CU Above the Rim


January 29th

CU recruit has buzzer beater waved off

Guess Jaron Hopkins is learning – the hard way – what it’s like to be a Buff …

From … Gilbert boys basketball coach Jay Caserio knew Friday night’s Division I matchup against Mesa Dobson would be a tight one, but no one could predict an ending this dramatic.

With 1.1 seconds remaining in the game and Gilbert leading by a point, Dobson’s Jaron Hopkins (a CU commit) caught a long pass from center court and laid in a last-chance, buzzer shot from underneath the basket. No sooner did the visiting crowd erupt than was bucket was called off, with officials saying it didn’t beat the buzzer.

The controversial call meant victory for Gilbert, which defeated Dobson for the second time in two weeks, winning 58-57 Friday at home.

“To be honest with you I think that should have probably been a bucket there at the end,” Caserio said. “I think it was kind of stolen from them.”

Oregon star likely out for CU game next Thursday

From CBSSportsline … Oregon freshman point guard Dominic Artis will miss at least the next two games with a foot injury.

Ducks head coach Dana Altman said Tuesday on SiriusXM’s Inside College Basketball that Artis, who is nursing a foot injury, has been ruled out of this week’s trip to the Bay Area.

“He’s out this week for sure,” Altman said. “My guess is he’ll miss anywhere from three to five games.”

Artis is averaging 10.2 points and 3.8 assists this season. Oregon is 18-2 and in first place in the Pac-12 with a 7-0 mark.

After traveling to play Stanford and Cal this weekend, the Ducks will host Colorado next Thursday, February 7th.

CU women remain ranked in both polls despite losses

Following competitive losses to a pair of top 10 teams, the University of Colorado remained at No. 23 in the USA Today Sports Women’s Basketball Coaches poll released on Tuesday.

On Monday, Colorado slid two spots to No. 22 in the Associated Press Women’s Basketball Top 25 poll.

Colorado, 15-4 overall and 4-4 in the Pac-12 Conference, received 64 points in the coaches’ poll, down from 113 last week. The Buffaloes have been in the coaches’ poll for three-straight weeks and four overall this season. The current No. 23 ranking, held for the last two weeks, is Colorado’s highest spot in the coaches’ rankings since coming in at No. 16 in the March 15, 2004 poll. This week’s ranking marks the 155th time Colorado has appeared in the coaches’ poll dating back to the 1988-89 campaign.

Colorado received 205 points in the AP poll, down only 75 from last week. The Buffaloes have resided in the AP poll for the last seven weeks, reaching as high as No. 20 twice – Dec. 31 and Jan. 21. CU’s seven-week run in the AP poll is its longest since appearing in all 19 polls of the 2003-04 season. 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 165th time Colorado has appeared in the AP poll, trailing only Stanford, USC and UCLA among Pac-12 schools.

All four losses of Colorado’s losses this season have been to league rivals Stanford and California, ranked No. 7 or better in each meeting. After this weekend’s games, Stanford moved up two spots in the AP poll to No. 4 and one in the coaches’ poll to No. 5. California moved up one spot in both polls to No. 6. The Buffaloes do have one top 10 win on their resume, a 70-66 win over then-No. 8 Louisville on Dec. 14. The Cardinals are currently ranked No. 12 in both polls.

Colorado will play its third-straight ranked opponent with a visit to No. 18 (AP)/19 (USAT) UCLA on Friday, Feb. 1, at 9 p.m. MT. The Buffaloes will conclude their four-game California swing at USC on Sunday, Feb. 3, at 10 a.m. MT. Both contests will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

January 27th – Boulder          Colorado 81, California 71

Askia Booker scored 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting, while Xavier Johnson posted his first career double-double (18 points, 12 rebounds) to lead the Buffs to an 81-71 victory over California.

The Buffs raised their record to 14-6, 4-4 in Pac-12 play in a game in which Andre Roberson and Josh Scott sat out much of the first half with foul trouble. Held to three points and zero rebounds in two minutes of play in the first half, Roberson nonetheless wound up with 15 points and five rebounds. Spencer Dinwiddie had 16 points, with eight of those points coming in the final minute in 8-for-8 free throw shooting to preserve the Buffs’ lead.

What do you do when your two top rebounders are saddled with foul trouble?

Play tremendous team defense.

Coming off of a 20-rebound performance against Stanford, many eyes were trained upon Andre Roberson as the game against Cal tipped off. But Roberson collected zero rebounds before leaving the game early in the first half with two fouls.

At the eight minute mark, center Josh Scott also collected foul No. 2.

A problem? Not at the outset.

The Buffs had a 5-3 lead when Roberson committed his second foul barely two minutes into the game. When Scott went out with his second foul, the lead was up to 21-9. To the rescue of the big men came the guards, with freshman Xavier Johnson scoring ten points (to go with eight rebounds) and Askia Booker scoring 13 to lead Colorado to a 34-18 halftime lead.

Even without the big men inside, the Buffs still had a 24-14 rebounding advantage at the half, holding Cal to 21% (7-of-34) shooting, including 0-for-7 from three-point range. Allen Crabbe, the Pac-12’s leading scorer at 19.9 points per game, was held to four points on one-of-seven shooting from the field.

The 18 points for the Bears was a season-low in points, so the Buff Nation knew it was going to be tough to continue that domination. Cal posted its first three-pointer of the game and posted two layups after turnovers to put together a 7-0 run in the first minute and a half to cut the 16-point lead to nine. Timeout, Colorado. 34-25, with the Buffs having posted three turnovers and no points before the timeout.

Xavier Johnson, the hero of the first half, stopped the bleeding with a layup on the Buffs’ next possession, but that was soon erased with a jumper by Cal. Andre Roberson made one of two free throws to push the lead back up to ten, 37-27, at the under 16 break.

A Spencer Dinwiddie layup was offset by a short jumper at the other end. Roberson was then left alone for a layup for the Buffs, but that score was countered by a three-pointer by Cal to cut the lead to nine. A putback by Josh Scott gave CU three straight successful possessions, but a turnover by Roberson led to another opportunity for Cal. A steal by Josh Scott, though, led to a three-pointer by Askia Booker and a 14-point lead.

Two jumpers by Cal reduced the lead back down to ten at 46-36, but Sabatino Chen hit a rare three-pointer (his sixth of the season) to push the lead back up to 13 at the under 12 break, 49-36.

Allen Crabbe, held to four points in the first half, made it 15 out of the break with two jumpers, offset by a jumper by Eli Stalzer. Two free throws by Roberson restored a 13-point lead, up to 16 on a traditional three-point play by Roberson. After an offensive rebound by Sabatino Chen led to a layup by Xavier Johnson, Stanford head coach Mike Montgomery had to call timeout.

Colorado 58, Cal 40, with nine minutes to play.

Three baskets by Cal – two of them dunks – was countered by two baskets by Andre Roberson, pushing his point total to 15. At the under eight break, the lead was the same size as the halftime lead, 16 points … Colorado 62, Cal 46.

Cal scored on a jumper, but Spencer Dinwiddie hit a long range three to push the lead to 17. Two three-pointers by Crabbe gave him 21 points, forcing Colorado to call a time out with four minutes to play, 65-54, Colorado.

Xavier Johnson, enjoying the first double-double of his career, hit two free throws to push the lead back up to 13, but a traditional three point play by the Bears cut the lead to ten with three minutes to play.

Xavier Johnson and Crabbe traded baskets before the Buffs turned the ball over for the 20th time. The Bears was unable to convert, with Askia Booker again pushing the lead back to 12 with a jumper. Crabbe again scored, giving him 19 second half points, to cut the lead to ten with two minutes to play.

A pullup jumper by Booker gave him 20, but a three-pointer by Cal cut the lead to single digits.

But now only one minute remained, and it was time for CU to hit free throws.

Spencer Dinwiddie hit two free throws to raise the lead back up to 11, but a three-pointer cut the lead to eight. Dinwiddie again hit two free throws, but Cal scored again with 30 seconds to play.

Spencer Dinwiddie to the rescue again. Dinwiddie made it six-for-six in the last minute, restoring a ten point advantage. A dunk by Cal was offset by – wait for it – two more free throws by Spencer Dinwiddie.

Final score: Colorado 81, California 71

Cal stars Justin Cobbs (22 points) and Allen Crabbe (21 points) got theirs, but the Buffs held the Bears to 41% shooting overall. Meanwhile, the Buffs connected on almost 60% of their shots (28-for-47), including 7-of-15 from behind the arc. Even free throws went down for the Buffs, who hit on 18-of-22 (thanks in no small part to Spencer Dinwiddie going 8-for-8 in the final minute).

The Buffs were led by Askia Booker, who had 20 points, followed by Xavier Johnson with 18. With Andre Roberson sitting out 18 minutes of the first half with two fouls, Johnson stepped into the void, collecting 12 rebounds for his first career double-double. Roberson, despite his limited playing time, finished with 15 points and five rebounds.

“You shoot 59 percent at home you should win,” said Tad Boyle. “But obviously the 20 turnovers, and letting them score 53 points in the second half … We let Crabbe and Cobbs – who are both great players – get heated up in the end. I am proud of our guys, we beat a good, solid Cal team, but there are some areas that we’re not as good as we wanted them to be if we want to go on and beat really solid teams.”

The Buffs are back to .500 in league play, but Boyle is not satisfied. “The thing is when we were 1-4, all we wanted was to get to 2-4, we are all about the next game,” said Boyle. “The fact that we are .500, given the fact that we were 1-4 is really a positive sign. But we’re not happy about being 4-4. We have to win the next game and keep scratching and clawing and move our way up.”

Buff Bits –

– In sweeping the northern California teams, the Buffs trailed for only 36 seconds all weekend, falling behind 2-0 in the first minute of play against Cal.

– Colorado wore gray uniforms for only the second time all season, the first coming against CSU.

– The Sunday afternoon crowd for the Cal game was 10,132, the eighth game over 10,000 in ten tries at home this season. The Buffs have now drawn over 100,000 for the season(102,897), with five home games remaining. Last season, the Buffs drew 117,060 in 15 home games, and that total was a new school record (breaking the record set in Year One of the Tad Boyle era).

– The 16-point halftime lead (34-18) was the biggest of the year in Pac-12 play, topping the 15-point lead at halftime against Stanford.

– The Buffs shot 81.8% from the line (18-22), a season best. The Buffs made their last 13 free throws, including Spencer Dinwiddie’s 8-for-8 in the last two minutes.

– Colorado now leads the series with Cal 11-10, with an 8-1 mark in games played in Boulder.

– CU’s record of 14-6 is tied for the 8th-best record after 20 games in school history. It is also the exact same record of the Buffs in Tad Boyle’s first two seasons.

– Askia Booker had his second 20-point outing of the season (23 v. Murray State). He matched his career-best four three-pointers.

– Despite playing only 22 minutes, Andre Roberson scored 15 points, but was held to a season low five rebounds.

– Xavier Johnson set career highs for points (18) and rebounds (12). Previous highs were 17 points (Northern Arizona) and eight rebounds (Wofford).

January 27th – at Stanford        No. 6 Stanford 69, No. 20 Colorado 56

The CU women’s team faced a No. 6 Stanford women’s team which had only lost one conference home game in 12 seasons.

The Buffs couldn’t make it number two.

Colorado rallied from a 21-point deficit early in the second half, scoring twelve straight points to get back into the game with ten minutes to play, but could get no closer than seven points down the stretch, eventually falling to the Cardinal, 69-56.

Freshman Jamee Swan led the Buffs with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while senior Chucky Jeffrey added 13 points.

The Buffs out-rebounded the Cardinal, 34-28, but could not overcome 18 turnovers.

The Buffs fell to 15-4 on the season, with all four losses coming to Cal and Stanford. If the CU women can get past another tough weekend on the road – against No. 19 UCLA and resurgent USC (8-11, but 5-3 in Pac-12 play), the schedule gets much easier. The 15-4 Buffs are still on pace for over 20 wins, a top 25 finish, and their first NCAA appearance since 2004.

January 26th

Preview – California at Colorado

From … After one of those rare occasions when he saw his Colorado basketball team turn in a complete game, Tad Boyle was prepared only to savor the moment – not the rounding of any corners.

On Friday, starting with Andre Roberson’s bravo board work, there were plenty of moments to savor from the previous night’s 75-54 rout of Stanford. The Buffaloes delighted their coach with a full 40-minute win in which they exhibited the rebounding – ‘Dre’ collected 20 of CU’s 48 – and defense that Boyle wants nightly. There also was overall toughness against a physical opponent, an element that’s been lacking.

But as for that game offering a sign that poorer past efforts won’t be repeated, Boyle won’t go there. Asked how many more wins it would take to persuade him to say the Buffs had turned a corner, he laughed and answered “(win) 11 more games . . . I don’t know the answer to that. I feel like defensively we’ve got three great outings in a row. But UCLA shot 52 percent on us (in a 78-75 CU loss), so doesn’t mean I’m going to stop worrying about it.”

Still, with California visiting the Coors Events Center on Sunday (1:30 p.m., FSN; KOA AM 850), the Buffs appear to be evolving into the type of outfit Boyle wants. In their last three games – two of them ‘W’s – they have outrebounded all three opponents and kept each under 40 percent shooting from the field.

That’s Boyle’s recipe for winning. Couple it with the intensity the Buffs showed against the Cardinal, keep that tough edge intact, and they might be onto something as February approaches.

“That’s the challenge,” Boyle said. “We talked about putting a 40-minute game together – that’s hard enough. Once you’ve done that, you’ve got to put a season together. Maybe I’m getting greedy, but that’s got to be our challenge, that we play with that edge, that emotion and passion every night.

“Sometime you’re going to play with it and the other team’s going to play with it . . . that’s when you get into college basketball games that are pretty darn fun to watch, when you’re going toe-to-toe. You might not win all those games, but this place will be packed like it was because they know they’re going to get a show every time they come to see us play.”

Thursday night’s crowd of 11,212 – the fourth-largest in CEC history – was loud and appreciative. Roberson’s 20 rebounds matched a personal best. He set an early example for teammates with his relentless work. “I expect that from Andre every game,” freshman forward Xavier Johnson said. “He’s a great rebounder and a great player. I’m used to that.”

But for the first time in his career, Roberson, a 6-7 junior, ranks first nationally in rebounding at 11.9 a game. Getting to the top spot, he said, was “definitely a personal goal from beginning. I just have to keep doing what I am for this team – defense and rebounding. I want to keep growing from there.”

Each year, Boyle said Roberson “gets a little smarter, more experienced, a little craftier. But what makes him a great rebounder, I wish I could say I could coach. If I could, we’d have 10 of ’em. He’s pretty special.”

At the same time, Roberson is a curious study that runs contrary to rebounding fundamentals. Just imagine what he might do if he boxed out? Most of his board work is accomplished through an instinctive pursuit of the ball and his superb athleticism.

“Andre is not a great box-out guy,” admitted Boyle, who assigned Roberson defensively to Stanford’s 6-10 Dwight Powell rather than 6-7 Josh Huestis. “We afraid he couldn’t box Huestis out. Josh Scott (6-10) would and could . . . it’s one of those coaching clinic conversations: would you rather have a guy who can box out every time or who never boxes out and just goes and gets the rebound? (Roberson) is the first guy I ever coached who I said, ‘Don’t box out, just go get the rebound.'”

That’s what Roberson does, and an added benefit is that his passion for scouring the glass has crept into his defense. For the third consecutive season, he’s also leading the Buffs in steals (39), blocked shots (28) and is averaging 10.6 points. Those cumulative numbers should make him NBA worthy, but when is the question for the 16 NBA scouts expected to attend Sunday’s game.

Roberson, said Boyle, has become a much better post defender, mainly because he has “great feet, a great mind and can anticipate well. He gets in passing lanes and gets to balls and rebounds. He just went and got the first three or four rebounds against Stanford. From the opening tip he was dialed in.”

Roberson is aware of his leadership value to the Buffs and how his early play on Thursday night set emotional and physical tones that flowed for the next 40 minutes. “I feel like I play a big part in that,” he said. “There’s a couple of guys on this team who play a part in the energy thing, too. But (Thursday) night, I told the guys to get after it. (Stanford) was the only team that beat us here in conference. It wasn’t a great feeling. I told the guys to get after it and it started with me, being a leader on the team. I just kept it rolling.”

