Colorado Basketball – December, 2015

December 30th

… CU in the Arena …

Buffs ready to start “second season” Friday against Cal

From cubuffs.com … When the Colorado Buffaloes reported for their first post-Christmas break practice Monday, Tad Boyle’s message was simple:

“The second season starts today.”

That season, of course, is Pac-12 play, a stretch of 18 games in the league that currently owns the second-highest RPI in the nation (trailing only the Big 12), and is considered to be one of the deepest conferences in the country. Games start this weekend, when the Buffs play at Cal on Friday (9 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) and at Stanford on Sunday (8 p.m., ESPNU).

The “first” season, of course, was a solid if not resounding success. The 11-2 Buffs put together an 11-game win streak, won two road games and beat three teams currently ranked in the nation’s top 100 RPI.

But they also lost a pair of games to top 25 squads — one to start the nonconference schedule (68-62 to No. 7 Iowa State) and one to finish the nonconference slate (70-66 vs. SMU). Those two defeats still gnaw at Boyle, particularly last week’s loss to SMU in a game the Buffs led by seven points with seven minutes to play.

Still, the Buffs have done enough to convince Boyle that they have the potential to be a very good team. It would also appear that the computers that decide such things as RPI rankings would agree, as they currently have CU positioned anywhere from No. 18 to No. 22.

Continue reading story here

 

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December 28th

CU in the Arena …

Buffs slip in both polls after loss to SMU

Colorado fell in this week’s Associated Press poll after falling to No. 17 SMU in last week’s Las Vegas Classic final. Last week, the Buffs had 27 votes, good enough for 30th place. This week, the Buffs are in 32nd place, with 15 votes.

In the USA Today coaches poll, the Buffs fell to 33rd overall, with five votes, just two votes ahead of Cal, the Buffs’ first conference opponent (Friday, January 1st, 9:00 p.m., MT). Last week, the Buffs had 25 votes, and were 30th overall.

The Associated Press poll …

1Michigan St. (64)162313-01
2Kansas (1)153410-12
3Oklahoma149811-03
4Maryland142811-14
5Virginia135110-15
6Xavier129612-06
7North Carolina121910-27
8Arizona108112-18
9Butler98410-19
10Kentucky96310-212
11Iowa State93810-111
12Providence92312-110
13Miami (Fla.)86710-113
14Purdue81812-114
15Duke7819-215
16Villanova6439-217
17SMU63611-018
18Louisville51611-216
19West Virginia50010-119
20Texas A&M3719-221
21Utah22410-224
22Cincinnati19910-322
23Baylor1959-223
24South Carolina17511-025
25UCLA519-4NR

Others Receiving Votes: Connecticut 49, Oregon 45, Gonzaga 44, Pittsburgh 42, Geo. Wash. 40, Dayton 19, Colorado 15, Monmouth 11, Northwestern 11, Vanderbilt 10, Iowa 7, Texas Tech 6, Texas 4, Florida 4, St. Joseph’s 2, Mississippi 1, St. Mary’s 1

 

Boyle: “I won’t remember the Penn State win, but I’ll remember the SMU loss. That’s coaching”

From cubuffs.com … While CU’s nonconference schedule offered plenty of reason for optimism, including an 11-game win streak and a pair of road wins, it is the most-recent game that might serve as the biggest motivation for the weeks and months ahead.

Still fresh in the Buffs’ minds is a 70-66 loss to No. 18 SMU in the Las Vegas Classic championship game — a game the Buffs led by eight points midway through the second half and by seven with seven minutes to go. The Buffs saw a late-game 14-1 Mustangs run end their hopes of collecting their first win over a ranked team in almost two years (the drought is now 10 games) and also end a golden opportunity for what Boyle called a “marquee” win.

The Buffs have had their fair share of such victories in Boyle’s tenure. Since he took the reins in 2010, CU has 11 victories over top-25 teams. But, like most coaches, Boyle remembers the big games that got away, those program-defining moments that slipped from the Buffs’ grasp.

The SMU game was such a moment.

“When I look at the course of time since we’ve been here (at CU), I feel good about the body of work,” Boyle said immediately after the loss to the Mustangs. “But these are the ones you remember. I remember our Texas A&M loss in our first year (a 75-72 overtime defeat to the No. 22 Aggies). I remember it like it was yesterday.

