CU Above the Rim – November, 2013

November 30th – at Colorado Springs           Colorado 81, Air Force 57

Colorado won its first true road game of the season, taking down Air Force, 81-57. The Buffs got out to a quick 10-2 lead and never trailed. For the final 30 minutes of the contest, the Buffs maintained a double-digit lead, with all 14 Buffs on the roster playing in the game.

Josh Scott posted a double-double, scoring 16 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Askia Booker had 13 points, with three three-pointers, while Xavier Johnson had 11 points, hitting five-of-six from the field.

The 7-1 Buffs remain on the road for their next game, taking on Colorado State in Ft. Collins, with the game to tip-off at 7:00 p.m., MT, on Tuesday, December 3rd (ESPN3).

Colorado opened the game on a 10-2 run, fueled by a pair of three-pointers from Askia Booker. Later, after the Falcons got within six points, at 13-7, the Buffs regained control. A pair of Jaron Hopkins three-pointers pushed the lead to 21-7, Buffs, with 9:42 to play in the first half.

The teams traded baskets before Josh Scott picked up a pair of baskets and a pair of free throws to push CU to a 27-12 advantage with 6:35 to play before the half. Air Force did not go quietly, though, going on a 12-7 to end the half. The Buffs were in control, but it was still a game.

Halftime score: Colorado 34, Air Force 24.

A three-point play by Xavier Johnson, followed by a three-pointer by Askia Booker, quickly turned the ten-point halftime advantage to a 16-point bulge. The teams then traded baskets and free throws, with Colorado slowly expanding its lead. A steal and dunk by Spencer Dinwiddie made it 51-30 with 13:32 to play.

It was then Dustin Thomas’s and Josh Scott’s turn to expand the lead. Thomas made a three point play, a jumper, and a pair of free throws, while Scott was making layups on his way to a double-double for the game.

With the lead up over 25 points, it was time for the substitutes. Fan favorite Ben Mills hit a pair of free throws, George King made a three-pointer and a jumper, with Beau Gamble also contributing a three-pointer. In all, 11 of the 14 Buffs who saw playing time scored.

Final score: Colorado 81, Air Force 57.

Full story at CUBuffs.com … After more than a year of waiting, Josh Scott finally returned home on Saturday. An afternoon that began with a rousing ovation from the Clune Arena faithful culminated with one of the finest performances of his young career.

The 6-10 sophomore from nearby Monument had 16 points and a season-high 13 rebounds as the Buffs led the Air Force Falcons from wire-to-wire en route to a convincing 81-57 victory. Scott reached his third double-double of the year half way through the second half and then sat for the game’s final five minutes while the Buffs coasted to their seventh straight victory.

“It feels good, it’s good to show up for the home crowd,” said Scott. “I won’t lie, so it’s nice.”

After being held to zero points and just three rebounds for the first 12:17 of the game, Scott sprang off the mat to score 16 points and grab 10 boards over the remainder of the afternoon. His tenacious and spirited play in front of the hometown fans helped break a close game wide open in the second half.

Scott’s first bucket came at the 7:43 mark of the first half, as the Buffs were clinging to a tenuous nine-point lead. By the time he scored his final bucket nearly 18 minutes later, the Buffs lead had ballooned to 28 points mostly on the strength of the big man’s domination of an undersized and overwhelmed Falcon front court.

“Once I got the ball in the high-post, I was just looking for Josh down low and we executed well,” said freshman forward Wesley Gordon.

Scott’s play may have been the highlight of the game, but it was an effective Colorado defense that won it. The Buffs out-rebounded the Falcons 42-25 and forced them into a resounding 18 turnovers as AFA was held to a season-low 57 points. The 57 points were the fewest the Buffs have allowed in a road game since they gave up 47 at Oregon last year.

No. 14 CU women win Omni Hotels Classic

From CUBuffs.com … No. 14/19 ranked Colorado used a late 14-0 rally to pull away from Rice and claim the 2013 Omni Hotels Classic championship, 75-58, Saturday night at the Coors Events Center.

Junior guard Lexy Kresl scored 19 points and recorded five rebounds, four assists and three steals to earn Classic MVP honors. Classmate Jen Reese was also named to the All-Tournament team after scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Rice guard Megan Shafer hit a 3-pointer with 12:06 remaining in the game to pull Rice within four at 49-45.