Unlike Stanford with its knock-around style, said Boyle, Cal (11-7, 3-3) relies on finesse, talent and skill. “They won’t bang you; their ‘bigs’ are tall and skinny.” But, he added, guards Allen Crabbe (19.9 ppg) and Justin Cobb (14.3 ppg) are fast and potent scorers.

At 3-4 in the Pac-12 (13-6 overall), CU is within a game of reaching .500 and moving into fourth place in the conference standings. There is a three-team log jam at third – Arizona, Arizona State and Washington are at 4-2 – and with a win Sunday the Buffs would have overtaken the two teams ahead of them in fourth.

But like his coach, Roberson isn’t ready to say the Buffs have turned any corners. Still, he likes what he’s seen over the past three games. “I don’t know how many games it would take, but it starts in practice,” he said. “It’s just the carryover from practices. We have good practices. (Thursday) I feel like it finally carried over into the game, as far as the offense moving the ball and playing great defense as a team. If we do that every team, nobody can beat us. It’s all up to us.

“We’re unstoppable when everybody gets on the same page and is clicking . . . we showed a little bit of that in Charleston, then had a little slump. But we’re picking it back up now.”

It’s happening at the right time, and if it continues – if that corner is indeed turned – February and March could be special.

Buff Bits –

– For the first time in his career, Andre Roberson leads the nation in rebounding, with 11.9 rebounds per game.

– Roberson also leads the Pac-12 conference in defensive rebounding (both all-game and conference only). His eight double-doubles leads the conference, and is 18th nationally.

– The CU series with Cal is tied at 10 games apiece, with Colorado winning the last two games in the series. Colorado is 7-1 against Cal in games played in Boulder.

– Cal is led by 6’6″ junior guard Allen Crabbe, who leads the Pac-12 conference in scoring, at 19.9 points per game. Fellow junior Justin Cobbs is also in double digits, at 14.3 points per game.

– Against Stanford, all five starters scored in double figures. It was the first time the Buffs accomplished the feat since a 2009 game against SMU.

– The 11,212 on hand for the Stanford game was the second-highest attendance for the season (11,708 v. CSU), and the fourth sellout of the seaon.

January 25th

CU women lose heart-breaker to No. 7 Cal

Okay, it’s my fault.

When I flipped on the television last night, I was surprised to see that the score of the CU women’s basketball game was: No. 20 CU 32, No. 7 Cal 16, with about four minutes to play in the first half. Over the next four minutes, though, the Buffs went scoreless, while the Cal women cut the 16-point lead in half, scoring the last eight points of the first half to cut the lead to 32-24 at the break.

I tried to do my part, turning off the television, hoping that my jinx would be forgiven.

But it was not enough …

From … Winning on the road hasn’t been a problem this season for the Colorado women’s basketball team – until Friday night at Haas Pavilion.

After squandering a 16-point first-half lead, the No. 20/23 Buffs fought back gamely in the second half but came up empty on their final possession and dropped a 59-56 Pac-12 Conference decision to No. 7 California. The loss ended a four-game CU winning streak.

“I’m proud of the way we battled back, but we believed we deserved to win that one,” CU coach Linda Lappe said.

Losing for the first time in five road trips this season, the Buffs dropped to 4-3 in the Pac-12 and 15-3 overall. The Bears improved to 16-2, 6-1 and remained tied with No. 6 Stanford for first place in the Pac-12. CU visits Stanford on Sunday afternoon.

As was the case in their 53-49 win in Boulder earlier this month, the Bears were beasts on the boards Friday night, outrebounding the Buffs 47-39. Included in Cal’s total were 24 offensive boards, which proved to be decisive. CU also committed 19 turnovers, leading to 20 Cal points.

Brittany Wilson led CU with 11 points, while Chuck Jeffrey added 10. Cal, which tied the series at five games apiece, was led by Gennifer Brandon and Layshia Clarendon with 13 each. Brandon also had 10 rebounds.

CU’s leading scorer, Arielle Roberson, didn’t score her first points until 11:25 remained in the game. She finished with seven points and two rebounds – all in the second half.

The Buffs took control early, going on a 15-2 run that opened a 14-point lead (24-10) with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half. During that surge, CU hit four of six three attempts – two of them by Brittany Wilson.

The lead went to 16 as the Buffs outscored the Bears 23-8 over a 10-minute span and went up 32-16 with about 4 minutes left before intermission. And that’s where CU ran into trouble.

By dominating the offensive boards and getting to the free throw line, the Bears stayed within striking distance. They outscored the Buffs 8-0 to close the first half, with a late trey from the left corner by senior guard Eliza Pierre cutting CU’s lead in half and drawing Cal to within 32-24 at the break.

The Buffs were able to fashion their double-figure first half leads without a point from Roberson (13.6 ppg) and with No. 2 scorer Jeffery (13.4 ppg) accounting for only four.

Cal made only eight of its first 35 shots and shot 22.3 percent in the first half. The Bears finished shooting 33.8 from the field while the Buffs shot 38.9 – but only 30 percent in the second half.

CU needed its second-half start to duplicate its first, but that didn’t happen. On the Buffs’ first possession, center Rachel Hargis picked up her third foul on a hard screen that negated a three-pointer by Lexy Kresl.

Cal immediately took advantage, getting a basket by Reshanda Gray and cutting CU’s lead to 32-26. That extended the Bears’ run to 10-0, putting pressure on the Buffs to respond – and fast. Jeffery finally got CU’s first second-half points, but Cal answered with an 8-0 run to tie the score at 34-34 on a jumper by Clarendon with 14:43 to play.

Her basket capped an 18-2 Bears run that spanned the final 4 minutes of the first half and the opening 5 minutes of the second.

But the Buffs didn’t go belly up. A Jeffery turnaround in the lane, followed by a Jen Reese trey opened a five-point CU lead (39-34), but Cal rallied with an 8-2 run and took its first lead (42-41) since 3-2 on a basket by Brittany Boyd, who finished with 10 points and was huge for the Bears down the stretch.

Neither team was able to take more than a two-point advantage until Boyd and Clarendon hit back-to-back jumpers to put Cal up 53-50 with 5:35 left. But CU tied the score at 54-54 on two free throws by Roberson and a Jeffery jumper with 3:42 remaining.

A pair of Boyd layups sent the Bears ahead 58-54 with 2 minutes showing. A Reese jumper in the lane pulled the Buffs to 58-56, giving CU possession with 36 seconds remaining. Roberson’s drive to the basket and layup attempt was blocked by Brandon.

The Bears rebounded and Clarendon was fouled. She hit one of two free throws with 14.8 remaining, putting Cal up 59-56 and leaving CU 10.3 seconds to hit a trey and tie.

But the Buffs had trouble getting a clean shot away, and Brittany Wilson’s desperation attempt from the left corner missed.

… No rest for the Buffs, who take on No. 6 Stanford Sunday afternoon (5:00 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)

January 24th – Boulder        Colorado 75, Stanford 54

Andre Roberson tied a career high with 20 rebounds, leading the Buffs to a dominating 75-54 win over Stanford in Boulder. Roberson added 12 points, three steals and three blocks as the Buffs never trailed in the rout.

Want balance? In addition to Roberson’s 12 points, the Buffs’ starters scored as follows: Askia Booker 13 points; Spencer Dinwiddie 12 points; Josh Scott 12 points; and Xavier Johnson 11 points.

From … After being manhandled twice by Stanford in their first Pac-12 Conference season, the Colorado Buffaloes struck back Thursday night – hard, early and often.

Leading from opening tip to final buzzer, the Buffs bashed the Cardinal 75-54 at the Coors Events Center before 11,212 – the fourth largest crowd in school history. It was CU’s first win against Stanford in six tries, with the Buffs’ last victory coming on Dec. 23, 1990 in Boulder.

Despite the five straight losses to Stanford – and particularly the pair last season – CU coach Tad Boyle downplayed any revenge factor that might have motivated his team. “It was sweet,” said Boyle, “because I respect Stanford and (coach) Johnny Dawkins . . . but relative to what happened last year – no.”

What happened last year actually occurred twice – once at Stanford, once in Boulder. The Cardinal won big in both places, 84-64 and 74-50, respectively. And the Buffs were brutalized both times, outrebounded by a combined 85-53 total and shredded defensively as the Cardinal shot a cumulative 50 percent from the field.

Thursday night’s story unfolded much differently, even if the physicality remained high. Said Boyle: “It was a bloodbath out there . . . it was one of those games where you had to put the ball in the basket. We told our guys at timeouts not to look for fouls.”

There were 36 called and what appeared to be an equal number uncalled. But the Buffs, improving to 8-1 this season in the Events Center and 40-5 at home in Boyle’s third season, followed their coach’s advice and didn’t depend on whistles.

Instead, they relied on balanced scoring – all five starters were in double figures – tenacious rebounding by junior Andre Roberson and steely defense. Roberson tied a career high with 20 of the Buffs’ 48 rebounds (the Cardinal collected 30) and added 12 points.

“We fed off Andre tonight . . . (he) was a beast and played like the Andre we know and love. He was after it from the get-go” Boyle said.

Roberson’s energy seemed unlimited and spilled over to the entire starting lineup. Sophomore Askia Booker scored a team-high 13, including eight consecutive points midway through the second half when Stanford closed to within eight. Freshman Josh Scott and sophomore Spencer Dinwiddie also scored 12 points each, while freshman Xavier – it’s OK to call him “Jam” – Johnson contributed 11.

Making his fifth start, “XJ” also was a power source for CU, getting eight of his points on dunks that left the big crowd delirious. “He gave us big-time energy,” said Boyle. “Those dunks got us going.”

If Boyle downplayed any revenge factor, Booker said one was present “without a doubt . . . the coaches were talking about how bad they beat us on the boards last year.”

Added Roberson: “I definitely feel like we had a lot to prove . . . we came out tonight and put it on them.”

Quotes –

– “The thing about coaching college basketball is sometimes after a win it is a sense of relief rather than joy,” said Tad Boyle. “I was really proud of our players tonight, they really responded well to the challenge we gave them. When we talk about defense and rebounding and we do what we talk about and you look at the numbers on the stat sheet tonight, and you play together offensively and you have five guys in double figures, the result takes care of itself and there isn’t really a lot to talk about. I think our players took a step forward tonight, understanding that and executing it.”

“I don’t really look at numbers after the game” said Andre Roberson of his impressive night. “What really matters to me and the team is the win. When we were on a slump, I told our team we were going to be on the rise again and I think you’ve seen that these past couple of nights. We started to play together as a team and we kept fighting. Hopefully we can keep it going.”

Buff Bits –

– The win was the first for Tad Boyle over Stanford (1-2), the only team in the Pac-12 which had yet to lose to the Buffs under Boyle;

– Stanford still leads the all-time series, 9-4, as the win was the first for the Buffs against the Cardinal since 1990;

– CU never trailed in the game, taking a lead 33 seconds in and holding it the remainder of the game. The 21-point margin was the third best for the Buffs in year two of Pac-12 play;

– The announced crowd was 11,212, the second-largest attendance of the season. Colorado is averaging over 10,000 fans per game, second only to Arizona in league attendance;

– The Buffs are off to a 13-6 start, tied for tenth-best in school history after 19 games (and the same record as last season, and only one game behind the 2010-11 team, which was 14-5 after 19 games in Tad Boyle’s first season in Boulder);

– Andre Roberson posted his ninth double-double of the season, and the 34th of his career. CU is 27-7 when Roberson posts a double-double.

—- Up Next — Cal (11-7, 3-3) on Sunday afternoon in Boulder (1:30, FSN).

January 23rd

Preview – Stanford at Colorado

From … At the conclusion of Wednesday’s practice, Tad Boyle put both forefingers to either side of his head and offered this layman’s analysis for his Colorado basketball team: “Guys, it’s all between here.”

Boyle was referencing the mental frame of mind he expects the Buffaloes to be in when they play Stanford Thursday night at the Coors Events Center (8 p.m., ESPNU). But he was also recalling CU’s two games last season against the Cardinal – and from the Buffs’ perspective that pair of losses couldn’t have been uglier.

From the tops of their heads down, the Buffs were flogged.

“They whipped our ass – there’s no politically correct way to say it,” Boyle said. “They whipped it in every way, shape and form. At home, on the road, rebounding, offense, defense, loose balls – you name it.”

The two scores – 84-64 at Stanford, 74-50 in Boulder – did a decent job of describing the Cardinal’s dominance. But there was also the 85-53 two-game edge in rebounding, as well as Stanford’s 50 percent shooting from the field in the two games.

“When we played them here, it wasn’t a great feeling seeing your fans leave not even halfway into the second half,” remembered CU junior wing Andre Roberson. “It was just kind of disappointing. We let (Buffs fans) down with that.

“This year, I feel like we’re going to come ready to play . . . capitalize on the game plan and come out ready to compete. We know what they’re all about; we have to be physical and aggressive.”

At 2-3 in the Pac-12 Conference, Stanford is a game ahead of CU (2-4) in the loss column. California, also 2-3, visits the Events Center on Sunday afternoon, giving the Buffs a chance to reel in the pair of teams ahead of them. But Boyle is dialed in on the Cardinal and expects his players to be even more so.

“Our guys have got to be thinking about the next practice, the next game,” he said. “Because if we start looking ahead, that’s when you get in trouble. That’s what immature teams do. You talk to Oregon, my guess is they’re dialed in to Washington State (Wednesday night). That’s all they think about, all they’re concerned about. I know it’s a cliché and not fun to write about, but it’d better be the truth. If it’s not then we’ve got problems.”

Stanford’s makeup has changed from last season, as has CU’s. The Cardinal lost frontcourt beasts Josh Owens (6-8, 240) and Andrew Zimmerman (6-8, 230). That duo, observed Roberson, gave the Cardinal “some pretty big guys inside . . . but you still have to compete. We can’t really elaborate on that; the hungrier dog wins the game.”

Added Boyle: “They’re missing a couple of really good players. Everybody knows about Owens and what he did in his career. But Zimmerman was a kid that I thought late in the year played extremely well. He was a tough matchup.”

Dwight Powell, a 6-10 junior, played at the “three” spot last season, but has switched to the “five.” Said Boyle: “They’re a different team; they miss a couple of those inside guys. But then again, now it’s a situation where you’ve got to guard Powell with a ‘four’ or ‘five’ – and he’s much improved.”

Powell is averaging a team-high 16 points in Pac-12 competition and collecting 8.6 rebounds a game. The Cardinal’s top board man is 6-7 junior Josh Huestis at 9.8. Stanford is fourth in rebounding margin (plus-1.8), CU is eighth (minus-2.0) in the league – figures that don’t sit well with Boyle.

The Cardinal and Buffs guards have shared a recent common problem – making shots. Oddly, Stanford is shooting better from beyond the arc than in front of it. In conference play, the Cardinals is second in three-point shooting (40.2 percent) but 11th overall (39.4). In those same categories, CU is 12th (25.8) and seventh (41.5).

Boyle said some of Stanford’s perimeter difficulties can be attributed to “some of their inside presence being gone this year. And their guards – (Aaron) Bright and (Chasson) Randle – aren’t shooting the ball as well they’re capable of. We know they’re both better players than their numbers indicate – and we’ve talked about that.”

Bright (7.6 ppg) is shooting 28.1 percent from the field in Pac-12 play, while Randle (12.8 ppg) is at 42.9.

CU’s starting sophomore backcourt – Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker – also has misfired in January. Dinwiddie’s six-game Pac-12 field goal percentage is 44.3, Booker’s 31.0.

Boyle said Dinwiddie, who still leads CU in scoring (14.8 ppg), is “not shooting the ball much better than Randle is overall. They’re both having subpar shooting years. They’re both really important to their respective teams. We need Spencer to play well for us to be successful – there’s no getting around that. And they need Randle to play well for them to be as good as they want to be.”

But the box score might not be the main area where Booker’s contributions are needed. From their preseason experience with Navy SEALS training, Boyle said he and his staff recognized this about Booker’s influence on his teammates: “If he’s not emotionally dialed in it affects our team. When he is, our guys feed off of that.”

Boyle said 6-6 freshman Xavier Johnson will start Thursday night in place of 6-4 senior Sabatino Chen – a move Boyle has made in four previous conference games for match-up purposes. Johnson averages 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in league play. He scored 14 in CU’s 58-49 win at Washington State last weekend.