“I’m going to remember this loss for a long, long time because it was a winnable game that we let slip away. I don’t remember the ones that we won. I won’t remember the Penn State win, but I’ll remember the SMU loss. That’s coaching.”

But if there’s any silver lining from the game, it is that the Buffs believe they can use it as a teaching moment, one that will serve them in conference play.

“We’re close,” CU center Josh Scott said. “Close to being a really good team. (But) I don’t think this is going to linger on us, I think it’s just going to motivate us.”

While a win over the Mustangs almost certainly would have moved the Buffs into the nation’s top 25 in the national polls, the neutral-court loss didn’t have much of a negative effect — if any — on their RPI.

Sunday evening, Colorado was still sitting at No. 22 in the NCAA and CBS Sports RPI rankings, and at No. 18 in the ESPN version.

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December 23rd – at Las Vegas           No. 18 SMU 70, Colorado 66

Quotable …

– Tad Boyle: ““I’m going to remember this loss for a long, long time. It was a winnable game that we let slip away.”

– “I don’t put this loss on the players, I put it on myself,” Boyle said. “We’ve got to spend a little more time on late-game situations in understanding the urgency. When there’s three and half minutes to go in the game and you’ve got a six-point lead, you’ve got to understand how you keep it. They executed and we didn’t.”

– Josh Scott: ““I’m pretty disappointed in myself. I would say a lot of this loss has to be shouldered by me because I need to make free throws. It’s inexcusable.”

Game recap from cubuffs.com … Maybe the most consistent part of their game — free throw shooting — deserted the Colorado Buffaloes at the worst possible moment Wednesday night.

The Buffs, the Pac-12’s leading free throw shooting team, hit just 8 of their 17 tries from the stripe, a margin that proved to be the difference in a 70-66 loss to No. 18 SMU. The defeat ended the 11-2 Buffs’ winning streak at 11 games, as well as a golden opportunity for what head coach Tad Boyle had called a signature win.

CU’s Josh Scott finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, but the 82 percent free throw shooter was an uncharacteristic 2-for-7 Wednesday from the line. Josh Fortune led the Buffs with 15 points and Dominique Collier had 12.

The Mustangs put the game away in the final minutes, putting together a 14-1 run that erased a 57-50 Colorado lead and gave the Mustangs control down the stretch. CU had taken the 57-50 lead on the back of a 17-4 run.

The Mustangs, who improved to 11-0, had four players in double figures, led by Ben Moore with 16.

Continue reading story here

NOTABLE: This is the second time in three years the Buffs have finished 11-2 in conference play, matching their record from the 2013-14 season. … The 11-game win streak will go down as the fourth best in a single season in program history. … It was CU’s 10th straight loss to a ranked opponent.

 

Getting to Know: No. 18 SMU (updated)

Game … Wednesday, 8:30 p.m., MT … FoxSports 1 … KKZN 760 radio

Mustangs’ 2014-15 Record: 27-6, 15-3 in American Athletic Conference play. SMU took out Connecticut in the AAC championship game to earn the automatic NCAA tournament berth. The Mustangs, in the tournament for the first time since 1993, were made a No. 6 seed by the selection committee, but fell to No. 11 seed UCLA, 60-59, in the second round of the tournament.

Mustangs’ 2015-16 record: 10-0, ranked No. 18 in the nation. SMU is one of only five remaining undefeated teams in the nation (the others: Michigan State; Xavier; South Carolina and Oklahoma). SMU already has posted wins over Stanford (85-70) and Michigan (82-58). One common opponent for the two teams is Nicholls. The Buffs struggled with the Colonels last week before winning, 85-68. SMU, though, had no trouble with Nicholls two days earlier, winning 86-42.

Series: Colorado leads the all-time series, 4-2, with the Buffs winning all four games played in Boulder and the Mustangs winning all of the games played in Dallas. The only two games played between the two teams in the past 35 years came in 2008 and 2009, with Colorado winning at home in 2008, 63-52, and SMU winning at home, 70-67, at home in 2009.