But Colorado, 6-0, reeled off the next 14 points. Kresl made a nice pass to Reese in traffic on a fast break to put Colorado back up by double-digits at 56-45. Lauren Huggins then put back a Reese miss the next time down the floor to add to the rally.

The Wilson twins capped off the run. Brittany Wilson hit her second 3-pointer of the game and her sister Ashley Wilson caught the Owls defense sleeping for an open drive to the basket and layup to give the Buffaloes a 63-45 advantage.

“I like the way that our team bared down and got a certain level of toughness at about the eleven-minute mark in the second half,” CU head coach Linda Lappe said. “That was really where the game changed. We started defending, we started rebounding and that allowed us to run and transition to score.”

Rice guard Jessica Kuster, scored eight of her game-high 30 points to close the Colorado lead to 64-56 with 3:56 left. But the Buffaloes held off the Owls by staying aggressive. Arielle Roberson scored on a layup and Kresl scored four straight points to put the game away.

“That was a really fun game for our team and for our staff,” Lappe said. “We did not play our best, and we still found a way to win.”

November 29th

No. 14 CU women have little trouble with South Alabama

Full story at CUBuffs.com … Colorado’s offense continued to click as the No. 14/19 ranked Buffaloes sprinted past South Alabama, 94-61 in the first round of the Omni Hotels Classic Friday evening at the Coors Events Center.

Colorado (5-0) will play Rice (4-4) in Saturday’s championship game, set for 7:30 p.m. at the Coors Events Center. Rice squeaked by Samford 57-52 in the opener. South Alabama (0-5) will play Samford (1-4) in Saturday’s consolation at 5 p.m.

Colorado had five players score in double-digits for the third straight game and hit at least 80 points for the fourth consecutive contest, and 90 for the second time this year.

Jen Reese and Jamee Swan tied for lead scoring honors with 16 points apiece.  Lexy Kresl had 12 points, seven rebounds and a career-high six assists. Rachel Hargis had 11 and Lauren Huggins had 10.

“It was another night with really good balance,” head coach Linda Lappe said. “Offensively, we moved the ball well. We had a lot of different players contribute; we scored on the inside, we scored on the outside. I really like the flow of some of the things we’re doing offensively.”

November 26th

CU women up to No. 14 in latest AP poll

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado moved up two spots to No. 14 in the third regular season Associated Press Women’s Basketball Top 25 Poll released on Monday.

Colorado, now 4-0, received 365 points, up from 316 last week. Monday’s showing is Colorado’s highest ranking since coming in at No. 13 in the final March 8, 2004 poll.

The Buffaloes have been ranked in 18 consecutive AP polls, their longest run since appearing in all 19 polls of the 2003-04 season. Colorado has a long history of rankings in the AP poll, dating back to the 1980-81 season. This ranking marks the 176th time Colorado has appeared in the AP poll, trailing only Stanford, USC and UCLA among Pac-12 schools.

Colorado moved up one spot to No. 19 in the latest coaches poll released on Tuesday. The Buffaloes received 219 points, slightly up from 213 in the previous poll.

Colorado has three ranked teams on its schedule, all three of which were preseason No. 10 picks. Louisville is No. 3 in the coaches and No. 4 in the AP, Stanford is No. 6 in the AP and No. 5 in the coaches and California is ranked No. 20 in both polls. UCLA and Iowa are receiving votes in both polls.

Colorado is back in action this weekend as the Buffaloes host the 27th Annual Omni Hotels Classic, Nov. 29-30, at the Coors Events Center. Rice and Samford will tip off the tournament on Friday, at 5 p.m. followed by Colorado’s game with South Alabama at 7:30 p.m. The consolation game will be played on Saturday at 5 p.m., followed by the championship at 7:30 p.m.

November 25th

Colorado moves up in one poll; down in another

Colorado, after a 3-0 week which included a come-from-behind win over highly regarded Harvard (see story below), moved up in both polls, which were released on Monday.