Dinwiddie said the page on last season’s lopsided losses to the Cardinal has been turned and the Buffs aren’t dwelling on redemption: “It’s a new year, new team. We fully understand what happened last year. We understand we got out-bounded on the glass and they blew us out both times. We’re looking to come out and play physical and tough and set the tone.”

Buff Bits –

– Colorado trails the all-time series against Stanford, 9-3, but is 3-3 in games played in Boulder. Stanford has won five straight in the series, including a sweep of the Buffs last season.

– The Buffs are 39-5 at home under Tad Boyle, 7-1 this year. One of the five losses was to Stanford last season.

– A win would give CU a 13-6 record for the season, matching last year’s record after 19 games.

– Stanford is 1-3 on the road this season, including road losses to UCLA and USC.

– The Buffs made only one three-pointer in each of last weeekend’s games against the Washington schools. It was the first time CU has been held to only one three-pointer in consecutive games during the 349-game streak of making at least one three-pointer.

– Stanford has only two players averaginig double figures in scoring (CU has four). 6’10” junior forward Dwight Powell is averging 14.9 points per game, while sophomore guard Chasson Randle is averaging 13.5 points per game.

January 21st

Colorado moves up to No. 20/No. 23 in polls, projected as No. 5 seed

The University of Colorado moved up two spots to No. 23 in the USA Today Sports Women’s Basketball Coaches poll released on Tuesday.

Colorado, 15-2 overall and 4-2 in the Pac-12 Conference, received a season-high 113 points, up from 67 last week when the Buffaloes reentered the poll for the second time this season at No. 25. Colorado’s No. 23 spot is its highest in the coaches’ poll since coming in at No. 16 in the March 15, 2004 poll.

On Monday the Buffaloes moved up one spot to No. 20, tied with Oklahoma, in the Associated Press Women’s Basketball Top 25 poll. The Buffaloes have resided in the AP poll for the last six weeks, reaching as high as No. 20 twice; this week and on Dec. 31. CU’s six week run in the AP poll is its longest since appearing in all 19 polls of the 2003-04 season. The 279 points received this week in the AP poll is a season high for the Buffaloes.

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 164th time Colorado has appeared in the AP poll, trailing only Stanford, USC and UCLA among Pac-12 schools. This week’s ranking marks the 154th  time Colorado has appeared in the coaches’ poll dating back to the 1988-89 campaign.

Cal and Stanford, the Buffs’ next two opponents, remained at No. 7 and No. 6, respectively, this week. UCLA, victims of the Bay area schools this past weekend, dropped from 13th to 19th. Louisville, beaten by the Buffs earlier in the season, moved up two spots to No. 13.

Bracketology … According to ESPN, the 14-2 CU women’s team projects out to be a No. 5 in the NCAA tournament, up from a No. 6 seed a week ago. Here is a link to the brackets.

January 20th

No. 21 CU women rout Arizona, 79-36

Arizona came into the game against Colorado Sunday with an 11-5 record. The Wildcats were 3-2 in Pac-12 play, identical to the record of the CU women’s team.

For the first six minutes of the matinee in Boulder, the teams appeared fairly even. With 14:06 to play, the score was Colorado 15, Arizona 11.

Then the Buffs exploded.

The rest of the first half, Colorado out-scored Arizona 28-4, taking a 45-13 halftime lead on its way to a 79-36 rout.

Want balance? The Colorado scoreshett was a coach’s dream. Arielle Roberson led the Buffs with 12 points. Next on the list were Lexy Kresl and Chucky Jeffrey with 11 points apiece. Also in double figures was Jamee Swan, with ten points. Jen Reese and Kyleesha Weston each had eight points, while Brittany Wilson had seven.

The Buffs shot 50% from the field, holding the Wildcats to 25%. Colorado had 47 rebounds … Arizona 19 (Colorado had almost as many offensive rebounds – 18 – as Arizona had total rebounds). Colorado had 21 assists, Arizona all of three.

Stats you would expect to see in a 43-point rout.

Up next … the road trip from Hell. The Colorado women play their next four games on the road, the first three against ranked teams.

The first two games are against No. 7 Cal and No. 6 Stanford, the two teams which have blemished the Buffs’ 15-2 record – with both games in Boulder – followed by an LA trip starting with a date with No. 15 UCLA before finishing with an “easy” game against USC.

If Colorado can handle the next two weekends with even a split, the schedule gets much easier. Two games against the same Arizona schools CU vanquished this weekend, plus four games against Oregon and Oregon State, teams which entered Sunday with a combined record of 10-24.



January 19th – at Washington State          Colorado 58, Washington State 49

From … On a night when the Colorado Buffaloes’ offense came and went, their constant was defense – and it carried them to their second Pac-12 Conference victory and first of the season on the road.

CU kept grinding and grinding and finally put away Washington State 58-49 Saturday night at Beasley Coliseum. The Buffs went to 12-6 overall and 2-4 in the Pac-12, while the Cougars dropped to 10-8, 1-4.

Buffs coach Tad Boyle told his team that the “hungrier, tougher team” would win Saturday night – and his team proved to be both. CU survived a cold-shooting final 6:15 of the first half and fell behind by four points early in the second half.

But the Buffs rallied behind their defense and late offense provided by Spencer Dinwiddie, whose three-pointer in the game’s last 6 minutes helped keep the Cougars at bay. That shot restored a five-point lead, and he followed with a pair of free throws at the 4:37 mark for another five-point margin.

Dinwiddie led CU with 16 points, with Xavier Johnson contributing 14 and Josh Scott 11. WSU got 13 each from Brock Motum and Mike Ladd.

The Buffs held the Cougars to 34.5 percent from the field – their second straight game of keeping an opponent below 40 percent. CU shot 43.2 percent, including 47.8 in the second half.

CU comes home next week to play Stanford (Thursday, 8 p.m.) and California (Sunday, 1:30 p.m.) before traveling to Utah the following Saturday to open February.

Final score: Colorado 58, Washington State 49

 “That was an ugly win, we have got to get better offensively,” said Tad Boyle. “We only put up 44 shots to their 58 and we had some silly turnovers, but again, you take a win on the road. I thought that there were a couple key performances tonight; number one: Andre [Roberson] was terrific on [Washington State’s Brock] Motum tonight as he made him work for everything. He is the difference in the game defensively, people are going to look at his stat line and maybe say ‘Oh Andre had an off night’ but he didn’t have an off night on defense. They were obviously boxing him out, they were face guarding him and being physical with him, but he was driven. Number two: Xavier Johnson, really gave us great minutes tonight and got inside and he is a beast down there. And then ‘Ski [Booker] made some shots when he had to make shots. He’s three-for-eleven so his efficiency is not very good but two of his three that he made were big shots in the second half and then he had a great assist to Xavier [Johnson] and that is where we kind of blew it open.”

On Offensive Struggles … “I think we’ve lost a little confidence, and what is really frustrating to me is that I see us in practice and I see us moving the ball and playing aggressive,” said Boyle. “Then, in games it’s almost like we’re afraid to make mistakes, we are passing up good shots and taking worse shots and a lot of that comes down to decision making. I don’t know, I think we might have to pull out some film of earlier in the season and say ‘hey guys, this is the same team, the same guys’. We’ll get it figured out, we have good players and we have to play to our ability and right now we are not playing to our ability. Defensively, we are doing everything we ask them to do, but offensively we can be more efficient. With that being said, we still shot almost 48 percent in the second half but it’s just not flowing.”

Buff Bits –

– CU improves to 12-6 overall, matching the record of the 2002-03 team through 18 games.

– The win was the 60th for Tad Boyle at CU, the fastest CU coach to 60 wins (92 games).

– The road victory was the first for the Buffs in conference play in four tries.

– Colorado is now 3-1 all-time vs. Washington State, winning in its first-ever trip to Pullman.

– CU held an opponent under 50 points for the eighth time under Tad Boyle, already third on the all-time list for coaches in the shot-clock era.

– Andre Roberson and Askia Booker each had seven rebounds, marking the first time 11-straight games in which someone other than Roberson shared in the team-high for rebonds.

– Roberson, with his seven rebounds, became only the fourth Buff ever with 900 or more career rebounds.


Colorado at Washington State Preview … CU men face – another – “must-win” game

From … When their chartered jet touched down here Thursday afternoon, the weather conditions and overall feel of things reminded several of the veteran Colorado Buffaloes of another time in another conference. Flash back to:

Big 12 country . . . mid-January in Ames, Iowa . . . leaden skies and a landscape blanketed by snow . . . temperatures bobbing from the mid- to low-20s.

Make enough wintry trips to Ames and other hoops stops in the Heartland and your appreciation of the winter months in Colorado should climb considerably. The Buffs’ first wintry, make it first ever, trek toward Pullman, Wash., is having that same effect – at least on one traveler.

CU’s four-day hoops swing through the Pacific Northwest – the first stop was a night spent misfiring in Seattle – serves as a stark reminder that the Pac-12 Conference isn’t all beaches and desert, all sunshine and lapping waves.

But from conference to conference, there are constants in basketball travel – the most obvious being how difficult it is for most visiting teams to go from stop to stop and win. The Buffs have dropped in on three Pac-12 schools this season and still are searching for Road ‘W’ No. 1.

They hop from Spokane to Pullman on Saturday morning and play at Washington State that night (8:00 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Network), hoping to break the streak and begin a climb back from a 1-4 conference start.

CU coach Tad Boyle is a self-professed numbers guy, and there are several in his team’s home and away play that trouble him. Some of the poorer stats he believes can be remedied through hard work and better execution; others, well . . . hear him out.

Before the Buffs made this trip, Boyle offered up some free throw numbers and the discrepancies between the Buffs’ number of attempts on neutral courts vs. true road games. He tossed out free throw attempts at home because those seem to even out among schools.

But his bottom line (and he’s more of a bottom line guy than a numbers guy) was that for some reason, when he did the research, there was a decided imbalance between attempts on neutral courts (plus 11) and attempts in true road games (minus seven). If you’re counting at home – which Boyle obviously is – that’s a difference of 18 attempts. And that can be a big difference.

His research was done before CU’s 64-54 loss at Washington on Wednesday night, but his conclusion held up. The Huskies attempted 23 free throws, making 18; the Buffs shot 14, making 11. There were enough other factors involved to make this night a frustrating one for his team, but in Boyle’s postgame remarks he made this observation:

“We need to start making some shots to help win some games on the road because we are not getting to the free throw line, we were 11-for-14 from the free throw line which is a good percentage but 14 is not enough attempts. It happens to us on the road all the time, but it doesn’t happen at home, yet it happens to us on the road for some reason.”

Aside from the imbalance from the foul line, Boyle was spot on in saying the Buffs “need to start making some shots . . .” They missed most of their shots (21-for-58, 36.2 percent) against the Huskies, who actually missed more (20-for-59, 33.9 percent) and still won. Boyle acknowledged UW’s defense for creating some of CU’s problems, but he also pointed to his team’s offensive execution as a culprit in the misfiring.

January 18th

No. 21 CU women take care of business against Arizona State

Thanks to a strong second-half surge, the Colorado women’s basketball team secured a 57-43 Pac-12 Conference win over Arizona State Friday night at the Coors Events Center.

Senior guard Chucky Jeffrey earned her 24th career double-double and her fourth of the season with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Her rebound total was also a team season-high.

Redshirt freshman forward Arielle Roberson earned a career-high 11 rebounds and contributed seven points of her own. Overall, Colorado out-rebounded Arizona State 47-31.

“Like any Pac-12 game, it was very physical down there,” Roberson said. “It’s always a war, it’s always a battle … But we knew we had to box out and then go get the rebounds, not just let them try to come to us.”

Forward Jen Reese and guard Lexy Kresl, both sophomores, added eight points each.

Strong defense from both teams kept the score and shooting percentages low, as Colorado shot just 37.8 percent from the field but held the Sun Devils to 23.6 percent.

One of the goals for Colorado was to keep ASU players from scoring around the rim. The Buffs executed that game plan well, forcing the Sun Devils to shoot 8-for-26 from beyond the arc.

“It was a very solid night defensively for us,” said Colorado head coach Linda Lappe. “Knowing how Arizona State likes to score, they score a lot of baskets and layups at the rim, so one of our goals was to give up less than 10 layups. I think we gave them only a couple of wide-open layups.”

January 17th

Colorado falls to 1-4 in Pac-12 play after loss to Washington

From … The Colorado Buffaloes dug themselves a hole with frigid shooting here Wednesday night and left Alaska Airlines Arena in a deeper Pac-12 Conference hole.

But despite their 64-54 loss to streaking Washington, which won for the tenth time in 12 games, Buffs coach Tad Boyle and his players believe positive steps were taken – particularly on defense.

Boyle said his team’s defense “was good enough to win . . . our guys played great (defense). We played with pride and some toughness. We lost to a good basketball team.”

The Huskies, playing their first home game since Dec. 22, remained unbeaten (4-0) in conference play and went to 12-5 overall while the Buffs slipped to 1-4, 11-6.

If CU’s ‘D’ was exemplary, its ‘O’ was of the OMG variety. Credit the Huskies for some of that misfiring; they’ve now held four Pac-12 teams to under 40 percent from the field.

The Buffs shot a season-low 29.2 percent in the first half and finished at 36.2 percent (21-for-58) for the game – the team’s second-lowest mark this season. CU also tied a season low in assists with six and made only one of 10 three-point attempts.

But the Buffs held the Huskies to 33.9 percent (20-for-59) from the field and outrebounded them by one (38-37). It wasn’t an aesthetically pleasing night for either team, but UW coach Lorenzo Romar didn’t care.

Asked about “winning ugly,” Romar said, “You can color it any want to color it. I just know that when you go out and you play two games in a row and you have single digit turnovers (UW had 9, CU 12), you hold four teams to under 40 percent from the field, you outrebound three out of the four, you’re beginning to do things right. The only ‘ugly’ thing, if you want to call it that, is that we haven’t been making shots. Two out of the last four games we haven’t made shots. Other than that, I think we’re doing everything else OK.”

Boyle said the Huskies’ 15 offensive rebounds “really killed us in the second half. We had some stops and couldn’t finish the possession with getting the rebound. That hurt us. And then we put them on the foul line in the second half. For some reason we don’t get to the foul line on the road; I don’t know why.”

Sophomore Spencer Dinwiddie, who led CU with 15 points, said the Buffs played with more overall intensity than in previous conference losses to Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA.

“For sure,” Dinwiddie said. “That’s one thing we talked about. We talked our positives; we finally started playing with our principles – we rebounded the ball decently. There were a couple of possessions where they got three or four offensive rebounds. If we cut that out and they don’t make a run, the game’s different.”

The only other CU player in double figures was junior Andre Roberson with 10 points, marking the first time this season only two Buffs reached double digits. Roberson also had 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season and the 32nd of his career.

Roberson said the Buffs “stepped it up big time on the defensive end . . . we just didn’t get the rebounds when it mattered and we didn’t make the tough stops. Our offense has to get better; our motion is terrible right now. That’s one thing we have to improve on big time. Just executing on the offense end is a main thing. That’s why we struggled with this team.”

January 16th

Preview – Colorado at Washington

Colorado (11-5, 1-3) takes on Washington (11-5,3-0) in Seattle tonight (9:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks).

From … Just for kicks, flip the calendar back about 21/2 months to late November when Larry Eustachy and his Colorado State guys visited Seattle to play U-Dub. Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar was patching together a lineup minus senior co-captain Scott Suggs, arguably UW’s best perimeter defender, and power forward Shawn Kemp, Jr., whom Romar has called “potentially our best low-post scorer.”

Suggs was out with a sprained arch tendon in his right foot, Kemp with a torn right patellar tendon. CSU didn’t win a sleepwalk in Seattle, but it was close: Rams 73, Huskies 55. Good victory for CSU, which visited CU two weeks later and lost, 70-61.

That was then and since, Suggs has returned to Romar’s starting lineup while the 6-9 Kemp still appears to be working himself back into form. But the Huskies are unquestionably – these are Boyle’s words – “a totally different team than in non-conference.”

Part of that is due to what Suggs brings back – he’s averaging 12.2 points – and part of it attributable to the play of C.J. Wilcox, the conference’s scoring leader (21.3 ppg). Aziz N’Diaye, a 7-foot senior, is averaging 11.3 points and 9.3 rebounds. But it was Wilcox who almost singlehandedly pushed UW past Stanford last weekend, scoring 13 of his team’s final 15 points in the 65-60 win and finishing with 27 points and nine rebounds.

