rams missed their next five shots.

A free throw by the Rams cut the lead to ten, but the clock was now under two minutes. Two more free throws by CSU made it an eight point game – 63-55 – with 90 seconds left.

It was now up to the Buffs to make free throws.

Andre Roberson, who posted his fourth straight double-double on the night (15 points, 14 rebounds), then missed two free throws. It was still a game when the Rams missed a layup. Shane Harris-Tunks was fouled, with the junior making one-of-two. Colorado 64, Colorado State 55.

With the clock under a minute, Colorado State made one of two free throws on their end to cut the lead to eight. Askia Booker was then fouled, but Booker could not put the game out of reach, missing both free shots, leaving the Buffs at 12-for-23 from the line at the time (CU would finish 18-of-31 for the game).

A CSU turnover led to another foul of Booker, who made one of two. On the second miss, Andre Roberson did what Andre Roberson does – gather up an offensive rebound. Roberson was immediately fouled, making only one of two. After a CSU turnover, Spencer Dinwiddie, who finished with a career-high 29 points, then made two free throws to seal the victory.

A few seconds later, Roberson made two more free throws before the Rams made a three-pointer at the buzzer to close the final to within  ten points.

Final score: Colorado 70, Colorado State 61.

“What an atmosphere for college basketball, the crowd was a record crowd, which is a testament for our fans and our program and how they have stepped up,” said CU head coach Tad Boyle. “It feels really good after coming back from Laramie after a disappointing loss. I have told some people that the disappointing thing about the game in Laramie was not our players, but it was all of the people that drove up there and took time out of their busy lives and spend money on gas, and we let them down. Tonight, we told our guys we are playing for more than ourselves, this is a big game. I thought it was a NCAA tournament type game going into it and we beat a good basketball team, one that is well coached. They are going to win a lot of games this year.”

The Buffs almost let a 25-point lead evaporate, but Boyle thought that the Rams’ comeback would be a good learning experience for his young Buffs. “Again, with youth, you are going to see inconsistency and that is what you saw with our team tonight,” said Boyle. “Now we were playing against a team with five seniors, that is a veteran group we just played, and with young guys they are going to get rattled sometimes. I thought this game at home was key, what we have to understand is that we have to keep that same mentality and mindset on the road so that when teams go on runs and the crowd gets into it on the road we are mentally tough enough and we execute. Youth is not going to be an excuse for us this year. My expectations for these freshen might be a little out of whack because I want them to play like juniors and seniors, the growth needs to continue to happen. Experience is the best teacher.”

Colorado State, which came into the game leading the nation in rebounding differential (plus 17.3) did win the rebounding battle, snaring 42 rebounds (18 offensive) to just 30 for the Buffs. Otherwise, the stats sheet favored the 7-1 Buffs over the 6-1 Rams. Colorado held Colorado State to just 35.6% shooting on the game – 30% in the first half. Center Colton Iverson got his stats, 19 points and 14 rebounds, but CSU sharp-shooter Wes Eikmeier was only 1-for-7 from three-point range, and only 3-for-15 from the field overall.

The Buffs were led by Spencer Dinwiddie’s career-high 29 points, with his five three-pointers tying a career high. Andre Roberson was his usual double-double self, with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Next in the scoring column was Shane Harris-Tunks, who had perhaps his best game of the season, going for seven points on two-for-three from the field and three-of-four from the line.

Buff Bits

- The 11,708 on hand set a record for home attendance for Colorado. The previous record was for a game against Kansas in 2001 (11,363).

- The win moved the Buffs’ overall edge in the series with the Rams to 87-36, including a 52-8 record in games played in Boulder. CU has now won 16 of its last 17 home games against “little brother” CSU.

- Colorado improved to 36-4 in home games under Tad Boyle, and played before its 12th home game in Boyle’s three seasons (10-2 in those games).

- Colorado made six three-pointers on the night (five by Spencer Dinwiddie), extending a streak of 308-straight games with at least one three-pointer (dating back to January 19, 2002).

 

CU women’s team get the evening off to a great start with big win over CSU women

The Colorado women’s team ran their season record to 7-0, dominating CSU72-46. The Buffs raced out to a 37-17 halftime lead, and were never seriously threatened during the game.

Four Buffs were in double figures, led by Brittany Wilson, with 13. Jen Reese and Jamee Swan each contributed 11, while Arielle Roberson, who has won the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award three times in four weeks this season, chipped in ten points and six rebounds. In all, nine Buffs scored on an evening when the only question was the final point spread.