The Buffs just didn’t move up that much. Colorado was 37th in the AP poll last week, receiving six votes. This week, the Buffs are 36th, receiving 19 votes (right behind Harvard, with 22 votes). In the USA Today/Coaches’ poll, the Buffs last week were 30th, receiving 20 votes. This week, the Buffs are down to 34th, with 13 votes.

Pac-12 teams – and other Buff opponents – in the AP Poll (Game times MT):

– Kansas – No. 2 – (Sat., Dec. 7th, Boulder, 1:15 p.m., ESPN2)

– Arizona – No. 4 – (Thurs., Jan. 23rd, at Tucson, 7:00 p.m., ESPN2; Sat., Feb. 22nd, Boulder, 7:00 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2)

– Oklahoma State – No. 5 – (Sat., Dec. 21st, at Las Vegas, 9:30 p.m., ESPN2)

– Oregon – No. 14 – (Sun., Jan. 5th, Boulder, 3:00 p.m., Fox Sports)

– Baylor – (L – 72-60) – No. 18

– UCLA – No. 19 – (Thurs., Jan. 16th, Boulder, 6:00 p.m., Pac 12 Networks; Thurs., Feb. 13th, at Los Angeles, 7:00 p.m., ESPN2)

– Arizona State – No. 34 – (Sat., Jan. 25th, at Tempe, 5:00 p.m., Pac 12 Networks; Wed., Feb. 19th, Boulder, 9:00 p.m., ESPNU)

– Harvard – (W 70-62) – No. 35

– Colorado – No. 36

November 24th – Boulder          Colorado 70, Harvard 62

A 29-12 run to finish the game brought the Buffs back from a double digit deficit, with Colorado finally taking out Harvard, 70-62.

The  Crimson built a 42-30 halftime lead on the strength of six first half three-pointers, but made only one of 11 from behind the arc in the second half. Spencer Dinwiddie led the Buffs with 17 points, hitting 4-of-7 three pointers. Josh Scott had ten second half points to finish with 12 points, finishing with a double-double as the CU center snared 11 rebounds on the afternoon. Askia Booker had 12 points, while Xavier Johnson going for 11, including a pair of three pointers which gave the Buffs the lead for good with five minutes to play in the game.

Harvard opened the scoring with a jumper, but Xavier Johnson hit a three on the Buffs’ first possession to give the Buffs a 3-2 lead. Then Harvard hit a pair of threes, first as the shot clock was expiring, next in transition, giving Harvard an 8-3 advantage. Wesley Gordon made one of two free throws to cut the lead to four, but then Harvard hit another three, and then made a layup on a steal. Timeout, Colorado. Three minutes into the game, Harvard had a 13-4 lead.

A turnover on a three second violation was the best the Buffs could do out of their timeout, with Harvard responding with – what else? – another three pointer. At the under 16 break, the Crimson was 4-for-4 from three-point range, and held a 16-4 lead. Spencer Dinwiddie ended the 8-0 run by Harvard with one of two free throws, then hit a three-pointer for the Buffs’ first basket in six minutes. cutting the lead to 16-8.  Josh Scott then hit a pair of free throws to give CU a 6-0 run, but Harvard hit a short jumper to make the score 18-10 at the under 12 media timeout.

Xavier Talton hit a jumper on the Buffs’ first possession out of the break, with Askia Booker scoring his first two points of the game on a layup to pull the Buffs back to within four, at 18-14. Harvard made one of two free throws before Tre-Shaun Fletcher made a layup to make it 19-16 with 9:36 to play in the first half. A jumper by Harvard was met by a putback by Fletcher to make the score 21-18, Crimson. A pair of free throws gave Harvard a five point lead, with the lead back to seven after a steal and a jumper. Another CU miss and another Harvard later, the lead was back to nine points, at 27-18. Wesley Gordon stopped the bleeding with a short jumper, with Askia Booker being credited with a basket on a goal-tending call. Harvard 27, Colorado 22, at the under eight break.

Harvard hit a long jumper, but Askia Booker got his third basket of the first half on the other end. A three-point play was converted by Harvard, with a turnover by the Buffs leading to a dunk by the Crimson. Just like that, it was a ten-point game again, with Harvard leading 34-24. Another three pointer by the Crimson gave Harvard a 10-2 run and a 37-24 lead with five minutes to play in the first half.