UW (3-0) is one of three unbeaten Pac-12 teams, joining Oregon (3-0) and UCLA (4-0). But put the Huskies’ perfect mark alongside those of the Ducks and the Bruins and a rather large difference is obvious: UW has yet to play a home conference game. The Huskies, 11-5 overall, have won at Washington State, at California and at Stanford – the latter ‘W’ giving UW its first 3-0 road start in league play since 1912.

Yes, the sun is shining in Seattle.

The Huskies, winners in nine of their past 11 games, haven’t played at home since Dec. 22. Consider the welcome mat laid out invitingly for the Buffs, who also are 11-5 overall but 1-3 in the Pac-12 and trying to avoid a tailspin during a stretch that has them on the road for five of their next seven games.

Boyle isn’t into looking that far ahead. “We’ll play them as they come; (UW) is the next game and we have to be focused there,” he said. “I’m not going to get caught up in how many are left, who’s won on the road or at home. We have to figure out a way to compete.”

Buff Bits –

– The series is tied, 7-7, with Washington holding a 5-1 edge in games played in Seattle. Colorado’s only victory at Washington came in 1956;

– Colorado has a four-game road losing streak in conference games heading into the contest;

– Washington has four players averaging double figures in scoring, led by junior guard C.J. Wilcox, who is averaging 19.0 points per game;

– Colorado has dropped from 6th to 17th in the RPI rankings this past week;

– With 13 more rebounds, Andre Roberson will become only the fourth Buff in CU history with 900 career rebounds;

– Colorado is 1-3 in conference play for the first time since 2009-10.


January 14th

CU women move up to No. 21 in latest AP poll; back in coaches’ poll

From … After a one week hiatus, the University of Colorado rejoined the USA Today Sports Women’s Basketball Coaches poll at No. 25 released on Tuesday.

Colorado, 13-2 overall and 2-2 in the Pac-12 Conference, received 67 votes, up from 28 last week when the Buffaloes were the second team listed in the “receiving votes” category. Colorado made its first appearance of the season in the coaches’ poll on Jan. 1, also at No. 25

The University of Colorado moved up two spots to No. 21 in the Associated Press Women’s Basketball Top 25 poll, released Monday.

Colorado, 13-2 overall and 2-2 in the Pac-12 Conference, received 232 votes, its highest vote total of the season. The Buffaloes have resided in the AP poll for the last five weeks, reaching as high as No. 20 on Dec. 31. CU’s five week run in the AP poll is its longest since appearing in all 19 polls of the 2003-04 season.

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 163rd time Colorado has appeared in the AP poll, trailing only Stanford, USC and UCLA among Pac-12 schools.

The USA Today Sports Coaches poll is scheduled to be released on Tuesday. Colorado spent one week at No. 25 in that poll (Jan. 1) and was the second team in the “receiving votes” category last week.

Colorado will continue Pac-12 play by hosting the Arizona schools this week. Arizona State visits Boulder for a 7 p.m. game on Friday, Jan. 18, while the Buffaloes host Arizona on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 2 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.

January 13th – at Utah          No. 23 Colorado 56, Utah 43

The CU women’s team completed a two-game sweep of Utah, taking down the Utes on the road, 56-43, to move to 13-2 on the season, 2-2 in Pac-12 play.

The Buffs, who defeated the same Ute team 67-57 in Boulder on Tuesday, struggled early, with Utah holding the lead for much of the first half. The Buffs trailed 21-16 with five minutes to play, but went on a 9-2 run to close out the half to take a 25-23 halftime lead.

In the second half, as stars Chucky Jeffrey and Arielle Roberson were struggling, Jen Reese took over, scoring seven points as the Buffs took a five point lead and made it a 12-point advantage with 11 minutes to play. Twice Utah pulled to within seven points, but the Buffs were able to control the tempo, and won going away.

Jen Reese led the Buff with 11 points, followed by Arielle Roberson’s ten points (coming on 4-for-12 shooting). Buff senior leader Chucky Jeffrey was held to six points, but contributed six assists and five rebounds.

The next six games will be tough for the CU women’s team. The Buffs return home for dates with the Arizona schools next weekend – Arizona State (10-6, 2-2) on Friday night, then Arizona (10-5, 2-2) on Sunday. Then comes a four-game road trip from Hell, as CU must take on the top ten teams who beat them in Boulder, Stanford and Cal, before facing UCLA and USC on the road. The Bruins are currently ranked No. 14 in the nation, while the Trojans just happen to be 4-0 in conference play.

If the Buffs can survive the next six games, the schedule lightens up, including four games with the Oregon schools (which currently own a combined record of 9-23.

Sunday’s win kept the Buffs undefeated on the road for the 2012-13 season (4-0). If the Buffs are still undefeated on the road at the end of their upcoming four game road swing through California, Colorado will have a top ten team.

January 12th – Boulder          UCLA 78, Colorado 75

An Askia Booker three point attempt from the corner bounced harmlessly away at the buzzer, allowing UCLA to escape Boulder with a 78-75 victory.

Colorado rallied from a 13-point second half deficit to create the chance at an overtime, but 14 turnovers and five missed second half free throws proved too much for Buffs to overcome.

Spencer Dinwiddie led the Buffs with 23 points, with Askia Booker and Josh Scott each contributing 18. The Buffs held UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad to 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting, but had no answer for 6’10” junior forward Travis Wear, who had 23 points.

With the loss, Colorado fell to 1-3 in Pac-12 play, with a road trip to play Washington and Washington State up next.

The Buffs started nervously, with a turnover and a forced jumper as the shot clock expired in their first two possessions. Spencer Dinwiddie, though, connected on a jumper in possession number three to tie the score early at 2-all. After UCLA missed two free throws, Askia Booker gave CU its first lead at 4-2, a lead which lasted only a few seconds as the Bruins beat the Buffs down the floor for an easy layup.

Xavier Johnson then made one of two free throws, but UCLA put back a missed jumper to take a 6-5 lead. Xavier Johnson then scored and converted a three point play,  but, more importantly, put UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad on the bench with his second foul. A three-pointer by UCLA, though, gave the Bruins a 9-8 lead at the under 16 break.

Askia Booker hit two free throws to make the score 10-9, Colorado, but an inside jumper gave UCLA the lead right back. A pair of free throws by the Bruins made the score 13-10, UCLA, matching the Bruins’ largest lead. Josh Scott hit a pair of free throws to bring CU back to within one point, with Scott giving the Buffs the lead back on an offensive round and a putback. A fast break basket gave Scott six straight points, CU a 6-0 run, and a 16-13 Buff lead.

Colorado had two open looks at three-pointers to extend the lead, but could not convert. A long rebound led to a dunk by Shabazz Muhammad, with UCLA retaking the lead on a short jumper a few seconds later. A jumper by Spencer Dinwiddie, though, resulted in yet another lead change. At the under 12 break, taken with ten minutes to play in the half, CU led 18-17.

Askia Booker hit a tough jumper to give CU a 20-17 lead, with UCLA quickly responding with a layup. After the teams traded turnovers, Xavier Johnson hit a three-pointer to give CU its biggest lead at four points, 23-19. The Buffs couldn’t sustain the momentum, though, as two straight baskets by UCLA tied the score at the seven minute mark, 23-all.

Josh Scott upped his first half point total to eight with a pair of free throws. A floater by Shabazz Muhammad gave him six points and a tie game, broken by Andre Roberson’s first points of the game on a mid-range jumper. Colorado 27, UCLA 25, with five minutes to play.

Shane Harris-Tunks made one of two free throws after a flagrant foul call on UCLA, but the Buffs couldn’t up the lead on their next possession. A jumper by UCLA brought the Bruins to within one point, with UCLA taking the lead on a dunk after a turnover by Sabatino Chen. UCLA 28, Colorado 27, at the under four break.

Spencer Dinwiddie ended the UCLA run at four points, giving CU the lead back at 30-29 after an Andre Roberson steal. A short jumper by UCLA gave the Bruins the lead back. After Askia Booker missed a three-pointer, the Bruins upped their fast break point total to ten with another run out. UCLA 33, Colorado 30, with a minute to play in first half.

An Andre Roberson put back brought the Buffs back to within one point, but a layup by the Bruins, with a teardrop jumper by Spencer Dinwiddie making it a one point game at the half.

Haftime score: UCLA 35, Colorado 34.

At the break, CU was led by Spencer Dinwiddie and Josh Scott, with eight points apiece. Xavier Johnson had seven and Askia Booker six as the Buffs were spreading out the points.

Free throws, a major concern for the Buffs in the previous three Pac-12 games, was not a problem early against UCLA, as the Buffs hit 9-of-11 in the first half. From the floor, though, the Buffs were struggling, hitting 12-of-29 overall, 1-of-8 from behind the arc.

Colorado opened the second half facing only first halftime deficit since the Kansas game. A UCLA layup opened the second half, with a turnover leading to a three-pointer by Shabazz Muhammad and the Bruins’ biggest lead of the game at six points. UCLA 40, Colorado 34, with 19 minutes left to play.

Askia Booker stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer on the Buffs’ next possession, but a jumper by UCLA restored a five point advantage for the Bruins. Josh Scott became the first Buff in double figures with a put back to make the score 42-39, with Dinwiddie tying the score with an open three-pointer. 42-all, with 16 minutes to play.

A jumper by UCLA gave the Bruins the lead back at the under 16 break, 44-42.

One out of two free throws by Spencer Dinwiddie gave the sophomore 12 points, but UCLA responded with a jumper to take a three point lead. Another short jumper by the Bruins, and the lead was, just like that, back up to five points. After an Andre Roberson three-pointer bounced away, the Bruins had yet another layup … and a seven point lead.

A pair of free throws by Dinwiddie made the score 50-45, with Sabatino Chen missing a pair of free throws which could have brought the Buffs closer. At the under 12 break, it remained a five point game at 50-45.

In CU’s next two possessions, the Buffs failed to get off a shot, being called for two traveling violations. Two more baskets by UCLA, including a fast break dunk, gave the Bruins their new largest lead of the game at nine points, 54-45. Timeout, Colorado.

Turnover No. 14, a lost ball by Roberson, led to a three-pointer – and a foul on Spencer Dinwiddie. The four point play gave the Bruins a 13-point lead at 58-45.

One of two free throws by Roberson stopped an eight point run by the Bruins, with a layup by Dinwiddie making it a ten point game at 58-48. UCLA hit its fourth three-pointer of the game after an offensive rebound, counteracting the Buffs’ three-point run. At the under eight break, the Bruins were in control, 61-48.

A pair of free throws by Sabatino Chen cut the lead to 11, with a layup by Askia Booker cutting the lead to single digits. One of two free throws by Xavier Johnson made it a 5-0 run by CU, with Josh Scott scoring his first points of the second half to make it a 7-0 run and a 61-55 contest.

A traditional three point play by UCLA pushed the lead back up to nine, this time answered by a dunk by Josh Scott. A jumper by Travis Wear gave the UCLA forward 19 points, and the Bruins a 66-57 lead.

A layup by Josh Scott a few moments later gave the freshman forward 16 points, and the Buffs new hope. At the under four break, the lead stood at seven. UCLA 66, Colorado 59.

A jumper by Spencer Dinwiddie made it a five point game with two minutes to play, by Travis Wear made it 21 points with a jumper to answer for the Bruins.

A putback with 1:39 to go by Josh Scott gave Scott 16 points, and the Buffs a five point deficit. UCLA 68, Colorado 63.

Guess who for UCLA? Travis Wear. Another jumper for the 6’10” junior restored the seven point advantage with 1:21 left.

An Askia Booker three-pointer made it a four point game with still over a minute to play.

Time to foul. UCLA made both free throws with a minute to play, but it was still a two possession game. UCLA 72, Colorado 66.

Askia Booker made two free throws with 53 seconds to play, making the lead four. A miss on the front end of a one-and-one gave CU new hope, but Josh Scott missed a jumper. Another CU foul. This time, the Bruins connected on both free throws. A Spencer Dinwiddie three pointer, though, made it a one possession game with 30 seconds left. UCLA 74, Colorado 71.

UCLA made one of two free throws to make it a four point game, with Askia Booker making a layup to make it a two point game with 19 seconds left.

The Bruins made only one of two of their next free throw opportunities, giving CU a chance at a tie. A Dinwiddie layup made it a one point game, with the Buffs fouling with eight seconds left.

Two free throws by UCLA made it a three point game, with an Askia Booker jumper from the corner at the buzzer ending the contest.

Final score: UCLA 78, Colorado 75.

Tad Boyle called the loss “very disappointing, frustrating for our team and program . . . the margin for error is so thin in those games (and) our team is not where we need to be. It’s frustrating when you know opportunities are there and we don’t take advantage.”

The Buffs, said Boyle, “played hard and competed, but we have to be more consistent from start to finish against good teams.” He drew on a quote from his former college coach at Kansas, Larry Brown: “Coming back is easy; coming back and winning is hard.”

Preview – Colorado v. UCLA

Program Note … CU at the Game will feature up-to-the-minute updates this afternoon for those who can’t watch the game on the Pac-12 Networks …

Colorado is halfway through its 2012-13 regular season. There have been highs and lows in getting to an 11-4 record, and most Buff fans would be very pleased if this young team could finish the second half of the regular season with an identical 11-4 mark.

While the home game against UCLA (noon, Pac-12 Networks) is only the fourth game of the Pac-12 conference season, it’s not a stretch to call this a crossroads game. A victory reinstates CU as a top echelon team in the conference, and a real threat to take the conference title. A loss, and the Buffs would be 1-3 in conference play, with a road trip to the state of Washington in the offing. After such a rocky start, the Buffs might be forced to again win four games in four days to repeat as Pac-12 champions come tournament time.

The Buffs have started well in each of the first three conference games, but held on only once. So the watchword of the day has to be … finish.

For all three conference match-ups so far this season, the Buffs have built up a considerable lead in the first half before watching it dwindle in the second. Against Arizona last Thursday, the Buffs let a 17-point first-half lead slip away in the second. Regardless of the controversial buzzer-beater call, the fact that the Buffs let the Wildcats pull so close ultimately gave them the chance to steal the win in overtime.

Two days later against Arizona State, the Buffs allowed a 13-point advantage in the first half to turn into a 12-point deficit late in the second. ASU held CU scoreless for more than seven minutes, meanwhile going on an 11-0 run from which the Buffs never recovered.

And while Thursday’s USC matchup finally went CU’s way, that second-half struggle was still a problem. In just seven minutes, the Trojans were able to close CU’s 17-point lead to seven, ensuring the Buffs were kept on their toes until the final buzzer.

“As a team, we have to stay mentally focused for a full 40 minutes,” said lone CU senior Sabatino Chen. “When we get up, we get a little too comfortable and relaxed . . . we have to learn to finish teams when we are up.”

Buff Bits

– Colorado is 1-0 against UCLA in Boulder. Of course, that game was played in 1962, so it won’t have much bearing on today’s game. CU is 0-5 against UCLA in games played in Los Angeles.

– CU has played more games decided by less than ten points than any team in the league, ten, and is 7-3 in those games.

– UCLA has won eight straight games, thanks in large part to getting Shabazz Muhammad in the fold. The freshman wasn’t immediately eligible to play for the Bruins, but, since being cleared, has averaged 18.5 points and five rebounds per game.

– The other Bruin to look out for is another G/F,  Jordan Adams, who is averaging 16.3 points per game.

January 10th – Boulder         Colorado 66, USC 60

Colorado had double digit first half leads against Arizona and Arizona State, but lost both games on the road in the first weekend of Pac-12 play.

The Buffs took a double digit lead against USC in the first half of its first Pac-12 home game … and tried to give it away again. This time, though, the Buffs held on, defeating the Trojans to record their first Pac-12 victory of the season, a hard-fought 66-60 win.

Josh Scott, connecting on six-of-seven from the field, led the Buffs with 14 points. Askia Booker added 12, while Andre Roberson chipped in 11 points (and eight rebounds). Sabatino Chen, the only senior on the team, contributed his fine recent play, posting ten points to go with four steals.

Colorado opened poorly against USC, falling behind 17-10 in the first eight minutes (perhaps the Buffs were thrown off missing Andre Roberson, who was not in the starting lineup for the first time all season because he overslept and missed a team function. Ironically enough, Roberson wound up playing more minutes – 32 – than any other player on the team).