Colorado held Colorado State to 28.6% shooting from the field, and out-rebounded the Rams, 54-23.

Up next for the undefeated CU women’s team is a date with the Denver University. The Pioneers have a 3-4 record, but who own a win over Oregon. That game will be Tuesday, December 11th, in Denver. If the women’s team can survive that game, the following game, at home on Friday, December 14th, will be a true test … No. 8 Louisville will be coming to the CEC.

If you want to plan ahead … After the Louisville game, the Buffs will play will play some warm up games against Utah Valley and New Mexico, before starting their Pac-12 conference schedule.

The openers?

Both at home, January 4th and 6th … against No. 1 Stanford and No. 11 Cal.

We should have a pretty good idea of how the CU womens’ team rates nationally in the next month or so …

CU/CSU a “Blackout” game

CU’s men’s basketball game tonight against Colorado State (8:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) is a sell-out, and is a double-header with the women’s game. The Colorado women, 6-0 for the second consecutive season, will tip-off their rivalry game against the CSU women’s team at 5:50 p.m. The CSU women’s team is 2-4 on the season, and have lost their last three games. In last year’s game in Ft. Collins, the CU women’s team won handily, 72-53, so for Buff fans heading over to the CEC a little early tongiht, there should be plenty to cheer about …

Note … For those of you new to CU at the Game coverage of men’s basketball (which is understandable, as it’s only been up for ten days – ten very busy days for the Buff Nation), feel free to check in with the website during the game, where I will be posting continuous updates and a running commentary  …

December 4th

A Preview – Colorado v. Colorado State (Wednesday, 8:30, Pac-12 Networks)

Wednesday night, the Colorado Buffs will try to put a frustrating 76-69 loss to Wyoming last Saturday behind them, and take out their frustrations on a very good Colorado State Ram team. The Rams are 6-0 on the young season, and are ranked right behind the Buffs in the “others receiving votes” group of teams in this week’s polls.

The biggest problem for the Buffs? Avoiding the same situation the Buffs faced against Wyoming. Last Saturday, Cowboy post Leonard Washington “beasted” the Buffs – a favorite Boyle term – in the Cowboys’ 76-69 win. Translation: Washington singlehandedly wore out CU inside with 24 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals. “His warrior mentality – that’s what we were lacking,” Boyle said. And don’t even suggest that his young post players were too green to combat the muscular 6-7 senior. “Youth is not an excuse,” Boyle said. “Our youth has to grow up and it better be quickly – especially our interior youth.”

And CSU? They are even more talented inside than Wyoming … CSU’s inside players – particularly 6-10 Colton Iverson and 6-5 Pierce Hornung - are very good. Hornung is averaging 12.0 rebounds a game, Iverson 11.2. As a team, the Rams lead the NCAA in rebound margin per game (plus 17.3). Let’s try that one again: As a team, the Rams lead the NCAA in rebound margin per game (plus 17.3). In that department, they are what Boyle wants from the Buffs. “We thought Wyoming’s post guys were good, these cats are that good and then some,” Boyle said.

On Sunday night, when he showed his players the tape of the loss in Laramie, he called the session “embarrassing,” mainly because the Buffs didn’t respond in the second half (they led 28-26 at intermission) and Washington had his way with them, literally outmanned them.

On Monday, Boyle put the Buffs through one of their more physical practices, with plenty of work taking charges, going to the floor for loose balls, and going against dummy-wielding managers in the lane.

“We can’t beat people with our coolness,” Boyle said. “We have to beat people with our grit and determination, our toughness and our rebounding, our defense. If that’s not our identity, then we’re in for some rude awakenings.”

Senior Sabatino Chen agreed with Boyle’s critique of the Wyoming tape: “Yeah, it was (embarrassing) for us, our fans, anyone who watched us. Our aggression on ‘D’ was off . . . I don’t know exactly why. Maybe it was the first road game and once we got a couple of fouls, maybe guys got a little hesitant and it went from there. We couldn’t pick ourselves up like we should have done, but we’d never been in that situation all year. We didn’t react well to it.”