Notes: Colorado is 11-1 overall and on an 11-game winning streak, its best since the 1961-62 team won 12 straight. The win streak is the fifth-longest in team history and the 11-1 start is the best after 12 games since the 1941-42 team won its first 14 en route to the NCAA Final Four.

Colorado is averaging 86.5 points during its 11-game win streak and has hit the 90-point mark four times including a 95-53 win over Hampton, tying its season-high in points. The Buffaloes hit the 90-point mark five times in the 2014-15 season. Colorado scored at least 80 points in the first ten games of the win streak, setting a new school record.

Colorado leads the Pac-12 Conference in scoring (84.5 ppg), free throw percentage (.741), 3-point percentage (.409), 3-pointers made (8.7 3mpg), assists (16.8) and defensive rebounds (32.1 drpg). The Buffaloes are also second in rebounds (44.7 rpg), rebounding margin (+12.1), scoring margin (+14.4 ppg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2).

SMU – Players to watch: Well, everyone. SMU has five players averaging double figures in scoring … Nic Moore (15.4 ppg.); Jordan Tolbert (14.2); Keith Frazier (14.1); Ben Moore (12.8); and Shake Milton (10.4).

In Tuesday’s 90-74 win over Kent State, Nic Moore scored 25 for the Mustangs, and two other SMU players had double-doubles,  as Keith Frazier had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Jordan Tolbert added 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Colorado Win Streaks

Rand Wins Season(s) Notable

1. 14 … 1941-42 … Won 1st 14, NCAA Final Four

2. 13 … 1928-30  … Won last 9 in ‘28-29, 1st 4 of ‘29-30

3. 12 … 1939-40 … NIT Champions; 1st NCAA Tourn.

    12 … 1961-62 … NCAA Regional Final

5. 11 … 2015-16 … 11-1 Best Start Since ‘41-42

6. 10 … 2013-14 … NCAA Second Round

   10 …  1944-45 … 1st year back after 2-year WWII layoff

   10 …  1920-22 … 8-0 in ‘20-21, won 1st two in ‘21-22

Active NCAA Win Streaks

1. 13 Michigan State

2. 12 Xavier

3. 11 Colorado

     11 South Carolina

5. 10 SMU

Colorado familiar with SMU, having scrimmaged with the Mustangs each of the past four years

From cubuffs.com … For the last two weeks, the Colorado Buffaloes have inched their way closer to a top 25 spot in the national polls.

Wednesday night, they have an opportunity to collect a win that would virtually guarantee inclusion in next week’s voting. The 11-1 Buffs — winners of 11 straight — face unbeaten and 18th-ranked SMU in the Las Vegas Classic championship game (8:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1), and a win over Larry Brown’s 10-0 Mustangs would almost certainly boost them into the top 25.

It’s a game they’ve been quietly eyeing for some time, and now can talk about openly.

“A great opportunity,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said Tuesday night, after his Buffs had scrapped out a 71-70 win over Penn State. “They’re a legitimate top 20 team. Obviously very well coached. We’re going to have to play better, we know that, our guys know that.”

SMU advanced by virtue of a 90-74 win over Kent State in Brown’s first game back after serving a nine-game NCAA suspension.

While the two programs haven’t played an official game since January 2009, they nevertheless know each other well, as they’ve engaged in preseason scrimmages each of the last four years.

“Their players are familiar with ours and ours are familiar with theirs,” Boyle said. “I have great respect for them, not only their coach, but the way they play and the players and their program. He’s a first-class coach and a Hall of Famer.”

Continue reading story here

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December 22nd – at Las Vegas           Colorado 71, Penn State 70

Colorado escaped its Las Vegas Classic semi-final matchup against Penn State with a 71-70 victory. Josh Scott led the Buffs with 18 points and eight rebounds, with three other starters also scoring in double digits: Josh Fortune (13 points); Dominique Collier (12); and Wesley Gordon (10).

The Buffs’ school-record string of scoring at least 80 points per game came to an end at ten games, but the winning streak, now up to 11, remained in tact.

The scoring streak was all but forgotten when the Buffs only managed 25 points in the first half. Falling behind by as many as seven points early, at 13-6, the Buffs were lucky to have a tie score at 25-25 at the break, Josh Scott had 15 of the Buffs’ 25 points, and the Buffs were never in the lead the entire first 20 minutes.