A three-pointer by little used guard Eli Stalzer, though, sparked a 7-0 run by the Buffs to tie the game. The remainder of the first half was controlled by the Buffs, with Colorado out-scoring USC 24-9 to take a 41-26 halftime lead.

All seemed well for the Buffs, as USC had a 17-game road losing streak coming into the game, including a nine game conference road losing streak. The first win of the Pac-12 campaign seemed all but assured.

But the Trojans forgot to read the script.

USC opened the second half with a 10-2 to cut the Colorado lead to seven at 43-36. A Josh Scott jumper, to go with free throws by Spencer Dinwiddie and Xavier Johnson pushed the lead back up to 48-36 with 13 minutes to play.

Two Andre Roberson layups and a traditional three-point play by Askia Booker righted the ship, and the Buffs were back to their halftime advantage of fifteen points at 55-40. After the Trojans committed their 20th turnover of the game, Sabatino Chen moved into double figures with ten points with a layup. Timeout, USC. Colorado 57, USC 40.

A three-pointer by the Trojans was offset by a teardrop basket by Askia Booker. At the under eight timout, taken with 6:28 to play, the lead was 16 – Colorado 59, USC 43.

A three-pointer by USC cut the lead to 13 after Xavier Johnson missed two free throws, with Josh Scott making one of two to give him 14 of CU’s 60 points.

A free throw and a three-pointer by the Trojans, and, all of the sudden, it was a ten point game with 3:42 to play.

An Askia Booker three-pointer, the first of the second half for the Buffs, restored the breath to the Events Center crowd, giving CU a 13-point lead at the three minute mark. USC connected on its sixth three-pointer of the game to make the lead ten, with a turnover and a layup by the Trojans giving USC a quick 5-0 run. Colorado 63, USC 55, with 1:31 to play.

The question now became whether CU, which had made only 13-0f -24 free throws, could close out the game. A turnover on an inbounds play made Buffs recall the Texas Southern game, when the Buffs committed multiple turnovers down the stretch … but an illegal screen on USC gave CU back the ball.

Askia Booker missed a floater, but a three-point attempt was missed by the Trojans. Andre Roberson was fouled, making one out of two. Colorado 64, USC 55.

A quick basket by USC made the new score 64-57, but now only 30 seconds remained.

A breakaway layup by Askia Booker sealed the deal, with a final three pointer pulling the Trojans to its closest margin of the second half, but it was not enough.

Final score: Colorado 66, USC 60

“I guess part of league play is you have to find a way to win even when you don’t play your best basketball,” said Tad Boyle. “I think if there is a positive, it’s that we didn’t play our best tonight, especially in the second half, first half I was very pleased. The second half wasn’t very good. Thank God for Sabatino Chen and for Josh Scott, I thought those guys played exceptionally well. We had some other good moments but those two kids picked us up when we needed to be picked up. We will learn from this like we learn from every game that we play, these young guys have got to grow up quick before Saturday at noon because we have UCLA coming in here and everybody knows what they are about.”

On F Andre Roberson Not Starting … “He over slept for a team function, that is just what we do. If you are a starter, you don’t start, if you are a sub you miss a rotation. It is not a big deal, Andre is a great kid and he doesn’t have a habit of that. It was just something that we did and will move on, so no big deal.”

On If There Are Any Positives Of USC Coming Back … “Hopefully our guys understand that we have to play a full forty minutes. We talked about it after the Arizona trip, we talked about it before the game tonight, we talked about it after the game and we are going to have to talk about it again Saturday, or else UCLA will come in here and beat us. It is as simple as that. It is not rocket science that we are trying to figure out here, it is college basketball. If our team was a team that had never played offense like we are capable, or we never had great possessions, or great runs, and if we are a team that can’t guard the post or the ball then I would be worried, but we are not. We are a team that has shown we can do those things in stretches, but to beat great teams you have to do it for forty minutes, that doesn’t mean you have to play perfect basketball, but in terms of playing smart and not putting the ball in jeopardy late in the game, throwing the ball to a USC defender when we have one timeout left, taking a three after a missed shot when we have the full shot clock and we need to be working the clock, you name it and we made a lot of mistakes mentally. We better figure that out as a young team. Experience is the best teacher, we didn’t handle very well down the stretch and they were out of timeouts thank goodness. We have to make free throws, it has cost us one game and it will cost us more if we don’t figure it out.”

Buff Bits

– Colorado has taken a 4-3 all-time edge in the series with USC, including 3-0 in games played in Boulder.

– The announced attendance was 10,344 – the sixth time in seven home games in which CU has topped 10,000.

– The 11-4 start matches the start of last year’s team, which wound up winning 24 games.

– The Buffs forced 23 turnovers out of the Trojans, a season-high.

– Colorado had 15 steals on the night, a feat not accomplished since 2006. Spencer Dinwiddie had five steals, the most for any Buff in a game since Alec Burks had five in a 2009 game. Sabatino Chen had a career-high four steals.

– Freshman Eli Stalzer hit a critical three-pointer when USC had built a 17-10 lead. It was his first basket in seven games, and his first three-pointer since the Air Force game.

— Up Next — UCLA (noon, Saturday, Pac-12 Networks)


Preview – Colorado v. USC

The Buffs look to rebound from an 0-2 opening Pac-12 road trip when they take on USC tonight (8:00 p.m., ESPNU). USC is 6-9 overall, 1-1 in the league, but has been steeled by a non-conference schedule that Boyle recently called “crazy hard.”

Here’s why: Non-conference losses were to Illinois and Marquette in Maui, San Diego State, at Nebraska, at New Mexico, Minnesota and at Georgia.

The Trojans (6-9, 1-1) defeated Dayton, a team CU also beat at the Charleston Classic, to end a tough non-conference slate before splitting with Stanford (won 71-69) and Cal (lost 72-64).

Point guard Jio Fontan (5.3 apg), forward Eric Wise (11.7 ppg) and 7-footer Dewayne Dedmon (7.1 rpg) lead an athletic roster. USC is last in the Pac-12 in scoring (63.3 ppg) but is holding opponents to 64.3 points per game.

The Buffs, who led Arizona by 17 points and Arizona State by 13 points in the first half, believe they can beat anyone in the conference if they put a 40-minute game together. “I think it starts with the veterans. We have to be better leaders,” said sophomore guard Askia Booker. “I don’t think I’ve been a great leader being vocal to the guys and telling them how it’s going to be.”

It’s a close to a “must-win” as a team can face just three games into an 18-game conference schedule.

“I’m not doing a very good job of being patient. It’s not in my nature,” Boyle said after Wednesday’s practice. “I don’t want to be patient with it. I want this team to continue to improve, and I think we have a special group that can do some things. But they have to understand it’s not going to happen just by showing up, putting on a Colorado uniform and saying, ‘OK, we’ve turned the corner.’

“We haven’t turned the corner. We have a lot of work to do with this program.”

Buff Bits

– The series is tied 3-3, with CU holding a 2-0 edge in Boulder. The last time USC played in Boulder? 1968. CU won in Los Angeles last season, 74-50;

– CU’s four losses have come to teams with a combined record of 53-4;

– Colorado is 38-4 at home under Tad Boyle; 6-0 this season;

– USC has played only three games on the road so far this season, losing all three (1-2 on neutral courts);

– Colorado is No. 6 in the national RPI this week. Only Arizona (No. 4) is higher amongst Pac-12 teams. Four others (UCLA No. 39; Oregon No. 48; Arizona State No. 54; and Cal No. 70) are in the top 75 in the RPI standings.

– Askia Booker, Spencer Dinwiddie, Xavier Johnson and Eli Stalzer are all from Los Angeles

January 8th

No. 23 CU women post first Pac-12 victory

From … Senior Chucky Jeffery scored a season-high 28 points Tuesday night to lead the Colorado women’s basketball team to its first Pac-12 Conference win of the season, 67-57 over Utah at the Coors Events Center.

Jeffery helped key a 20-3 second-half run as the Buffaloes (12-2, 1-2) pulled away from the Utes (9-5, 0-3).

CU sealed the win by hitting five of six free throws in the final 33 seconds, finishing 22-of-26 from the line in the second half and 23-of-28 for the game. The Buffs’ final nine points came from the foul line.

With 12 rebounds, Jeffery also collected the 23rd double-double of her career (third this season). Her 10 field goals also tied a season high, and she was the only CU player in double figures.

Utah’s Michelle Plouffe and Taryn Wicijowski scored 17 points each, with teammate Iwalani Rodrigues adding 12. The Utes have lost four straight and four of their last six.

CU won’t have to put in extensive film study for its next game with Utah. The Buffs play the Utes in Salt Lake City on Saturday (3 p.m.). Last season, CU and Utah split their regular-season series, with each team winning on the road and CU breaking the tie with a win in the Pac-12 tournament.

Freshman Arielle Roberson, who opened her CU career with a school record 14 game run of double digit scoring, was held to eight points on two-of-seven shooting (4-4 on free throws).

January 6th – at Arizona State          Arizona State 65, Colorado 56

How would the Buffs react to the devastating loss at Arizona?

That was the question of the night, as the 10-3 Buffs tipped off against the 12-2 Arizona State Sun Devils.

A step back jumper by Andre Roberson opened the scoring, with the Sun Devils scoring on a layup on an offensive rebound to tie the score two minutes into the contest. Spencer Dinwiddie hit a bank-in three (looking much like the Sabatino Chen banked-in three at the end of the Arizona game) to give the Buffs a 5-2 advantage.

Askia Booker entered the scoring column next, raising the lead to 7-2, which went up to 9-2 on a Josh Scott hook. Timeout, Arizona State, with 15:47 to play in the first half.

A Dinwiddie steal and layup gave CU a 9-0 run, with a goal-tending call giving Dinwiddie another basket and a 13-2 lead for Colorado at the under 16 break.

A layup by Arizona State broke the 11-0 run, but a runout by Askia Booker, followed by a steal and another layup by Booker gave CU a 17-4 advantage. At the 12 minute mark, Colorado was 8-for-14 from the field, while Arizona State was two-for-12 (o-for-6 from behind the arc).

Arizona State’s first three-pointer, and third basket of the game, came at the ten minute mark, with the Sun Devil “run” ending on a basket and foul for Spencer Dinwiddie. The converted free throw restored the thirteen point edge at 20-7, but Xavier Johnson then fouled a shooter on a three point attempt. Three free throws made the new score 20-10, with a dunk giving ASU a 5-0 run after a Chen turnover.

An open jumper by Josh Scott stopped the bleeding, leaving the score at 22-12 at the under eight timeout.

Two free throws brought the lead back down to eight points, with a layup making it a six-point game with 6:16 to play in the half. A basket and a foul for Sabatino Chen made it 25-16, but a three-pointer by ASU erased Chen’s effort.

Askia Booker was then fouled on a three point attempt, with Booker converting two of three to make the score 27-19. A dunk by Arizona State got the Sun Devil crowd back into the game, but Josh Scott got his third basket of the game to push the lead back out to eight.

ASU, which missed its first six three point attempts, made its third in a row. With 3:29 to play in the first half, Arizona State was as close as it had been since the first three minutes, 29-24.

Josh Scott made a long jumper to push the lead back up to seven points, but a dunk by ASU made it a five point game again. A missed three-pointer by Sabatino Chen gave the Sun Devils a chance to make it a one score game, with a jumper doing just that. Colorado 31, Arizona State 28, with a minute to play in the first half.

Yet another dunk – detecting a theme here? – gave ASU center Jordan Bachynksi ten points, and Colorado a one-point lead.

The half ended with a Spencer Dinwiddie jumper, the first points for the Buffs in three minutes of play.

Halftime score: Colorado 33, Arizona State 30

At the half, Colorado’s score sheet was top heavy, with three players posting 28 of CU’s 33 points. Spencer Dinwiddie led the Buffs with 12, with Askia Booker and Josh Scott contributing eight apiece. The Buffs’ two other starters, Sabatino Chen and Andre Roberson, contributed three and two points, respectively, but the CU bench was a combined 0-for-4 from the field.

Arizona State held the rebounding edge against the Buffs, 15-13, with Colorado doing better at steals (7), while Arizona State was good at blocking shots (4).

The Buffs had raced out to a 13-point lead early, but their mettle was again to be tested in the second half, as Arizona State closed the first half with all of the momentum.

Another Bachynksi block (No. 5) gave Arizona State the ball, and the Sun Devils converted on their first opportunity of the second half, pulling to within one point for the first time since the score was tied at 2-all. Andre Roberson then opened the Buffs’ scoring to make the lead three again, at 35-32.

A Sabatino Chen runner was answered by a three-pointer by Arizona State. Colorado 37, Arizona State 35.

Askia Booker moved into double digits with a a jumper, but that was answered quickly on the other end. At the under 16 break, Arizona State had the ball and a chance to tie or take the lead.

A foul on an offensive rebound (ASU’s sixth offensive rebound) gave the Sun Devils a chance to tie. ASU missed both free throws … but offensive rebound No. 7 was a tipin, and the score was tied at 39-all.

With 12:35 to play in the game, Arizona State took its first lead of the game, 41-39, on a put-back layup. The Buffs answered with a Spencer Dinwiddie jumper, with the score tied at the under 12 timeout. Colorado 41, Arizona State 41, with 11:33 to play in the game.

Arizona State hit its fifth three-pointer (to one for CU) to give the Sun Devils a three point lead at the ten minute mark. Spencer Dinwiddie made a basket to cut the lead to one, giving Dinwiddie 16 points for the game.

A layup by the Sun Devils restored a three-point lead for the Sun Devils, with a Xavier Johnson dunk being blocked by Bachynksi giving the ASU crowd more to cheer about. An Xavier Johnson foul (No. 3, to go with 0-for-3 shooting) left the score at 46-43 at the under eight minute break.

Three – count ’em three – offensive rebounds on the Sun Devils’ next possesion led to free throws for ASU. The Sun Devils missed both, though, leaving the lead at three. After the drought continued at the offensive end for Colorado (no points in four minutes of play), Arizona State made a layup to give the Sun Devils their largest lead of the game.

Timeout, Colorado. Arizona State 48, Colorado 43, with 5:21 to play.

Two quick fouls on Askia Booker – one offensive; one defensive – gave Booker four fouls with 4:45 to play. Arizona State made both free throws to make the new score 50-43. After Dinwiddie missed a three (making the Buffs 1-for-12), Arizona State made two free throws to make the run 8-0, with a travel on Roberson pushing the CU drought to five minutes.

A layup and a foul made the new score Arizona State 54, Colorado 43, at the under four timeout.

Colorado, which had a 13-point lead in the first half, was now down double digits, having had 11 shots blocked by Arizona State’s Jordan Bachynksi.

Finally … after a seven-minute drought … Colorado scored on a Xavier Johnson jumper with 2:36 to play. Unfortunately, the scoreboard read 55-45, ASU at the time. The second half scoresheet: Arizona State 25, Colorado 12.

After an ASU free throw, Spencer Dinwiddie converted a three point play to make it an eight point game with two minutes to play.

An ASU free throw was followed by a three-pointer by Askia Booker, making it a six-point game, 57-51. Booker then committed foul numuber five, finishing with 13 points.

Once again, Arizona State made only one of two free throws, giving CU hope. A layup on an offensive rebound made the lead five, 58-53, with 1:11 to play.

This time, the Sun Devils made both free throws, giving ASU a 60-53 lead with 53 seconds to play. Andre Roberson, with 11 rebounds but only four points, made one of two free throws to make it a two possession game, but now only 38 seconds remained.

Arizona State made its free throws down the stretch, with Colorado never making the ASU fans nervous about the outcome.

Final Score: Arizona State 65, Colorado 56.

 “Well, it’s not how we prepared or came out of the blocks, we were ready to go tonight,” said Tad Boyle. “What our guys need to understand is that it is a forty-minute game. I thought we might have learned that against Arizona when we played them pretty good for about 37-38 minutes, but tonight it was just 11. Our offense left us in the second half, we couldn’t make a shot, they punched everything away at the rim, and we couldn’t make a jump shot; we were 2-for-19 from three-point range. What that does is puts a lot of pressure on your defense and we’re not good enough right now. We’re not good enough defensively, we’re not good enough at rebounding, were just not. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves when we can’t score. But, this is a disappointing loss because this is a team we could have won against but we didn’t, so we need to figure some things out.