Buff Bits -

So, some good news for Buff fans to take into Wednesday night’s game …

- Colorado leads the all-time series against Colorado State, 86-36;

- The Buffs lead the rivalry in games played in Boulder, 51-8, including 15 wins in the 16 games played in the Coors Events Center;

- Andre Roberson is 12th in the nation in rebounding (11.1); 22nd in double-doubles (3);

- The crowds against Wofford (10,611)  and Air Force (10,607) were third and fourth on the all-time list for non-conference games. The record for non-conference games was set in 1991 (11,291 v. Wyoming in a 1991 NIT game). The all-time record for attendance at the CEC was 11,363 v. Kansas in a 2001 game. Both records may be in jeopardy Wednesday night.

December 3rd

Colorado falls out of AP top 25 poll

Well, it was nice while it lasted …

Colorado spent two weeks in the Associated Press top 25 poll, joining the poll for the first time since 1997, and for the first time in November in 43 years.

The Buffs received 44 votes, good enough for 33rd in the poll. Arizona, the only Pac-12 school ranked this week, came in at No. 8. The Oregon Ducks were above the Buffs in the “others” category, with enough votes to be ranked 29th.

The Buffs’ opponent Wednesday, Colorado State, is tied for 39th place in the latest poll, tied with CU’s last opponent, Wyoming

December 1st – at Wyoming           Wyoming 76, No. 19 Colorado 69

In its first true road game of the season, the 7-0 Colorado Buffs reminded their fans that they are still a young team, falling to Wyoming, 76-69. Senior center Leonard Washington dominated inside, scoring 22 points on 9-for-17 shooting. Spencer Dinwiddie had 24 points to lead the Buffs, and Andre Roberson had a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds), but it was not enough to prop up the Buffs on a night when Colorado committed 17 turnovers, and leading scorer Askia Booker went 2-for-13 from the field.

Colorado opened the game against Wyoming with Andre Roberson doing what Andre Roberson does best. The junior rebounding machine had three rebounds in one possession before hitting a (rare) three-pointer to give the Buffs an early 3-0 lead.

By the first television break, Colorado had as many turnovers as points, had yet to take a field goal attempt from inside the arc, and trailed 6-3. A 7-2 run by the Buffs, though, restored the lead for CU. Wyoming answered with a three-pointer by the Cowboys’ Josh Adams (from Chapparel high school in Colorado) to give Wyoming an 11-10 lead.

Midway through the first half, the Buffs were dominating on the boards, but turnovers were a problem. The Buffs had nine rebounds (five offensive) to five total for the Cowboys. However, the Buffs also had five turnovers, with the net result being a 14-12 deficit.

A Dinwiddie jumper tied the score, but a second three-pointer by Adams gave Wyoming a 17-14 lead. The Buffs’ freshman Eli Stalzer completed a traditional three-point play to tie the game for a fifth time, 17-17.

With 7:22 left in the first half, Andre Roberson picked up his second foul on a charge, sitting down with his seven points and four rebounds. Center Josh Scott already had two fouls, giving the Buffs a disadvantage in height for the remainder of the half.

A lob to Xavier Johnson gave Colorado a 19-17 lead after both teams went cold for two minutes, and turnovers (Colorado 8, Wyoming 6) became the order of the day. A short jumper by Wyoming tied the score again with four minutes left in the half, with Xavier Johnson getting a layup to give the Buffs the lead back, at 21-19, at the under four break.

A free throw by Wyoming was offset by a jumper by Jeremy Adams, giving Colorado a 23-20 lead. A second foul by Xavier Johnson put a third tall man for the Buffs on the bench for the remainder of the half, and the Cowboys took advantage, with two layups by Leonard Washington giving Wyoming the lead, 24-23.

A three-pointer by Spencer Dinwiddie stopped the bleeding, but yet another layup by Washington tied the score.

At the other end, though, Spencer Dinwiddie made a jumper and was fouled, but was unable to complete the three-point play.

Halftime score: Colorado 28, Wyoming 26.

At the half, the Buffs were led by Spencer Dinwiddie and Andre Roberson, each with seven points and four rebounds. The Buffs, who liked to score from the free throw line, were only one-of-two in the half, while Wyoming was four-of-eight.

Colorado did hold Wyoming to only two-of-11 from three-point range in the first half, a departure from the previous two games, when Air Force and Texas Southern had a hot first half from behind the arc.

Two troubling statistics for Tad Boyle at halftime: First, the Buffs already had nine turnovers in the game. Second, Colorado’s three main post players, Andre Roberson, Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson, all committed two first half fouls, with each sitting out for the final few minutes of the half.