The Buffs took their first lead of the game, 27-25, on CU’s first possession of the second half. The Buffs then slowly built a lead, but were never ahead by more than five points until Dominique Collier hit a three-pointer with 6:33 left to give Colorado a 53-46 lead. A few minutes later, the lead was up to 11, at 64-53, with only four minutes remaining.

The lead was not safe, however, as Penn State fought back. A pair of free throws by the Nittany Lions made it a one possession game, at 68-65, with 21 seconds remaining. After Dominique Collier hit one of two free throws at the 21 second mark, a layup by PSU made it 69-67 with 15 seconds still left of the clock. George King, though, calmly hit two free throws at the eight second mark, making Penn State’s three-pointer with two seconds remaining irrelevant.

Game recap from cubuffs.com … When their offense struggled Tuesday night, the Colorado Buffaloes leaned on the three things on which they know they can always depend:

Defense, rebounding and Josh Scott.

That combination, along with some hot shooting in the second half, was enough to produce a 71-70 win over Penn State in the Las Vegas Classic semifinals and set up a Wednesday night meeting with unbeaten and 18th-ranked SMU (8:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1).

The 11-1 Buffs weren’t at their best, and the game seldom approached a thing of beauty. But, as head coach Tad Boyle said, “Over a 30-plus game season, you’re going to have those nights where you’re not at your best and you’ve got to find a way to win. Tonight was one of those nights where we found a way to win.”

Indeed, after struggling for much of the game on the offensive end, the Buffs finally hit a hot streak midway through the second half. Colorado hit five consecutive 3-pointers — including three from Josh Fortune — in a four-minute stretch to go up by 11, and still led by nine, 68-59, with less than two minutes to play.

CU then had to  withstand a furious PSU rally in the final minutes, and it wasn’t until George King hit two free throws with 7 seconds left for a 71-67 lead that the Buffs’ 11th straight victory was clearly in hand.

“The first half we turned the ball over nine times, the second half we turned it over twice,” Boyle said. “We took care of the ball and made some shots. Guys stepped up and made some big shots for us in the second half. We scored and we got stops in succession, and that’s what allowed us to get the lead.”

Scott led the Buffs with 18 points — 15 in the first half — and eight rebounds, while Fortune chipped in 13, Dominique Collier added 12 and Wesley Gordon tossed in 10. Gordon also had six rebounds and three blocks and Collier and Fortune each had three assists.

Continue reading story here

 

the field. Defensively, Penn State has allowed opponents just 64.7 points per game while holding them just under 40 percent shooting.

Senior forward Brandon Taylor leads Penn State at 15.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Shep Garner tops the Nittany Lions in assists (2.8 apg), steals (1.8 spg) and 3-pointers (27) while averaging 14.6 points per game. Sophomore forward Payton Banks is averaging 11.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per outing.

 

Pac-12 basketball … by the numbers

– 104-28 – The combined record of all Pac-12 programs through Dec. 21 games.  The .788 win percentage is the second-best and 28 losses are tied for the second-fewest nationally, trailing only the Big 12.

– 2 – The Pac-12’s ranking in the latest CBSSports.com Conference RPI compiled by Jerry Palm on Dec. 22, behind only the Big 12.

– 8.7 – The average number of victories for Pac-12 teams through Dec. 21 games, the highest of any conference in the nation.

– 11 – The Pac-12’s 11 teams in the NCAA RPI Top 100 as of Dec. 22 are the most of any conference in the nation. The Pac-12 also has 11 teams inside the Top 101 of ESPN.com’s Basketball Power Index and KenPom.com.

– 12 – Every Pac-12 program has a winning record through Dec. 21 games, a feat matched only by the Big 12.

– TOP 100 CHARTS: Of the Pac-12’s 104 wins through Dec. 21, 31 have come against NCAA RPI Top 100 teams, led by ARIZONA (4-1), ARIZONA STATE (4-1), CALIFORNIA (3-1), COLORADO (3-1), OREGON (4-2), UCLA (4-4), USC (3-2) and UTAH (4-2).