I don’t know how long we were stuck 43 (points – seven minutes), but holy cow, it felt like forever and that was the one where we got good shots, we got it to the rim, but they punched it. They blocked Josh (Scott’s) shot, they blocked Andre (Roberson’s) shot, they blocked Xavier (Johnson’s) shot, they blocked Spencer (Dinwiddie’s) shot, I mean you just name it. We turned it over, we had offensive fouls, we’ve got to play with more poise on offense. But, with that being said, with 56 points you have to figure out a way to win on the road. When you shoot 26 percent in the second half you put a lot of pressure on your defense. We did that tonight and we’re just not where we need to be. This was a frustrating loss because, again, we came out of the blocks up 17-4 feeling good about ourselves but we have to handle adversity better and that is where we are not good enough yet. It reminded me a little bit of Wyoming there in the second half.”

Buff Bits

– CU missed 13 straight 3‐pointers between making their second (Dinwiddie) and 15th (Booker) tries …Trailing 44‐43, Colorado was held scoreless for 7:12 (going 0‐of‐13 from the field) with ASU going on an 11‐0 run to move ahead 55‐43 with 2:36 to go …CU countered with a 10‐3 run to pull to within 58‐53 with 1:11 left.

– Arizona State had a season‐opponent high 13 blocked shots, nine by Jordan Bachynski; prior to tonight, no opponent had more than 8 as a team …Those blocks and probably at least a dozen more altered led to CU shooting a season‐low 35.3 percent from the field (24‐of‐68).

– Colorado was 5-of-7 from the free throw line, the fewest free throws it shot in a game this season (fewest had been 7‐of‐15 against Northern Arizona; second fewest makes to 4‐of‐18 against Baylor)



January 6th – Boulder           No. 7 Cal women 53, No. 20 Colorado women 49

The Colorado women’s team has had less than 48 hours to get over the big home loss to No. 4 Stanford. The No. 7 Cal Bears came to Boulder on Sunday, and the No. 20 Buffs gave the Bears a game. In a game with nine ties and nine lead changes, the Bears finally pulled away late to win, 53-49.

Chucky Jeffrey led the Buffs with 13 points and eight rebounds, with Arielle Roberson scoring in double digits for the 13th straight game (11 points, to go with six rebounds), but the Buffs overall could not overcome 17 turnovers in falling to 0-2 in Pac-12 play.

The Cal game started poorly for Colorado, as the Bears scored on their first possession, with Chucky Jeffrey missing the rim with her first attempt. A short jumper a few moments later by Rachel Hargis tied the score, then, after a traveling call on the Bears, Hargis converted a three point play with a basket and a free throw to give Colorado an early 5-2 lead.

Two missed free throws by Cal kept the Bears scoreless since the opening minute, but two quick scores on their next two possessions gave the Bears a 6-5 lead at the under 16 break.

A three-pointer by Cal gave the Bears a 7-0 run, stopped by a Jen Reese jumper to make the new score 9-7, Cal. A Lexy Kresl jumper tied the score with 14:30 to play, with Bear star player Brittany Boyd going down with a knee injury to stop the action. Both teams went cold, with the score remaining tied at 9-9 at the under 12 timeout.

Meagan Malcom-Peck gave Colorado a 12-9 lead with the Buffs’ first three-pointer of the game, but the Bears answered with their first field goal in their past seven attempts, then took the lead, 13-12, with another layup.

At the under eight break, Cal retained a one-point lead, with neither team (Cal, 6-15, .400; CU 5-17, .294) shooting well from the field. The Buffs’ leading scorers, Chucky Jeffrey and Arielle Roberson, were a combined 0-5 from the field.

Misses by both teams continued before Lexy Kresl was fouled shooting a three-pointer. Kresl made all three to give CU at 15-13 lead at 6:55. The Buffs couldn’t make it a run, though, as Cal made a layup on its next possession to tie the game.

A turnover after a rebound led to a technical foul on Cal, with Lexy Kresl converting one of the two free throws. The possession became a four-point possession when Arielle Roberson made his first basket – a three-pointer – to give CU a 19-15 lead. A Brittany Boyd jumper for Cal stopped the run, with the Buffs’ eighth turnover of the first half giving the ball back to Cal at the under eight break.

Both teams hit double digits before either team scored again, as sloppy play – or good defense – was the rule.

A three-pointer by Cal gave the Bears a 20-19 lead, with a layup making the run 7-0, and the Cal lead 22-19. Chucky Jeffrey tied the score with her first basket of the game, a three-pointer, with two minutes left in the half.

A jumper by Cal restored the Bear lead at 24-22, with a layup by Roberson tying the score again at 24-all at the half.

Halftime score: No. 20 Colorado 24, No. 7 Cal 24

Considering the Buffs had weathered two 7-0 runs by Cal, and its two stars were not scoring, a tie score was a good halftime result. The CU women were 8-for-25 from the field (.320), but the Buffs were holding the Bears to .427 shooting (11-for-26) to keep the game close.

At the break, both teams had 15 rebounds, both with four offensive rebounds. Both teams had 10 turnovers, seven fouls, and each had a largest lead of … four points.

A pretty even game.

Chucky Jeffrey, held to three points in the first half, opened the second half with two layups to give CU a 28-24 lead in the first minute of the second half. A three-pointer by Cal star Brittany Boyd made it a one-point game again, but a steal and a layup by Chucky Jeffrey made the score 30-27, Colorado.

Another three-pointer by Cal, though, tied the score at 30-all.

An Ashley Wilson layup off of an assist by Chucky Jeffrey brought about a Cal timeout with 17:08 to play. Colorado 32, Cal 30.

A basket by Cal created the eighth tie of the game. At the under 16 break, taken at the 14:50 mark, the scoreboard was knotted at 32-32.

A layup gave Cal its first lead of the second half, with the Buffs going cold (0-for-6) allowing Cal the opportunity to build a lead. Two free throws made the Cal run 6-0, and the Bears’ lead 36-32. A layup by Jen Reese stopped the bleeding, but a basket and a foul gave Cal a three-point opportunity. The free throw was missed, though, leaving the lead at four.

Rachel Hargis made one of two free throws to cut the lead to three, with Arielle Roberson being fouled on a made basket on the Buffs’ next possession. Roberson made the free throw to tie the score at 38-all, but a pair of free throws by Brittany Boyd gave Cal back the lead at 40-38. After another free throw by the Bears made the score 41-38 at the under eight timeout.

A mid-range jumper gave Cal the largest lead for either team at five points, with a foul after two offensive rebounds giving Cal free throws. The Bears made one of two to create a six point bulge, 44-38.

A basket in the lane gave Cal an 8-0 run and an eight point lead, 46-38, with six minutes to play. Timeout, Colorado.

The Buffs, 2-for-16 after starting the second half well, finally scored with Jen Reese breaking a five minute drought to make it a six point game. The Cal lead was cut in half in the Buffs’ next possession with a three-pointer by Andre Roberson. Timeout, Cal, with 4:44 to play. Cal 46, Colorado 43.

Brittany Boyd made one of two free throws, but the Bears picked up the offensive rebound on the miss, scoring to make it a six-point game again at the under four break. Cal 49, Colorado 43.

A free throw after the break gave Cal a seven point lead at 50-43. The Buffs’ 15th turnover allowed Cal another chance to raise the lead. A foul on the offensive rebound, Cal’s 13th, resulted in another made free throw as Cal matched its largest lead at eight with less than three minutes to play.

Chucky Jeffrey joined Arielle Roberson in double figures at 11 with a layup. 51-45, Cal, with two minutes to play.

Chucky Jeffrey made another basket on a run out after a Cal miss, but the game clock was now under a minute. A Rachel Hargis block led to a Brittany Wilson short jumper. The Buffs now had a 6-0 lead, and the Cal lead was down to two … but only 16 seconds remained.

CU fouled on the inbounds play, with Cal missing both … but … the missed free throw resulted in a jump ball. Possession arrow: Cal.

The Buffs again fouled, this time with ten seconds to play. Cal’s Layshia Clarendon, who missed two seconds earlier, made one of two to make it a three point game at 52-49.

Colorado’s Chucky Jeffrey took the ball … and dribbled the ball out of bounds without a shot being taken.

Cal then was fouled … missing both! … but Cal … AGAIN! … got the offensive rebound. A made free throw made the final spread four points.

Final score: No. 7 Cal 53, No. 7 Colorado 49.


January 5th

Preview – No. 20 Colorado v. No. 7 Cal

The CU women’s basketball team has no time to lick their wounds over a thumping by No. 4 Stanford, as No. 7 Cal comes to town Sunday for a noon tipoff. (Program Note: Once again, if you don’t get the Pac-12 Networks, you can check in here at CU at the Game for continuous live updates).

THE GAME: No. 20 (AP)/25 (USAT) ranked University of Colorado hosts No. 7 (AP & USAT) ranked University of California in a Pac-12 Conference game on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, at 12 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.

BROADCAST: Sunday’s game will be televised nationally on the Pac-12 Network. Anne Marie Anderson will handle play-by-play duties with Rosalyn Gold-Owunde providing the color commentary. Sunday’s game will be broadcast live on KKZN AM 760. Mike Rice will have the play-by-play with Carol Callan of USA Basketball providing the color commentary.

OPENING TIP: California and Colorado rank 1-2 in the Pac-12 in rebounding defense and 1-3 in scoring offense and rebound margin.

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado dropped a 57-40 decision in its Pac-12 Conference opener to No. 4 (AP)/3 (USAT) Stanford on Friday. The loss snapped CU’s 11-game winning streak to begin the season. The Buffaloes 11-0 start was the fourth-best in team history and ties for their eighth best overall winning streak. Colorado’s loss drops the remaining undefeated teams in NCAA Division I to two: No. 1 UConn and No. 3/4 Duke.

Colorado finished the nonconference regular season with an 84-39 win over New Mexico on Dec. 29. The win clinched the Buffaloes’ second consecutive perfect nonconference season, and third in school history (1992-93). Colorado will continue a string of 24 nonconference regular season wins into next season. The Buffaloes are 31-4 in the nonconference season under head coach Linda Lappe.

Despite a season-low 40-point output against Stanford, Colorado’s offense has played well overall, averaging 71.4 points per game, ranking third in the Pac-12. The Buffaloes have hit the 80-point barrier in three of the last five contests. CU is shooting 43 percent from the field, and 47 percent inside the 3-point arc. Colorado has shared the ball well averaging 14.5 assists per game, and it has come from a multitude of players. Seven Buffaloes are already in double-figures for assists through 12 games. Colorado also has held a sizeable advantage in rebounds, and ranked sixth in NCAA Division I through games of Dec. 30.

Defensively, the Buffaloes are holding teams to 54.8 points per game on 35.2 percent from the field. Colorado ranks in the top five of the Pac-12 in 16 of 21 statistical categories, including second in rebounding defense (31.6 rpg) and turnover margin (+3.1).

Tad Boyle calls for a ban on instant replay

From ESPN …

It’s fair to say Colorado coach Tad Boyle was frustrated by the officials’ decision to use an inconclusive replay of a potential game-winning 3-pointer to reverse an on-court call at the end of Thursday’s game against Arizona.

How frustrated?

Enough that he wants college basketball to take a dramatic step: Don’t go to the monitor to decide a game on such a close call.

“Get rid of instant replay,” Boyle told by phone from Tucson. “In basketball, football, human error is part of our game. If human error is part of the game, let the officials call the game. Players, coaches and officials will make mistakes. It’s part of the game.

“We spend all this money on replays and we still can’t get it right. Get rid of it.”

Boyle hadn’t seen the replay of Sabatino Chen’s buzzer-beating 3-point bank shot until well after the game.

The shot, waved off by officials after a lengthy review, would have handed the Buffaloes a stunning 83-80 victory over No. 3 Arizona in the Pac-12 opener in Tucson.

Instead, Arizona completed a 17-point comeback to win 92-83 in overtime and remain undefeated.

“After the game, I was disappointed in myself and in the way we played down the stretch, but I hadn’t seen the replay,” Boyle said. “That was like a shot to the gut. We’re going to move on and not cry about it and not complain about it, and we’ll take it like men and hopefully get better.”

Pac-12 coordinator of officials Ed Rush issued the following statement on Friday:

“Game officials reviewed video replays of the end of regulation in accordance with NCAA playing rules and determined the ball was still on the shooters’ fingertips when the official game clock on the floor expired. Per Conference protocol, the officials conducted a thorough review court side and viewed multiple angles of the play before confirming the ruling. I have reviewed the video replays and agree with the ruling.”

January 4th – Boulder        No. 4 Stanford 57, No. 20 Colorado 40

The Colorado men’s basketball program almost exorcised several long time demons in its upset bid against No. 3 Arizona. One night later, it was the women’s Buff team’s turn.

The obstacle? No. 4 Stanford.

Not only was the Cardinal coming to town with 12 straight conference championships to their credit, with five straight Final Four appearances, but 79 … count ’em … 79 straight conference victories, dating back to 2009.

Pac-12 conference play did not start well for the undefeated Buffs. The Colorado women’s team, which opened the 2011-12 undefeated in non-conference play, only to stumble to a 6-12 Pac-12 record, looked like the 2012-13 season would be a repeat …

Stanford hit a three-pointer in its first possession, then forced a turnover in the Buffs’ first possession. The score was up to 5-0 before CU got a shot above the rim, with two turnovers and two blocked shots keeping the Buffs scoreless.

Rachel Hargis finally got the Buffs on the board almost four minutes in, with the score at the first break 5-2, Stanford.

A basket after the break gave Stanford a five point lead, extended to seven with 14:30 to play in the half. A breakaway layup by Stanford made the score 11-2, as the Buffs looked completely out of sync. Another basket by the Cardinal prompted a time out by Colorado. With 12:53 to play, the score was 13-2, Stanford.

With Colorado still unable to score, Stanford got another layup. At the under 12 break, it was 15-2, Stanford.

Stats sometime tell it all … Colorado opened 1-for-15 from the field, with Stanford posting three times as many blocks (6) as Colorado had points (2).

Two free throws by Stanford gave the Cardinal a 12-0 before Chucky Jeffrey got her first points of the game. Stanford picked up an easy layup off of a CU turnover to make the new score 19-4 before Chucky Jeffrey got CU’s third basket in 19 attempts. The Cardinal responded with a basket of their own, but Chucky Jeffrey got her third basket in a row to get the score to 21-8 at the under eight break.

Stanford hit two free throws to make the lead 15 again, but the Buffs finally got to double digits in points on a Chucky Jeffrey layup. After a turnover by Stanford, Chucky Jeffrey missed two free throws and turned the ball over on two consecutive possessions as the senior tried to do everything for the listless Buffs.

After two offensive rebounds gave Stanford a third shot at the goal, the Cardinal hit two free throws to make the new score 25-10, at the under four minute break.

Colorado was playing decent defense (Stanford was only 9-21 from the field, 1-5 from behind the arc), but the rebounding edge of 19-8 was making it tough on the Buffs to make a game of it.

Stanford missed its first free throw after making its first seven attempts, but – surprise! – got the offensive rebound. The Buffs then forced turnover No. 9, with Jen Reese finally getting her first points of the game to make the score 26-12. A mid-range jumper restored the Cardinal’s largest lead of 16 points. Jen Reese was fouled, but missed both free throws (making CU 0-for-4 from the line).

Arielle Roberson got her first points of the game with 1:27 to play in the first half. Two missed free throws by Stanford gave CU a chance at a “run”, but a traveling call gave the ball back to Stanford. A three-pointer gave Stanford its largest lead of the half …

Halftime score: No. 4 Stanford 31, No. 20 Colorado 14

The halftime stats were as ugly as one might have expected … Colorado was 7-of-25 from the field, 0-for-6 from three-point range, 0-for-4 from the free throw line.

A Lexy Kresl air ball was followed by a Stanford layup as the second half opened in much the same manner as the first. A missed three pointer by Kresl was followed by another layup for the Cardinal, and the lead topped 20 points for the first time at 35-14.

Colorado missed its first seven shots of the second half, before Arielle Roberson made a layup, being fouled in the process. With the traditional three point play, Colorado had its first made free throw of the game. When Chucky Jeffrey made one of two free throws a moment later, Colorado had its first “run” – of four points – of the game. Stanford then scored on its next possession to make the new score 37-18.

A Jen Reese jumper brought the lead back to 17 points at the under 16 break … 37-20 with 14:52 to play in the game.

A steal and a basket by Jasmine Sborov gave CU a new scorer, but the momentum was halted as Stanford hit a pair of free throws to make the second half score 8-8.