The second half started off much the same way as the first, with both teams taking turns seizing the momentum. Josh Adams hit a three for Wyoming to give the Cowboys a 29-28 lead, with Andre Roberson hitting his second three to give the Buffs the lead back.

Two basekets by Wyoming was offset by a Roberson layup, tying the score at 33-all.

A free throw by Josh Scott gave the Buffs a brief lead, but a three-pointer and a layup gave Wyoming its biggest lead at 38-34. Moments later, Sabatino Chen picked up his fourth foul, and matters looked bleak for Colorado.

Two free throws by Xavier Johnson stopped the 5-0 run by the Cowboys, but another layup by Wyoming restored the four point lead. Spencer Dinwiddie, hit a three-pointer, keeping the Buffs close. A free throw and another layup by Leonard Washington, giving him 14 points, gave Wyoming a 43-39 lead at the under 12 break.

Two free throws after the timeout – as Colorado was already over the limit – gave Wyoming its largest lead, at 45-39. A three-pointer by Spencer Dinwiddie – the only offense for the Buffs – halved the lead, but yet another layup by Washington, to go with a free throw, restored the six point edge, 48-42, with ten minutes to play.

A three-pointer by Derrious Gilmore prompted a Colorado timeout, with the Buffs now facing a nine-point deficit, 51-42, with 9;20 to play.

An Andre Roberson layup ended a 6-0 run by Wyoming. After a turnover, Dinwiddie was fouled shooting a three, with the sophomore hitting two of three to cut the lead to five. A long three by Gilmore gave the home crowd of over 8,000 reason to cheer … Wyoming 54, Colorado 46, at the under eight break.

Two free throws by Josh Scott were offset by one free throw by Wyoming. Andre Roberson then hit two free throws to raise his total to 16 for the game to make it a five point game with six minutes to play.

A desperation three-pointer by Leonard Johnson at the expiration of the shot clock was a dagger, giving Wyoming an eight-point lead. A dunk by Spencer Dinwiddie quieted the crowd for the moment, by the score was still against the Buffs, 58-52.

A free throw by Wyoming was followed by an offensive foul against Andre Roberson, then a home run pass for a layup. Just like that, it was a nine-point game once again. Askia Booker, who was one-for-ten on the night from the field, missed again. At the under four break, Wyoming had the ball, and every reason to believe that the game was theirs. Wyoming 61, Colorado 52.

Senior Leonard Washington then schooled the younger Buffs, first by collecting an offensive rebound and calling a time out on a scrum on the floor, then by hitting a baby layup and collecting a foul on freshman Josh Scott. The three point play gave Wyoming its largest lead, 64-52, with less than three minutes to play.

The “over-rated” cheer followed the Buffs the rest of the game, as Colorado fans were left to deal with a sixth straight loss to the Cowboys.

It was ironic when Askia Booker hit a three-pointer, giving him six points … on 2-for-13 shooting.

The Buffs’ 17th turnover of the night led to Sabatino Chen’s fifth foul, and more free throws for the Cowboys.

Four Cowboys hit double figures on the night, but only Spencer Dinwiddie (24 points, six rebounds) and Andre Roberson (16 points, 12 rebounds) had nights worthy of mention, as the Buffs lost in their first true road game of the 2012-13 season.

Final Score: Wyoming 76, Colorado 69

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why we lost this game,” said CU coach Tad Boyle, citing an assist-to-turnover ratio (11 assists for the Buffs, but 17 turnovers) that continues to disappoint, 14 layups allowed (seven in each half) and his team permitting Wyoming to shoot 52 percent in the second half of a game that the Buffs led by two (28-26) at intermission.

Continued Boyle, who watched his team lose for the first time this season (6-1) and only the second time in its last 13 games: “I’m disappointed in our execution in the second half. We have to get better in a lot of different areas.”

The Cowboys’ 6-7 Leonard Washington scored a team-high 22 points – most of them inside as Wyoming outscored CU 30-24 in the paint. The unbeaten Cowboys (8-0) also turned the Buffs’ 17 turnovers, which tied the season high, into 20 points.

The Buffs were whistled for 27 fouls to the Cowboys’ 13, a disparity that Boyle believes worked too much on some of his players’ psyches.

“It’s going to happen,” he said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to overcome that. They can get frustrated and bitch about it all they want – it doesn’t change things. The way you do that is with mental toughness and not let it get in your head, get you out of your game.”