A three-pointer by Spencer Dinwiddie was countered by Harvard’s sixth three-pointer of the first half. Xavier Talton then hit a three-pointer, which was followed by a jumper by the Crimson. At the under four break, the Crimson enjoyed a 12-point lead, at 42-30. Harvard took the air out of the ball on their next four possessions, but were not able to score. Unfortunately for the Buffs, they were not able to take advantage, missing on four straight opportunities on their end.

Halftime score: Harvard 42, Colorado 30.

As had been the case with almost every team CU had played in November, the problem for the Buffs was perimeter defense. Harvard hit their first four three-pointers, hitting six-of-12 for the half. Overall, Harvard hit on 55% of their first half shots, compared to 42% for the Buffs.

An offensive rebound led to a layup on Harvard’s first possession of the second half, upping the lead to 44-30. Josh Scott, shut out in the first half from the field for the second game in a row, got his first basket to open the second half scoring for Colorado. Spencer Dinwiddie’s third three-pointer of the game got the Buff guard to ten points, and the lead down to nine, at 44-35.

The teams traded misses before Wesley Gordon made a layup off an assist by Askia Booker, with Booker himself making a layup on CU’s next possession to make it a 9-0 run, cutting the lead to five, at 44-39, at the under 16 minute timeout.

The Buffs had two open three-pointers which would have cut the Harvard lead to two points, but both missed. Harvard stopped the run at 9-0 with a layup, making the score 46-39 with 14 minutes to play. A Booker miss on a jumper, and a Gordon miss on the put back, kept the Harvard lead at seven points. On CU’s next possession, Xavier Talton hit an unlikely jumper to again pull the Buffs to within five points, but a turnover by Jaron Hopkins kept the Buffs from an opportunity to cut the lead any further. A pair of free throws by Harvard made it a 48-41 game, with a dunk after another CU turnover making it a nine-point game. Timeout, Colorado. Harvard 50, Colorado 41, with 11:27 to play.

A putback by Josh Scott got the Buffs back to within seven, but the Buffs were unable to pull any closer on their next possession. Harvard continued its cold shooting on its end of the floor, but the Buffs were not able to capitalize from the field. Josh Scott then hit one of two free throws to make it a six point game, with the Buffs collecting the rebound on the miss. Askia Booker then hit a floater to make it a four point game, at 50-46.

Harvard was able to hit on their end to again make it a six point game, but Josh Scott made a pair of free throws to again make the lead four points. Good defense gave the Buffs the ball back, but Askia Booker missed a layup which would have brought the Buffs to within two. Harvard 52, Colorado 48, at the under eight timeout.

Spencer Dinwiddie hit a floater on the Buffs’ next possession just as the shot clock was expiring, bringing the Buffs back to within two for the first time since the first minute of the game. Xavier Johnson, who gave the Buffs a 3-2 lead to open the game, then hit his second basket of the game to once again CU the lead. Timeout, Harvard. Colorado 53, Harvard 52, with 4:54 to play. Harvard missed a three-pointer on their end, with Xavier Johnson hitting his third three-pointer to give CU a four point lead. A stop on the other end was met with a Spencer Dinwiddie three-pointer for the Buffs. Just like that, Colorado had a seven-point lead. Colorado 59, Harvard 52, with 3:27 to play.

Josh Scott made one of two free throws to make it a 60-52 game. A layup for the Crimson stopped the Buff run, with Xavier Johnson banking one it to again make it an eight point game. After Harvard scored on its next possession, the Crimson called timeout. Colorado 62, Harvard 56, with 2:28 to play.

Colorado turned the ball over on its next possession, giving Harvard new life. The Crimson missed a three-pointer, but got the offensive rebound. The ensuing made jumper made it a four point game, at 62-58. Harvard then fouled Spencer Dinwiddie, with Dinwiddie hitting both to make it a six point lead again, at 64-58. Harvard missed two shots on their next possession, but the Buffs couldn’t gain possession. A shooting foul with 56 seconds to play put Harvard on the line, with the Crimson making one of two. The Crimson didn’t foul, with Askia Booker feeding Josh Scott for a layup. The seven point lead was almost cut in half with 29 seconds to play, with Harvard hitting its first three-pointer of the second half. Timeout, Harvard. Colorado 66, Harvard 62, with 29.5 seconds left.