– POLLING WELL: At least one Pac-12 program has been in the AP Top 25 for 66 consecutive weeks, including 46 straight with a Top 15 team. ARIZONA moved into the Top 10 at No. 8 on Monday, while UTAH returned to the poll at No. 24 following its upset of No. 7 Duke.

– SIGN OF THINGS TO COME?: In four of the past nine seasons, the Pac-12 has sent six teams into the NCAA Tournament.  In each of those four instances, the league won more than 75 percent of its non-conference games. So far in 2015-16, the Pac-12 has a .788 non-league win percentage.

– BUFFALOES ROAM: Following a season-opening neutral site loss to Iowa State, COLORADO has reeled off 10 straight victories, NCAA’s third-longest and its most since a 10-game run in 2013-14, a season in which it earned an NCAA bid.

 

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December 21st

 … CU in the Arena …

CU women fall on the road to Wyoming

From cubuffs.com … For 20 minutes Monday night in Wyoming, the Colorado Buffaloes depended on their rebounding to make up for a poor shooting night, and it was enough to produce a 29-29 tie at half with the Cowgirls.

But when the Buffs’ rebounding and defense abandoned them, the Cowgirls took advantage and took control in the third quarter, building a 14-point lead, 62-48, by the end of the period. While the Buffs did battle back to cut the deficit to single digits early in the fourth period, they could never completely close the gap and Wyoming held on down the stretch for a 77-68 win.

The loss in their last nonconference game of the season dropped the Buffs to 5-6. They don’t play again until a Jan. 2 home game against Washington in their Pac-12 season opener.

“The first quarter may have been the best we’ve played all year …. but we have to learn how to sustain our focus and energy,” CU head coach Linda Lappe said. “You see lapses of unfocused basketball. In the second half, it looked like we were in mud at times.”

CU senior Jamee Swan did her part, finishing with 28 points and 13 rebounds, her third double-double of the season. Kennedy Leonard added 18 for CU, but they were the only two Buffs in double figures. The Cowgirls, meanwhile, had six players in double figures, led by 13 from Liv Roberts.

 

CU continues slow climb in rankings

The math is simple for the Buffs this week … Defeat Penn State and No. 18 SMU on Tuesday and Wednesday, and find yourselves ranked next Monday.

Lose either or both of those games … and the Buffs will need a solid run in Pac-12 play to get back into the national consciousness.

In this week’s Associated Press, CU moved up slightly in terms of votes, going from 21 votes to 27 votes this weekend, but actually dropped a spot, to No. 30 overall.

In the USA Today Coaches’ poll, CU received 31 votes, up from 25 last week, and moved from 30th to 29th overall.

Here is the December 21st AP poll:

1Michigan St (64)12-016231
2Kansas (1)9-115372
3Oklahoma8-014953
4Maryland10-114284
5Virginia9-113505
6Xavier11-012876
7North Carolina9-212157
8Arizona11-110568
9Butler9-19479
10Providence11-191110
11Iowa St.9-190711
12Kentucky9-285612
13Miami (FL)9-185113
14Purdue11-183314
15Duke9-280915
16Louisville9-165216
17Villanova8-264917
18SMU9-062818
19West Virginia9-147019
20George Washington10-136620
21Texas A&M9-232721
22Cincinnati10-231522
23Baylor8-214123
24Utah9-210724
25South Carolina10-08725

Others Receiving Votes: UCLA 49, Connecticut 46, Oregon 34, Gonzaga 33, Colorado 27, Dayton 17, Pittsburgh 16, Northern Iowa 15, AR Little Rock 14, Vanderbilt 8, Monmouth 6, Iowa 5, Texas 3, Florida 3, Northwestern 2

 

CU women face “must win” game on the road against Wyoming

From cubuffs.com

THE GAME: The University of Colorado plays its final non-conference contest of the season against the Wyoming Cowgirls in Laramie on Monday, Dec. 21 at Arena-Auditorium. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. MST.

BROADCAST: Monday’s game will air live on KKZN 760 AM. Cory Lopez will have the call alongside Carol Callan of USA Basketball. A free live video stream will be available at www.gowyo.com.

ABOUT THE BUFFS: Colorado is 5-5 overall on the season and have won two of their last three games after closing out a three-game homestand with a victory over Presbyterian, 72-60 on Saturday, Dec. 19. The Buffaloes will look to win their
second straight game as they face Wyoming in their non-conference season finale.