CU’s problems from the line continued (2-of-9) as Arielle Roberson missed two free throws, with Stanford pushing the lead back up to 19 before Chucky Jeffrey hit the Buffs first three-pointer of the game.

A CU run? No. Stanford answered with a basket of its own. Stanford 43-25 at the under 12 break.

Two made free throws (wow!) by Jamee Swan got Colorado to 27 points for the game, but that was quickly answered by a layup by Stanford.

Ashley Wilson made one of two free throws to make the deficit – 17 – the same as it was at halftime, but was called for a charge on the Buffs’ next possession.

Jamee Swan score the next basket of the game to push Colorado above 30 points, but – again – Stanford answered. Stanford 47, Colorado 30, with 5:50 to play.

Arielle Roberson made two free throws to give her seven points (she entered the game with double digits in every game she had played in her freshman season) to again cut the lead to 15, but – again – Stanford answered. Alexus Atchley made her first basket of the game to make the new score 49-34, but now only 3:54 remained.

Arielle Roberson missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Chucky Jeffrey converted a conventional three-point play to bring the Buffs to within 12 points for the first time since early in the first half.

Stanford hit an open jumper to kill any Buff momentum. Arielle Roberson then made one of two free throws to make the score 51-38 with just under three minutes to play, but Stanford scored on a pair of easy layups to restore the halftime 17 point lead.

Roberson got to double digits with a basket with 58 seconds to play to preserve the double digit scoring streak, but the ten points came on 3-of-11 shooting (0-for-2 from three-point range) and only four-of-eight from the free throw line.

A layup by Stanford – what else? – closed out a 26-all second half.

Final Score: No. 4 Stanford 57, No. 20 Colorado 40.

Chucky Jeffrey had 17 points to lead the Buffs, with Roberson adding ten, but the stats were otherwise very poor.

Colorado finished the game 15-52 from the field (.288) with 1-of-12 from three point range and only 9-of-19 from the free throw line. The Buffs were out-rebounded 37-23, and committed 14 turnovers.

— Up next — A date with No. 7 Cal (Sunday, noon MT, Pac-12 Networks) …

Preview – No. 20 Colorado v. No. 4 Stanford

Here we go again. Another day, another tough challenge for a CU basketball team. With the controversial loss in overtime to Arizona still on everyone’s minds, the women’s team prepare for their own top five challenge, at home against No. 4 Stanford. While it is true that Colorado is the only undefeated team left in the Pac-12, and one of only five undefeated teams in the nation, it is Stanford which has won the conference 12 consecutive seasons, is a regular in the Final Four, and has been picked to repeat as champions this season.

Colorado, meanwhile, was picked to finish ninth in the conference.

THE GAME: No. 20 (AP)/25 (USAT) ranked University of Colorado opens the 2013 Pac-12 Conference season by hosting defending league champion and No. 4 (AP)/3 (USAT) ranked Stanford University on Friday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.

BROADCAST: Friday will mark the Pac-12 Network debut for the Buffaloes, their first of nine regular season games scheduled for the network. Friday’s game will be broadcast live on KKZN AM 760. (Program Note: If you can’t make it to the game, and don’t have the Pac-12 Network package, you can check in here at CU at the Game for continuous updates throughout the game).

OPENING TIP: Of Colorado’s 14 all-time wins over top 10 teams, three, and the most, have come against Stanford (1993, 2002 NCAA Tournaments, 1990-91 preseason).

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 11-0 for the fourth time in team history and the second-straight year after finishing the nonconference regular season with an 84-39 win over New Mexico on Dec. 29. The win clinched the Buffaloes’ second consecutive perfect nonconference season, and third in school history (1992-93). Colorado is one of only three remaining unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I joining No. 1 UConn and No. 3/4 Duke. Colorado will continue a string of 24 nonconference regular season wins into next season. The Buffaloes are 31-4 in the nonconference season under head coach Linda Lappe.

Colorado’s offense has played well, averaging 74.3 points per game, ranking second in the Pac-12. The Buffaloes have improved that number to 79.5 points over the last four games, hitting the 80-point barrier in three of those four contests. CU is shooting 45 percent from the field, and 48 percent inside the 3-point arc. Colorado has shared the ball well averaging 15.3 assists per game, and it has come from a multitude of players. Seven Buffaloes are already in double-figures for assists through 11 games. Colorado also has held a sizeable advantage in rebounds (+14.4 rpg), and ranked sixth in NCAA Division I through games of Dec. 30.

Defensively, the Buffaloes are holding teams to 54.6 points per game on 34.2 percent from the field. Colorado ranks in the top five of the Pac-12 in 17 of 21 statistical categories, including second in scoring, rebounding defense (30.7 rpg), assists and turnover margin (+3.2).

Redshirt freshman forward Arielle Roberson leads Colorado and ranks seventh in the Pac-12 in scoring at 15.7 points per game. A three-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, Roberson also ranks second on the team in rebounding (6.1 rpg) and field-goal percentage (.521). She scored 18 points in the win over New Mexico, giving her a school record 11th consecutive game scoring in double-figures to begin her CU career. Along with her scoring success, Roberson ranks ninth in field-goal percentage, 11th in offensive rebounds (3.0 orpg), and 19th in overall rebounds on the Pac-12 leaderboard.

January 3rd  – at Arizona          No. 3 Arizona 92, Colorado 83 OT

Colorado tried its best to break two 40-year old streaks, but in the end, fell in overtime, 92-83 to No. 3 Arizona. A Sabatino Chen three-pointer at the buzzer appeared on replays to be out of his hand with one-tenth of a second still on the clock, but the buzzer-beater was waived off, sending the game into overtime.

Shown a replay of Chen’s trey before his postgame interview with KOA Radio, CU coach Tad Boyle said, “That just makes me sick to my stomach . . . I’m sick to my stomach because I think our team deserved to win that game. But we didn’t and we have to move on from it.”

The Buffs led throughout, taking leads of 17 points in the first half, and 16 in the second half, but missed free throws (five of eight free throws were missed in the last 1:48 of regulation) doomed the young Buffs to a frustrating defeat.

Here is a photo showing the ball out of Chen’s hands at .01 … but … the clock above the basket reads 0.00 … but … the red light around the backboard isn’t on … but …

chen basket








Perhaps this photo is even better …

chen basket - 2








Anyway …

The odds were against the Buffs from the start, with no Colorado team having defeated a ranked opponent on the road since 1973, and having failed to win a conference opener on the road since 1969.

Still, a layup by freshman Xavier Johnson, who got the start over Sabatino Chen, got the Buffs off to a good start. A dunk by Arizona was followed by a floater by Spencer Dinwiddie to restore the Buffs’ lead.

A three-pointer by Arizona gave the Wildcats their only lead of regulation at 5-4, but Josh Scott became the third Buff scorer to restore the lead to Colorado. One out of two free throws by Arizona tied the game at the 16:49 mark, but Askia Booker connected on a three-pointer to give the Buffs a 9-6 lead at the first break.

Xavier Johnson missed two free throws, but after an offensive foul on the Wildcats, Spencer Dinwiddie hit a jumper to up the lead to five at 11-6. A free throw by Arizona stopped the CU run at five points, but a fast break layup by Sabatino Chen gave CU a six point lead at 13-7 with 13 minutes to play in the first half … and a timeout by Arizona. A foul by Arizona on Askia Booker stopped the clock at 11:25 with the score the same … a six point lead for Colorado.

At the under 12 break, Colorado was 6-for-11 from the field, while Arizona was 2-of-10. The Buffs had forced five turnovers, with only two turnovers themselves.

Askia Booker made two free throws out of the break to give CU its first eight point lead, 15-7. An Andre Roberson offensive rebound led to a three-pointer by Askia Booker, and the CU run reached 13-2. A few moments later, Booker hit another three, and the sold out McKale Center was stunned as Arizona called another time out. Colorado 21, Arizona 7, with 8:53 to play.

Two free throws by Arizona stopped the CU run of ten straight points, with a layup after an offensive rebound putting Arizona into double digits with eight minutes to play. Xavier Johnson, though, answered with a three to give Colorado a 24-11 lead at the under eight break.

Arizona, which went almost nine minutes between baskets, lost a basket on an offensive foul on Wildcat star Solomon Hill, his second of the half.

Xavier Johnson then showed that he earned the start, made a three pointer to give him eight points and Colorado a 27-11 lead. An offensive foul on Spencer Dinwiddie gave him his second foul at the 5:36 mark, sending the Buff scorer to the bench in favor of Sabatino Chen.

A foul on Chen gave Arizona the opportunity to cut into the lead with two made free throws, but Andre Roberson, held scoreless to that point, made a three-pointer as the shot clock expired to give CU its largest margin of the night, a 17-point lead for CU at 30-13.

Arizona then hit its first two threes of the game, sandwiched between a a Xavier Johnson layup. A 6-2 run by Arizona was not great, but it was the best the Wildcats had managed. At the under four break, the score stood at 32-19.

Misses by both teams kept the score at 32-19 before a foul on Josh Scott led to two made free throws by Arizona, and the 18-point lead was down to 11 with two minutes to play in the half. Xavier Johnson was fouled at the other end, making both to give him 12 first half points. A long two-pointer by Arizona answered Scott’s free throws, with a layup by the Wildcats cutting the lead to single digits for the first time in seven minutes of play.

Colorado called a time out to set up the last shot of the half, but Askia Booker lost the ball. A foul by Booker gave CU ten team fouls. Instead of taking a double digit lead into the half, the first half ended with two made free throws by the Wildcats.

Halftime score: Colorado 34, No. 3 Arizona 27.

Glass half empty or half full?

Colorado had a seven point lead at the half, but had given up ten of its once 17-point lead.

The Buffs were hot from three point range, hitting six of nine in the first half, but also had ten team fouls. Three guards – Askia Booker, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Sabatino Chen – all had two fouls at the break.

The story of the first half for the Buffs, though, was freshman Xavier Johnson. Four-of-four from the field, Johnson had 12 points, already closing on his season best 17 points (Northern Arizona). Askia Booker had 11 points, but on three-of-10 shooting. Meanwhile, double-double man Andre Roberson, while collecting six rebounds, had been held to three points, with Spencer Dinwiddie held to four.

Arizona had finished the first half on a 6-0 run, but that run ended with a pair of free throws by Josh Scott. The lead was back up to double digits after a three-pointer by Andre Roberson. Colorado 39, Arizona 27. The Buff run was up to 7-0 after a lob to Roberson led to a dunk and a 14-point CU lead, 41-27.

Arizona’s first basket of the half was a dunk, but that basket was quickly followed by a layup by Josh Scott. A basket and a foul on Andre Roberson gave the Wildcats a traditional three point play, but again CU had an answer, a layup by Spencer Dinwiddie.

A layup by the Wildcats at the other end was followed by the third personal foul on Andre Roberson, forcing the Buffs’ star rebounder out of the game. One of two from the line for the Wildcats made the new score 45-35, with Josh Scott again making his presence known with a layup for the Buffs. An offensive foul – Solomon Hill’s fourth – kept the score at 47-35 at the under 16 break.

A drive and a basket by Sabatino Chen gave the senior a chance at a three point play, which Chen converted. Colorado 50, Arizona 35. Another turnover by Arizona led to a foul on a Spencer Dinwiddie shot, with Dinwiddie making one of two to raise the lead to 16. A layup by the Arizona center stopped the bleeding for the Wildcats, but a floater by Booker restored the Buff 16-point lead, 53-37, with 13 minutes to play.

A three-pointer for Arizona rattled home, prompting a CU timeout with 13:07 to play. Colorado 53, Arizona 40.

How to answer a three-pointer? With a three-pointer, of course, this time by Sabatino Chen. A quick basket by Arizona but the lead to 14, with a three-pointer by the Wildcats giving Arizona a 5-0 run, cutting the lead to 11. After an Askia Booker missed a jumper, Arizona was fouled. Two free throws made the run 7-0, and put the lead back under single digits at 56-47. A steal and a layup brought Arizona back to its halftime deficit of seven, with the McKale Center crowd as  loud as it had been all night.

Sabatino Chen, though, hit a three to temporarily silence the crowd. Chen’s three-pointer gave the senior a season-high 11 points, and the Buffs an unconscious 75% conversion rate from three point land (nine-of-12).

A turnover by Arizona led to a long jumper by Josh Scott, and, all of the sudden, CU had a 5-0 run of its own. Colorado 61, Arizona 49, with 8:56 to play.

A long rebound led to Arizona’s first fast break points of the night (by Solomon Hill, back in with four fouls). Josh Scott, though, upped his point total to 12 with a basket, followed by an offensive putback by Arizona. Colorado 63, Arizona 53.

An offensive rebound by Andre Roberson led to a foul on his putback. Roberson made one of two to give CU an 11-point lead, but the lead went back inside double digits after a layup by Arizona. A miss by Xavier Johnson gave Arizona a chance to make a run of its own, with a three-pointer making it a six point game for the first time since midway through the first half.

A foul on the offensive end by Shane Harris-Tunks gave the ball back to Arizona. A foul by Josh Scott gave Arizona a chance at free throws, with the Wildcats missing both, but … Andre Roberson fumbled the rebound, giving the ball back to Arizona.

A steal by Spencer Dinwiddie, back in the game with his four fouls, led to a layup by Sabatino Chen, up to a career-high 13 points. After an Arizona turnover on a Booker steal, Chen had a new career-high at 15 points after a goaltending call. Colorado 68, Arizona 58, with 4:13 to play.

A three-pointer by Arizona cut the lead back to seven, but a running layup by Jeremy Adams, who had sat for the first 35 minutes of the game, left the lead at nine at the under four break. Colorado 70, Arizona 61.

Two free throws made it a seven point game as the clock went under three minutes. The Buffs ran the clock on their next possession, with Askia Booker hitting a three-pointer to make it a ten-point game again. Arizona got a quick basket and a timeout. Colorado 73, Arizona 65 – 2:30 to play.

A turnover by the Buffs gave the Wildcats new hope, but a block by Josh Scott gave the Buffs the ball back. Askia Booker was fouled, with the sophomore posting points 17 and 18 to make it a ten-point game.

A basket and a foul, though, led to a traditional three point play for Arizona. Colorado 75, Arizona 68, with 1:49 to play.

Now it was up to Colorado to take care of the ball and make free throws … and the young Buffs failed to come through.

Spencer Dinwiddie was quickly fouled on the inbounds play after the made Arizona free throw, with Dinwiddie hitting both to restore a nine point lead. The Wildcats were fouled by the Buffs, with Askia Booker picking up his fourth foul. Arizona made both, and the lead was back to seven with only five seconds taken off the clock.

Spencer Dinwiddie was then fouled on the next inbounds play, with Dinwiddie making one of two. Eight point lead; still 1:41 to play.

A three-pointer by Arizona eight seconds later made the score 78-73, with 1:33 still to play. Andre Roberson then turned the ball over, and immediately thereafter committed his fifth foul. Roberson finished with nine points and 11 rebounds, but his foul gave Arizona a chance to score without taking any more time off the clock. One of two free throws by Arizona made the new score 78-74, with Josh Scott fouled on the rebound.

Scott, the best free throw shooter on the team, then missed one of two. 79-74, Colorado. 1:13 left.

A missed layup led to an Askia Booker rebound. Colorado, unable to move the ball past the mid-court line, called its last time out (Arizona was already out of time outs), with :58 seconds to play.

Colorado couldn’t clear the ball on the inbounds, leading to an Arizona layup. A one possession game, 79-76, with 56 seconds still to play.

Spencer Dinwiddie was then fouled on the next possession, missing the first but making the second, to make it 80-76. A layup by Arizona with 30 seconds to play made it a two point game, as close as the game had been since two minutes into the contest. Jeremy Adams was fouled with 16 seconds to play, but the freshman missed both opportunities, giving Arizona a chance for the comeback victory.

A foul  was called on Xavier Johnson 35 feet from the basket with 9.2 seconds to play, giving Arizona a chance to tie the game. The Wildcats made both. Tie score. 80-80.

The Buffs took the ball down, with Sabatino Chen taking the shot at the buzzer. The ball went it in, but the call was reviewed.

After checking the replay, officials … called it … No Good.

Overtime. Tied at 80.

End of Regulation: Colorado 80, No. 3 Arizona 80.