Xavier Talton was fouled on the inbounds play, missing the front end of a one-and-one. Harvard had several chances at the rim on their next possession, but couldn’t get the ball to fall. Talton was fouled on the rebound, making both with 18 seconds to play. A desperation shot by Harvard was missed, with Askia Booker fouled with eight seconds to play. Booker hit both, making it an eight point game.

Final score: Colorado 70, Harvard 62

November 21st – Boulder          Colorado 76, UC-Santa Barbara 68

In the first five games of the season, preseason All-American Spencer Dinwiddie had yet to take over a game. Against UC-Santa Barbara, however, Dinwiddie took over, scoring 24 points to lead the Buffs to a 76-68 victory.

With other Buffs struggling – Josh Scott was held to three points – Dinwiddie hit two of CU’s four three-pointers and 14-of-15 free throws to keep the Gauchos at bay. UC-Santa Barbara was without its leading scorer and rebounder, but relied upon Taran Brown, who hit seven-of-ten three pointers to keep UCSB in the game. Askia Booker was the only other Buff in double figures, with 14 points. Wesley Gordon was good for nine points, as was Xavier Johnson, playing for the first time in three games.

The Buffs survived against the Gauchos despite giving up 50% shooting from the field (and 40% from three point range). Such numbers might not work against Harvard, which will come to Boulder Sunday with a 4-0 record. The Crimson are averaging 80 points per game, and are ranked ahead of the Buffs in the latest polls (29th in the AP poll; 30th in the USA Today coaches’ poll). The game will be at the CEC on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. (ESPNU).

After opening with a Josh Scott turnover and miss, Wesley Gordon posted the first points of the game with his put-back of the Scott miss.  A three-point play by Askia Booker then gave CU an early 5-0 lead. A jumper by the Gauchos was quickly offset by a dunk by Wesley Gordon for the Buffs. UC-Santa Barbara made its next shot to make the score 7-4, with Wesley Gordon hitting one of two free throws to give CU an 8-4 lead. A third Gauchos basket made it 8-6 at the under 16 timeout.

Spencer Dinwiddie got into the scoring column with a pair of free throws, following that up a few moments later with layup in transition. Dinwiddie was fouled, and his conversion of CU’s second three-point play of the game gave the Buffs a 13-6 lead at the 15 minute mark of the first half.

UCSB then hit the first three pointer of the game, with a Dustin Thomas layup making the score 15-9 at the under 12 media break. A layup for the Gauchos made it a four point game, as the Buffs continued to commit turnovers on the offensive end of the court – a travel, an offensive foul, and a ball thrown away on three successive possessions. A floater by Spencer Dinwiddie ended the drought, giving Dinwiddie seven of CU’s first 17 points. A three pointer by UCSB made the score 17-14, and brought about a timeout from an irked CU head coach Tad Boyle.

A pair of free throws by the Gauchos got them as close as they had been since the opening tip, at 17-16. Xavier Johnson then got his first points of the night on a layup, with Askia Booker getting a layup in transition to restore the Buffs to a five point lead, at 21-16. UCSB hit a pair of free throws on their end, with Wesley Gordon scoring on a putback on the other end. The Gauchos then hit their third three-pointer of the first half (all by Taran Brown) to make it a two point game, 23-21.

Spencer Dinwiddie hit a pair of free throws to double the lead, but UCSB’s fourth three-pointer, this one by Michael Bryson, made it a one point game, 25-24. Taran Brown’s fourth three-pointer then gave the Gauchos their first lead of the game, 27-25, at the under four break. After an offensive foul by Xavier Johnson, Taran Brown made his fifth three pointer of the game, giving UCSB a five point lead, at 30-25.

The 9-0 Gauchos run finally came to an end with Dustin Thomas hitting a pair of free throws. Spencer Dinwiddie then hit the Buffs’ first three-pointer of the game to tie the score at 30-30, with CU regaining the lead with a short jumper Jaron Hopkins. The first half ended with both teams failing to score, taking CU into the break with a 7-0 run, and a two-point lead.