Boyle also pointed to a hustle play made by Washington midway through the second half that he believed epitomized the night for the Buffs. It occurred when the Cowboys began pulling away with an 11-3 run. Washington went to floor for a loose ball, corralled it and called time out. Meanwhile, five CU players bent at their waists and poked at the ball.

“He out-scrapped us and got it,” Boyle said. “He ‘beasted’ us last year (16 points in a 64-54 Wyoming win). What you saw with Leonard Washington was a senior who was playing his last time against a team like Colorado that was in the Top 25. He wanted this game . . . he took four or five charges himself. It was in the scouting report.”

The Buffs, said Boyle, failed to play hard, smart or together: “We’ve got guys who have to change their identities from offensive players to defensive players, defensive players to rebounders, screeners, passers – and then let the offense come to you . . . we’ve got a lot of guys on this team who can put the ball in the basket. Not just Josh, Ski, Spencer, Andre – guys coming off the bench can (score). But our mindset right now is not a collective one, not what it needs to be.”

Buff Bits

- Colorado is now 6-1 on the season, failing to become the first Buff team to open the season 7-0 since the 1982-83 season (a team which finished 13-15).

- Colorado has now lost seven consecutive games to Wyoming (sorry, Brad!), and trails 42-35 in the series (but CU does lead the football all-time series, 24-2-1).

- A stat to keep an eye on: in the first six games of the season, all victories, Colorado had a better shooting percentage from the field. Against Wyoming, the Buffs shot 41.4% from the field, while the Cowboys shot 48%.

- Spencer Dinwiddie’s 24 points matched his career high … set Tuesday against Texas Southern.

- With his 12 points, Andre Roberson became the 54th player in CU history to score 750 points. With his two steals, Roberson moved past Stephane Pelle (1999-03) for 13th-place on that all-time list (113).

- Roberson’s double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds) was the 28th double-double of his career. The Buffs are 22-6 when Roberson posts a double-double in a game.

… Colorado will next play Wednesday night, taking on 6-0 Colorado State in Boulder. The game will tip-off at 8:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks) as part of a double-header with the CU women’s team, who are also taking on the Rams (a tip of the cap to the 6-0 women’s team, which defeated Illinois on the road Saturday afternoon). The Buffs will then take to the road, taking on Kansas on Saturday (noon, ESPN2).

 

November 30th

Preview … Colorado a three-point underdog against Wyoming

Colorado is 6-0 for the first time since the 1989-90 season. Colorado is ranked 19th in the nation, the highest national ranking for the Buffs since 1997.

Here’s guessing Wyoming is not impressed.

The Cowboys own an 18-game non-conference home win streak and have beaten the No. 19 Buffaloes five straight times heading into Saturday night’s matchup between these unbeatens.

Wyoming (7-0) is off to its best start since going 11-0 to begin the 1987-88 season. Colorado is 6-0 for the first time since 1989, and is trying for its first 7-0 start since 1982-83.

The Cowboys haven’t lost at home to a non-conference foe since a 68-62 defeat to Green Bay on Dec. 22, 2010, and the Buffaloes will be playing their first true road game.

“Laramie, Wyoming is not an easy place to play,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “It will be like other teams that come here and play at 7,000 feet. They are going to have the advantage and the altitude, we are going to have to overcome that.”

Wyoming won matchups between these teams in 1997, 1998, 2006 and 2007 before this series resumed last Dec. 9, with the Cowboys traveling to Boulder for a 65-54 victory.

“Wyoming will be a great test,” said Buffaloes guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who scored a team-high 16 points in last season’s meeting. “Wyoming is a team that came in here and beat us last year, they are a little bit different but we are going to even higher altitude and I heard they are pretty solid, so this should be a fun test for the team to get a true road game.”

The Buffaloes felt fortunate after winning 85-80 in double overtime at home Tuesday over a Texas Southern team that entered with a 1-5 mark. Colorado shot a season-low 39.0 percent. Dinwiddie scored a season-high 24 points while leading scorer Askia Booker had 15 on 4-of-15 shooting.

“There is no question that at the end of the game this will help us get better,” Boyle said. “We needed maybe this to wake us up a little bit going into Wyoming.”

Booker was a freshman reserve last season when he had nine points — close to his average of 9.1 — against Wyoming. He’s averaging 16.8 points this season and was named tournament MVP in helping the Buffaloes win last month’s Charleston Classic.