Colorado opened overtime without the services of Andre Roberson, who had already fouled out, with Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker at four fouls apiece.

Josh Scott opened the overtime with a layup, but a layup by Arizona tied the score. A foul on the play gave Arizona its first chance at a lead since it was 5-4, with the Wildcats converting. Arizona 83, Colorado 82.

Xavier Johnson was fouled on a put back, with the freshman making one of two to tie the score at 83-all. A put  back on a missed layup gave Arizona its biggest lead of the game at two points, 85-83 with three minutes to play in overtime.

A CU turnover gave Arizona the ball with the lead, but the Wildcats missed a three point attempt. Xavier Johnson missed a three point attempt at the other end, giving Arizona the ball with less than two minutes to play.

Arizona then missed a three pointer, with Sabatino Chen missing both free throw attempts after being fouled on a layup attempt. A foul on a layup gave Arizona a four-point lead and a free throw with just over a minute to play. The converted three point play gave Arizona a five point lead. Arizona 88, Colorado 83.

A missed three pointer by Sabatino Chen was rebounded by Arizona. The Buffs were now forced to foul, and the Wildcats were up to the challenge.

Two made free throws gave Arizona,  which had only one lead in regulation, 5-4, a seven point lead. Two more free throws by the Wildcats with the game no longer in doubt made it a 12-3 overtime.

Final Score: No. 3 Arizona 92, Colorado 83 OT

Five CU players scored in double figures, topped by Askia Booker’s 18. Freshman Josh Scott and Chen scored 15 each – a career-high for Chen – while Johnson had 13 and Spencer Dinwiddie 11.

Arizona’s Mark Lyons, who sent the game into overtime with a pair of free throws with 9.2 seconds left in regulation, led all scorers with 24 points. He made all 10 of his free throw attempts, while CU hit 17-of-29. In the final 1:44 of regulation, holding a seven-point lead, the Buffs made only three of eight free throw attempts.

“You have to look at the free throws,” Boyle said. “We shot 58 percent for the game; we got away with that earlier in the year at times but tonight we didn’t get away with it, it cost us the game. And I’m not talking any one guy, I’m talking about as a team. So, you’ve got to look at what you can do better, and that is what we can do.”

CU committed only 11 turnovers, but four of them came in the final 2 minutes when Arizona was catching up. Counting the 5 extra minutes, the Wildcats outscored the Buffs 22-5 in the final 6:44. Boyle said he thought his team “got a little soft defensively at the end. Second half they shot 60 percent from the field and we’re one stop away from that game, we’re one or two free throws away from that game . . .

“I asked our guys to play hard, play smart, and to play together. I thought we played hard, I thought we played together, I thought at times we didn’t play smart and those are the things we have to learn as a young team on the road in an environment like this.”

Tad Boyle’s post-game comments:

“First of all, I am very proud of our team, we had that game won in a lot of different ways. I just saw the replay that you guys just showed me and that just makes me sick to my stomach. But you know what, you have to look at what you can do better, and defensively at the end I thought we got a little soft. Second half they shot 60 percent from the field and we’re one stop away from that game, we’re one or two free throws away from that game. You have to look at the free throws, we shot 58 percent for the game; we got away with that earlier in the year at times but tonight we didn’t get away with it, it cost us the game. And I’m not talking any one guy, I’m talking about as a team. So, you’ve got to look at what you can do better, and that is what we can do. I asked our guys to play hard, play smart, and to play together. I thought we played hard, I thought we played together, I thought at times we didn’t play smart and those are the things we have to learn as a young team on the road in an environment like this. But I’m sick to my stomach because I think our team deserved to win that game, but we didn’t, and we have to move on from it. We’re not going to move on as ‘oh we’re going to forget about it and move on’, we’re going to remember this because you have to remember this feeling. If it doesn’t hurt in the pit of your stomach and you’re not a little bit pissed off then something is wrong with you.”

On Taking Something Positive Away  – “There are a lot of positives and our guys, their mental makeup, their toughness, their belief in themselves, playing together and playing hard, it was a thing of beauty. Again, I cannot fault our team for effort, I think our execution at times was really, really good. Games like this come down to one or two plays and you can look at it on offense, you can look it on defense but there are a lot of positive things to build on. This was an opportunity to be probably one of the best regular season wins in this programs history. To have it so close and to have it slip away really, really hurts. The challenge now is that we have to bounce back. We have challenged this team after every loss and they have risen to the challenge and there is no reason to think that they won’t (continue to). But, as a coaching staff, you have to make sure that we are dialed in mentally and emotionally for Arizona State because when you go on the road you have to overcome a lot of things that are going to happen, whether it is the crowd, whether it is the whistle, or whatever. That was a hell of a game, and you have to credit Arizona, they never gave up, this is a tough team and they are No. 3 in the country for a reason. But, we had them beat and for letting it go I apologize to buff nation, I apologize to every fan we have and with this team you can believe in them because we are going to bounce back.”

On Rebounding Margin – “That is what hurt us, especially down the stretch. They got us 45-32 and its amazing with that, that we were in the game. You know at halftime we talked about it and they had six offensive rebounds and were leading the rebound margin 21-15 but the defensive rebounds were even. We didn’t offensive rebound well enough and we gave them way too many second chances and you just can’t do that against a good team. With that being said, we were right there at the end and played well enough to win and there are a lot of positives to build on this and we are going to do that. This is not going to end our season by any means, and if we would have won this game, we would have had the same challenges to move into Arizona State on Sunday just in a little different way.”

On Individual’s Performances – “Xavier [Johnson] really responded and he has the physicality to play in this league and to be a dominant player in this league. I thought Sabatino Chen played like a senior and I can’t say enough about his effort and Spencer [Dinwiddie] and Askia [Booker] and Josh Scott. Andre [Roberson] struggled at times but he got some big time rebounds for us. Every guy that played I feel like gave us something, even Jeremy Adams down the stretch made a bucket when they double teamed Josh. So, we have to build on the positives and you can’t hang your head. But I don’t want anyone to feel like we are happy with this, there are no moral victories, moral victories are for chumps and we all know that.”

— Up next – CU takes on Arizona State in Tempe (Sunday, 6:00 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) —

Preview – Colorado at No. 3 Arizona

The last time a Colorado basketball team went on the road and beat a Top five team?

Richard Nixon was five days away from being sworn in for his second term as President …

Okay, you can be forgiving if you don’t remember CU’s 81-79 overtime win over No. 5 Missouri on January 15, 1973. Most of us don’t.

Still, that doesn’t mean that the 2012-13 Buffs are not capable of pulling off the upset tonight against No. 3 Arizona (6:00 p.m., MT, ESPNU – updates posted throughout the game here at CU at the Game). The Buffs under Tad Boyle have been very good about breaking old records in Boyle’s 2+ seasons in Boulder, so even though these Buffs are young, they still have a decent chance at doing well in Tucson.

“We look up to them in a lot of ways. They are the perennial program in the Pac-12, especially since UCLA has had a couple of down years,” Spencer Dinwiddie said. “They’re kind of where we want to be, and it’s always a good measuring stick to play teams that good.

“We’re similar teams,” Dinwiddie said. “Some might say they’re more talented, but we’re going in there to beat them just like any other team.”

Colorado did beat Arizona twice last season, winning 64-63 in Boulder, and taking the Pac-12 Championship game, 53-51 in the Staples Center in Los Angeles. When the Buffs traveled to the McKale Center last season, however, the Wildcats won easily, 71-57.

“I want our team to compete mentally, I want them to compete physically, and I want to play with poise,” Tad Boyle said. “If we do that, I’ll take whatever results come. This is one of 18 league games. We can’t make it bigger than what it is, but we can’t shy away from the significance of it either.”

Buff Bits

– Colorado leads the all-time series against Arizona, 10-6, with a 2-3 record at the McKale Center.

– CU is 2-0 in conference openers under Tad Boyle, but both of those games were at home. The last time the Buffs opened conference play on the road, Colorado was spanked by Texas, 103-86, in 2010.

– Colorado has not won a conference opener on the road since 1969, a span of 21 straight losses. The last time Colorado won a conference opener on the road, it was against Big Eight foe Oklahoma, on January 4, 1969 (for Nixon aficionados, that win was posted 16 days before Richard Nixon was sworn in for his first term as President).

– Arizona has three scorers averaging double figures a game, including two seniors, forward Solomon Hill (12.7 ppg; 5.0 rpg) and guard Mark Lyons (13.4 ppg). The other double digit scorer is sophomore guard Nick Johnson (12.7 ppg). The Buffs have four players averaging double digits: Askia Booker (14.8 ppg); Spencer Dinwiddie (14.4 ppg); Josh Scott 13.2 ppg); and Andre Roberson (12.1 ppg).

– Colorado is 10-2 for the first time since 2005-06, and is looking to go 11-2 for the first time since 1979-80.

– The Buffs are averaging over 10,000 fans per game, good enough for second in the league. The Pac-12 leader in attendance? Yup. Arizona.

– Andre Roberson is third nationally in rebounding (12.1), 14th in double-doubles (6), and 54th in steals (2.17).

January 1st

CU women back in coaches poll for the first time since 2004

From … The University of Colorado debuted at No. 25 in the USA Today Sports Top 25 women’s basketball coaches poll released on Tuesday.

Colorado is ranked in the coaches’ poll for the first time since coming in at No. 24 in the final poll of the 2003-04 season (April 2004). That was also the last time the Buffaloes were ranked in both major women’s basketball polls, finishing 17th in the final Associated Press poll that year.

Colorado moved up three spots to No. 20 in the latest AP poll released Monday.

The Buffaloes had received votes in the previous two coaches polls, finally cracking the top 25 Tuesday with 60 votes. This week’s ranking marks the 152nd time Colorado has appeared in the coaches’ poll dating back to the 1988-89 campaign.

Colorado is 11-0 and one of only four remaining unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I – all of which reside in both top 25 polls (No. 1 UConn, No. 3/4 Duke, No. 13/12 Oklahoma State).

In the AP poll, Colorado received 224 votes – up from 156 last week – to make its third-straight appearance and highest ranking since that No. 17 showing in the final AP poll of the 2003-04 season (March 15, 2004).

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 161st time Colorado has appeared in the AP poll, trailing only Stanford, USC and UCLA among Pac-12 Conference schools. The current three-week run in the poll is the Buffaloes longest since a four-week stretch from Dec. 24, 2007-Jan. 14, 2008.

Colorado will open Pac-12 Conference play this weekend with a pair of top-10 opponents coming to Boulder. The Buffaloes host defending league champion and No. 4 (AP)/3 (USAT) ranked Stanford on Friday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m. and then will welcome in No. 7 (AP & USAT) California on Sunday, Jan. 6, at 12 p.m.

Colorado newest rival for Arizona?

High praise for a team picked 11th in the preseason media poll last year, and sixth this year …

From the Arizona Star … The No. 3 Arizona Wildcats couldn’t have picked a more fitting opponent for their Pac-12 opener this season.

It was Colorado, which will face the UA (12-0) at McKale Center on Thursday, that effectively ended the Wildcats’ season last March with a 53-51 victory in the Pac-12 Conference Tournament final.

The Buffaloes (10-2) marched on to the NCAA tournament with the Pac-12’s automatic bid while the shell-shocked Wildcats slumped into the NIT, where they lost quietly to eighth-seeded Bucknell in the first round.

“It’s tough coming back from such a loss like that,” guard Kyle Fogg said of the Colorado game after Arizona lost in the NIT. “I know I’m still kind of numb.”

Combined with Colorado’s 64-63 win over Arizona in Boulder, where the Wildcats went 3 of 20 from three-point range and failed to score on their final possession, and you could even say that the Buffs have already become one of the Wildcats’ top rivals despite entering just their second season in the conference.

But Colorado coach Tad Boyle said he wouldn’t go that far.

“I’d like to think that,” Boyle said. “I think last year we gained some respect and obviously, I’ve got great respect for Sean (Miller, UA coach).

“But I do think it’s a big game because of what we did last year and certainly because of what Arizona has done this year. And it’s the first game in conference play, when everyone wants to get off to a great start.”

Colorado got off to a strong start in nonconference play this season, beating Baylor and two other teams to win the Charleston Classic, and winning its first six games despite having lost guard Carlon Brown and two other starters from last season.

Then the Buffs lost by seven at Wyoming on Dec. 1 and, a week later, were drubbed 90-54 at Kansas.

“That was an embarrassing performance,” Boyle said. “I was embarrassed and our players were embarrassed. It was a combination of factors. We didn’t take care of the ball – and when you do that in Allen Fieldhouse, it’s like an avalanche that snowballs downhill. You can’t stop it.”

Since then, Colorado has recovered to beat Fresno State, NAU and Hartford, entering Thursday’s game at 10-2. But the Buffs, like Arizona, have struggled with turnovers at times.

While the UA had 18 against East Tennessee State in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic on Dec. 22, Colorado had 21 in Saturday’s 80-52 win over Hartford. UA averages 14.5 turnovers a game and Colorado 15.2.

“We’re talking about that, trying to control tempo a little bit, and pick and choose when we want to run, and making good decisions with the ball,” Boyle said.

“The frustrating thing in the Hartford game was we had 21 turnovers and a lot of them were unforced. You have to have your players understand when you attack.”

The good news for Colorado is that the Buffs have a quickly maturing group of younger players to mold around double-double machine Andre Roberson (who averages 12.1 rebounds and 12.1 assists).

Sophomore guards Askia Booker (14.8 points a game) and Spencer Dinwiddie (14.4) are the team’s top two scorers, while freshman big man Josh Scott is averaging 13.2 points and 5.9 rebounds. Scott, who managed 19 points against Kansas and Jayhawks center Jeff Withey, had 21 points and 10 rebounds against Hartford.

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.

9 Replies to “CU Above the Rim – January”

  1. “Okay, it’s my fault.

    When I flipped on the television last night, I was surprised to see that the score of the CU women’s basketball game was: No. 20 CU 32, No. 7 Cal 16, with about four minutes to play in the first half. Over the next four minutes, though, the Buffs went scoreless, while the Cal women cut the 16-point lead in half, scoring the last eight points of the first half to cut the lead to 32-24 at the break.

    I tried to do my part, turning off the television, hoping that my jinx would be forgiven.

    But it was not enough …”

    I thought it was just me. We need to quit watching the Football games too!

  2. When a referee can’t get a call correct when the video is clear, one has to question why. And I can’t think of any honest reason. It makes one think that some ulterior motive is at play.

  3. The buffs certainly could have avoided such an ending in regulation by playing better down the stretch and making their free throws, but that does not change the fact that they were clearly robbed of a victory. The call was worse than the Packers/Seattle debacle. You know darn well that if the roles were reversed, the basket would have counted for Arizona. They were “homered”.

    As others have said, this is still a young team. It is great to see that they can go on the road and beat the #3 team in the country. Although the standing won’t show that they won the game, I hope it gives them the confidence that they can play with anybody. Yes, there will still be off days (like against Kansas), but for what should be a rebuilding year, they are a pleasure to watch and cheer for. I will be there for the USC game. Can’t wait!

  4. A year-in, year-out quality team that struggles at the line that comes to mind is Syracuse. When the players individually take the responsibility to shoot more than is required at practice, there will be success. Until then, the Buffs will fall into this trap every game. I would have no problem fouling any of them right now.

  5. I agree with both TJ and Dennis. The end-of-game call was as bad as anything I have seen in a long time but the Buffs never should have been in a spot where they positioned themselves to permits the refs to steal the game from them. When they are playing well – as they did for long stretches last night – I tend to forget how young they are. Then they have little stretches where I am suddenly reminded of their youth.

    Plus – as Dennis said – you have to be able to make free throws. Not all of them but more than half to sixty percent of them. Too many points left on the line.

  6. Agree about the free throws but I thought the side view replay clearly showed the ball out of his hand. After that point this was the worst officiated ending to a game that I have seen in a long time.

    1. I’m with you 100% TJ on what it looked like to me the replay showed. What did Coach Boyle say afterward? “I’m sick to my stomach.” With cause I’d say.

      On a not-entirely-unrelated topic let me say as someone who went to CU during the Tom Apke/Tom Miller era, I never thought I would live long enough to derive the enjoyment I do out of Coach Boyle’s Buffs. Amazing stuff.

  7. CU will not be a champion until they make free throws. Even the better free throw shooters choked in the clutch. There is no excuse for starters to shoot from 52 percent to 60 percent at the line.

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