On offense, the Buffaloes are averaging 70.9 points per game while shooting 44 percent from the field. Colorado is a stellar 78 percent at the free throw line, fourth best in the nation and second in the Pac-12 Conference. The team has also found success shooting from long distance as CU ranks seventh in the country and third among Pac-12 teams in 3-point field goal percentage, connecting on 40 percent of its shots from behind the arc.

Defensively, the Buffs are holding their opponents to 38 percent shooting and CU records an average of 28.5 defensive rebounds per game where Colorado ranks sixth in the Pac-12 in that category. Colorado also ranks in the top half of the conference—fifth with 5.1 blocked shots per game.

ABOUT WYOMING: The Wyoming Cowgirls are 6-3 overall and are winners of three straight games. Wyoming kept its winning streak alive this past Saturday (Dec. 19), defeating Montana State 75-69 at home in its third overtime game of the year.

The Wyoming Cowgirls are averaging just shy of 70 points per game (68.2) and connect on 38 percent of their shots from the field. On defense, they average 5.9 steals, force 15.1 turnovers and hold a +2.6 rebounding margin. The Cowgirls have a trio of players averaging double-figures, led by senior guard and Denver native Marquelle Dent, who is averaging 19.1 points per game to go along with 3.3 rebounds. Freshman forward Marta Gomez and senior guard Jordan Kelley also average 11.0 and 11.2 points, respectively. Kelley is also dominant on the glass, pulling down 9.4 rebounds in each contest.

The Cowgirls own a 4-1 record on their home court this season and on average draw more than 2,500 fans to each game. Head coach Joe Legerski is in his 13th year at the helm for Wyoming and has posted a 238-143 overall record (.625).

THE SERIES: This is will mark the 46th meeting between the Buffaloes and Cowgirls. Colorado is an impressive 36-9 all-time against Wyoming and are 14-7 on the road. The Buffs defeated the Cowgirls 76-71 last season in Boulder to earn its fifth straight win against Wyoming.

 

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December 20th

… CU in the Arena …

Colorado national rankings has Buffs in top 40

Colorado has a 10-1 record and a ten-game winning streak.

How does that translate in the national picture?

The Associated Press and USA Today coaches’ poll will be out Monday. But in the meantime, here are some other rankings of note (it will hurt the Buffs – slightly – that Iowa State suffered its first loss of the season Saturday night, falling 81-79 to Northern Iowa:

Sagarin Ratings:

14 – Arizona

35 – Oregon

37 – USC

38 – Colorado

41 – Utah

42 – UCLA

45 – California

46 – Arizona State

50 – Oregon State

73 – Washington

80 – Stanford

149 – Washington State

 

Basketball Power Index (BPI)

No. 32 – Colorado … No. 4 in the Pac-12 … a No. 8 seed in the NCAA tournament

 

Daily RPI

No. 31 – Colorado … No. 3 in the Pac-12

 

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December 19th – Boulder          Colorado 95, Hampton 53

Game recap from cubuffs.com … The Colorado Buffaloes played like head coach Tad Boyle expected them to Saturday night against Hampton.

From the beginning, the Buffs were a different team than the one that took the floor the previous night against Nicholls in a sluggish win. They shared the ball, played defense and attacked the boards in one of their most dominant efforts of the year.

The result was a 95-53 victory for their 10th straight win.

The game was not in doubt after the first few minutes. Colorado led by 11 points midway through the first half, by 17 at intermission, and then continued to build on the margin in the second half. The CU lead hit 20 early in the second half for the second time in the game, then 30 and finally reached into the 40s over the final few minutes. The only drama left over the final two minutes was whether the Buffs would hit the century mark, which they missed by just five points.

Along with the scoreboard, the Buffs dominated virtually every statistical category. Colorado won the rebound battle 52-37, shot 47.7 percent from the field and had 23 assists and just six turnovers.

Buff big man Josh Scott finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and a pair of assists, his fifth straight game with at least 20 points. Sophomore Tory Miller came off the bench to score a career high 19 points and grab 10 rebounds for his second career double-double (first of the season), sophomore George King had 12 points and five rebounds and sophomore point guard Dom Collier had a game-high eight assists to go with 10 points and four rebounds.