Cowboys top scorers Leonard Washington (14.1 points per game) and Luke Martinez (13.3) combined for 30 points in last season’s matchup. Martinez scored 17 points as Wyoming cruised to a 68-40 rout at UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday. The blowout caused Washington to finish with season lows in minutes (24) and points (nine).

“The whole crew really played well collectively at both ends of the floor tonight,” coach Larry Shyatt told Wyoming’s official website. “That’s unique and doesn’t always happen on the road or at home.”

Sophomore starting guard Riley Grabau was limited to three minutes because of knee problems. Grabau’s status for Saturday is unclear, although he may have incentive to play because he grew up in Boulder and was asked by Boyle to walk on at Colorado before Wyoming offered him a scholarship.

Buff Bits

- Wyoming leads the all-time series, 41-35, with a 25-11 advantage in games played in Laramie.

- When the Cowboys beat the Buffs last December, the loss snapped a 25-game consecutive non-conference home game winning streak for the Buffs, the second-longest streak in school history (the Buffs won 35 consecutive non-conference home games between 1976-81).

- Colorado has not won in Laramie since 1996.

- Tad Boyle is 0-2 all-time vs. Wyoming, with the other loss coming when he was the head coach at Northern Colorado.

- CU’s next four games (three on the road) are against teams with a combined record of 20-4 (Wyoming 7-0; Colorado State (home) 5-0; No. 10 Kansas 5-1; Fresno State 4-3).

- This is the first true road game the Buffs have played under Tad Boyle in December. CU in December the past two seasons is 11-2 overall, including a 1-1 record on neutral courts.

- Colorado has two buses going to the game, carrying with them over 100 Buff fans.

 

November 27th

No. 19 Colorado 85, Texas Southern 80, 2OT

No. 19 Colorado used an 11-0 run to start to the second half to tie its game against Texas Southern, then a 9-1 run to start the second overtime to finally pull away, earning a hard-fought 85-80 victory over Texas Southern.

Spencer Dinwiddie led the Buffs with 24 points, with most of those points coming on a 16-for-18 night from the free throw line. Freshman center Josh Scott had 18 points, to go with 12 rebounds. Andre Roberson posted his second double-double of the season, with 11 points and 12 rebounds,

9 Responses to “CU Above the Rim – December”

  1. Rob

    Not only will the Buffs be playing against the Jayhawks on Saturday, but also the referees. Why does KU have such an advantage at home? Hmmm, could those referees play a part? Don’t expect the Buffs to draw the fouls that they would on a neutral court. Interesting note, that Texas team that last beat the rock chalks at home by 9 points on 1/22 came into Boulder on 2/26 and got beat. Go Buffs!

  2. iriebuff

    Fantastic addition to your already stellar site. Thank you!

  3. Rob Thompson

    The football team needs to give an incentive to the fans that will entice us to show up on time. A mbb ticket is also a womens ticket. The seats were full at tipoff tonight. Way to go Buff fans! CSU was clearly at a disadvantage because of it.

  4. jw blue

    maybe WY is the real deal but you sure cant tell it by the teams they have played thus far this year. Biggest row of tomato cans I have seen for some time

  5. BuffLady

    Just wanted to let you know I really am enjoying CU At The Rim. Lots of great info, keep up the good work.

  6. Rob Thompson

    I was at the game. These kids are the real deal. There are 3 maybe 4 future NBA Superstars on that team. This was supposed to be a retooling year, can you imagine how good they are gonna be next year?

  7. My wife and I spent Thanksgiving week in Fort Collins visiting our son and future daughter-in-law. We went to Friday’s CU/Utah game. During the first half they interviewed Coach Boyle down on the field (right in front of us in the north end zone). When I went to CU in the latter half of the 80′s no one talked about the hoops team – or gave a rat’s arse for that matter about what went on at the Events Center. Coach Boyle received a sustained, hearty ovation and at every mention of the basketball team by the stadium announcer the crowd in attendance erupted in applause.

    We’re a hoops school now!

  8. WarBuff

    Thanks for the bball updates!

  9. Xman

    Also good to note that somehow CU is #1 in RPI with Air Force #3, way to early for it to mean anything, but probably one of the only times in History CU is ranked #1 in RPI. cbssports.com


Copyright 2014 cuatthegame.com - Website design and development by BridgeWorks