Halftime score: Colorado 32, UC-Santa Barbara 30

Not much mystery as to how the Gauchos stayed close to the Buffs in the first half – six three-point field goals, including five by Taran Brown. Colorado managed all of one three-pointer in the first half, keeping CU-Santa Barbara at bay by hitting nine of ten free throws. Spencer Dinwiddie led the Buffs, with 12 points, followed by Wesley Gordon with seven.

The Buffs opened the second half the way they did the first – with Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott struggling. Johnson missed a three-pointer, with Scott missing the put-back. Spencer Dinwiddie also began the second half in similar fashion, but that was a positive for the Buffs, as Dinwiddie hit a three-pointer to give him 15 points, and give CU a five point lead, at 35-30.

A basket by UCSB ended the 10-0 overall run by the Buffs, but a driving layup by Xavier Johnson restored the Buffs’ five point lead, at 37-32. Wesley Gordon then missed a pair of free throws, but Gordon got the points back on a transition layup on the Buffs next possession. Colorado 39, UCSB 32, at the under 16 break.

A layup for the Gauchos made it a 39-34 game, with a breakaway layup for UCSB then reducing the lead to three. Xavier Johnson hit two free throws to give him eight points, with Josh Scott then missing two free throws to keep him scoreless on the night. A Jaron Hopkins floater ended a field goal drought of 3 1/2 minutes for the Buffs, with George King making a layup of his own to extend the Buffs lead to nine, at 45-36, at the under 12 time out.

Taran Brown hit his sixth three-pointer to make it a six point game, with the Gauchos hitting another three-pointer on their next possession, and, just like that, it was a three point game again, at 45-42. A traditional three point play – after yet another CU turnover – was missed, but the Gauchos were nonetheless back within a point at 45-44. Tre’Shaun Fletcher’s first points of the game was followed by a steal and a basket by Askia Booker. The Gauchos answered with a pair of baskets of their own, and again it was a one point game, at 49-48. Tre’Shaun Fletcher hit a three-pointer, but that was met by a three-pointer by the Gauchos. With 6:21 to play, the game was still very much in doubt. 52-51, Colorado.

Guess what happened next? Yup. Taran Brown hit his seventh three-pointer to give the Gauchos their first lead of the second half, at 54-52. Josh Scott finally got into the scoring column with a traditional three point play to give CU back the lead, at 55-54. Wesley Gordon extended the lead to three with a pair of free throws at the five minute mark, 57-54. Askia Booker then hit a three-pointer to double the lead back to six points, at 60-54, with 4:36 to play.

A Xavier Johnson steal and dunk made it a 10-0 run for the Buffs. 62-54, at the under four timeout. Spencer Dinwiddie made a pair of free throws to give CU it’s largest lead of the game at ten points, 64-54. The Gauchos then hit a jumper to end the 11-0 CU run, but Dinwiddie answered with a pair of free throws at the 3:00 minute mark to make it 66-56. UCSB then made what was, in essence, a four point play. A basket and a foul gave the Gauchos a chance at a three point play. The free throw was missed, but USCB got the offensive rebound and made the put back. 66-60, with still 2 1/2 minutes to play.

Two more free throws by Dinwiddie restored the eight point lead, at 68-60. A missed three-pointer by the Gauchos (a miss!) with 90 seconds to play gave the Buffs a chance to breathe again. Askia Booker hit a pair of free throws to make it a ten point game again, at 70-60. A dunk by the Gauchos brought them back to within eight, and then a steal and a layup made it a six point game as the game went under one minute.

Spencer Dinwiddie missed his first free throw of the night, making the second to make it a three possession game, at 71-64. Not content to give it up, the Gauchos hit a three-pointer with 33.9 seconds to play to make it 71-67, Buffs. Dinwiddie was then fouled, making both to make it 73-67, with 23 seconds to play. A missed three pointer by the Gauchos with 11 seconds to go finally ended the threat. Tre’Shaun Fletcher hit a pair of free throws to up the lead to eight, at 75-67. UCSB made a free throw on their end, offset by a free throw by Xavier Johnson.

Final score: Colorado 76, UC-Santa Barbara 68

 

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