Continue reading story here

 

CU women even record at 5-5 with 72-60 win over Presbyterian

From cubufffs.com … A little extra practice time this week proved to be extremely valuable for the Colorado Buffaloes in their Saturday afternoon game against Presbyterian.

The Buffs, who spent the week fine-tuning their press, used it with great effectiveness in the second half Saturday, paving the way for a 72-60 win over the Blue Hose. The win evened the Buffs record at 5-5 while the Blue Hose dropped to 4-6.

Colorado’s defense struggled in the first half, allowing Presbyterian to play the Buffs to a dead-even 36-36 first half.

But when the Buffs began employing the press in the second half, it turned the tide. The Buffs forced 19 turnovers in the game — 13 in the second half — and converted those miscues into 24 points, allowing Colorado to break open a tight game midway through the third quarter and slowly pull away.

“It changed the momentum,” CU head coach Linda Lappe said. “That was really the difference in the game.”

CU senior Jamee Swan led the Buffs with 16 points and 11 rebounds, her 12th career double-double and second of the season. Lauren Huggins also scored 16, including a 4-for-8 day from 3-point range, Brecca Thomas added 10 and Kennedy Leonard handed out a game-high seven assists.

 

Getting to Know: Hampton … Saturday, 7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … 760 AM radio … Sirius Radio 137; XM 197

Pirates’ 2014-15 Record: 17-18, 8-8 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play. Don’t be fooled by the losing record, however, as Hampton raced through the MEAC conference tournament last spring, taking the tournament title as the league’s sixth-seed, earning a trip to the NCAA tournament. There, as a No. 16 seed, the Pirates defeated Manhattan to earn a date with No. 1 seed Kentucky. There, the Cinderella story ended, with a 79-56 loss to the Wildcats.

Pirates’ 2015-16 record: 4-4, including a 105-72 loss to No. 18 SMU Thursday night in the first game of the Las Vegas Classic. Hampton’s four wins have come over American, Appalachian State, Northern Arizona and Coppin State. Not an impressive list, though two of the wins have come in overtime, so if the Pirates can keep it close …

No way. If the Buffs took nothing away from being down ten points in the first half against Nicholls, it is that they cannot afford to take any team for granted. Hampton has a better pedigree than does Nicholls, and the Buffs – hopefully – are not interested in yet another tongue-lashing from their coach. Look for the Buffs to take control early, have a few lapses, but still win comfortably.

Series: The teams have never met before in basketball.

Notable: The Buffs are averaging 87.4 points per game in their nine-game win streak, and they’ve scored at least 80 points in their last nine games, a school record. … The Buffs lead the Pac-12 in scoring (84.8 ppg), free throw percentage (.759), 3-point percentage (.422), assists (16.2), defensive rebounds (31.6 per game) and 3-point field goals made (8.3 per game). … Josh Scott leads the Buffs in scoring (18.7 ppg) and rebounding (9.8) and is shooting 63 percent from the field and 84 percent from the free throw line. He has five double-doubles this season.

Players to watch … Senior guard Reginald Johnson, Jr., leads Hampton at 18.7 points and 3.3 assists per game. Senior guard Quinton Chievous has a season double-double in his four games, averaging 16.5 points and 13.3 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Brian Darden is the Pirates’ third double-digit scorer at 11.7 per game and begins the week with a team-best 14 three-point field goals.

 

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December 18th – Boulder           Colorado 85 Nicholls 68

Quotable … Tad Boyle: “Obviously I’m not too pleased with the way we came out tonight.  I thought our first half performance was pathetic in a lot of different ways.  We had some guys who weren’t here mentally tonight, and that’s not going to work against a PAC-12 team.  If we were playing a PAC-12 team tonight we’d be down 20 at halftime not five.  We have to understand that.  I’m just disappointed by our first half performance.  We’ve got to learn from it and get better, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Game recap from cubuffs.com … Maybe it was the effects of finals week. Maybe it was rust after playing just two games in the last 15 days.

But whatever the reason, the Colorado Buffaloes did not look like a team worthy of their top 15 RPI ranking Friday against visiting Nicholls State (248 RPI).

Still, the Buffs finally woke up from a 30-minute slumber long enough to slip away with an 85-68 win over the Colonels. It was 9-1 Colorado’s ninth straight win while Nicholls — coming off a 44-point loss to SMU two nights prior — fell to 3-7.

The Buffs struggled for most of the night in virtually every category. They hit just three of 15 tries from 3-point range in the first half — they finished 9-for-27 — and trailed by as much as 10 before finally cutting the deficit to five, 38-33, heading into the locker room.

But they finally awakened in the second half. The Buffs slowly chipped away at the Nicholls lead, and finally took the lead for good, 47-45, on a Tre’Shaun Fletcher dunk with 15:30 left in the game. The Colonels managed to stay close for a few more minutes before the Buffs put together a 22-7 run that turned a one-point game into a 75-60 CU lead with just more than four minutes to play.

CU’s Josh Scott saw his run of consecutive games with a double-double halted at three, but he still finished with a game-high 20 points — 16 in the second half — and six rebounds. Josh Fortune added 17 points and George King chipped in 14 for CU.

Continue reading story here

 

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December 17th

… CU in the Arena …

Getting to Know: Nicholls … Friday, 7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … KOA 850 radio … Sirius Radio 83; XM 202

Colonels’ 2014-15 Record: 10-19, 7-11 in Southland Conference play.

Colonels’ 2015-16 record: 3-6, including an 86-42 loss No. 18 SMU on Wednesday night, in the first round of the Las Vegas Classic tournament. Nicholls’ three wins have come over basketball powers Mobile (from the NAIA), Louisiana College (Division III), and Loyola of Louisiana (another NAIA school).

While the Colonels are a perfect 3-0 at home, they have lost all six road chances. Nicholls averages 66.3 points per game while shooting only 38% from the field. Defensively, the Colonels have allowed nearly 81 points per game, while being outrebounded by 10.6 boards per game.

Suffice it to say, this should be a rout.

Series: The teams have never met in basketball. Colorado defeated Nicholls in football, 48-0, this past September.

Fletcher Won’t Start: CU’s Tre’Shaun Fletcher suffered an unspecified minor injury in last weekend’s win over BYU and did not practice for a couple of days this week and thus won’t start. It means George King and Fortune will get the start on the wings.

Notable: The Buffs are averaging 87.6 points per game in their eight-game win streak, and they’ve scored at least 80 points in their last eight games, a school record. … The Buffs lead the Pac-12 in scoring (84.8 ppg), free throw percentage (.759), 3-point percentage (.422), assists (16.2), defensive rebounds (31.6 per game) and 3-point field goals made (8.3 per game). … Josh Scott leads the Buffs in scoring (18.7 ppg) and rebounding (9.8) and is shooting 63 percent from the field and 84 percent from the free throw line. He has five double-doubles this season, including each of the last three games, when he’s averaged 22.3 points and 12 rebounds per game.

Players to watch … Eli Stalzer, Josh Repine, and Brett Brady should get significant minutes in the second half of this game. Colorado is on an eight-game winning streak, the sixth-longest active streak in the nation, and Nicholls does not present a realistic challenge to the Buffs.

There should be highlight-reel dunks by the Buffs’ starters, with Josh Scott picking up a double-double early in the second half, with the CU center spending much of the second half cheering on the end-of-the-bench players as they add to their career statistics.

 

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December 15th

CU in the Arena …

CU the highest rated Pac-12 team in the RPI rankings

From cubuffs.com … But perhaps the most important move for the Buffs was in the official NCAA RPI, where Colorado was sitting in the 15th spot Monday morning, the highest perch of any Pac-12 team.

Other Pac-12 teams in the top-50 RPI were UCLA (29), Southern California (30), Utah (31), Oregon (36), Oregon State (38), Arizona (43) and Arizona State (44).

The Buffs have been in the top 30 of the RPI since the opening week of the season, when they lost a neutral-court game to Iowa State (third in this week’s RPI), then won a road game at Auburn. They’ve kept their numbers up with a road win at Colorado State and home wins over Air Force and BYU.

The Buffs have two more home games this week — Friday vs. Nicholls State and Saturday vs. Hampton, both set to tip off at 7 p.m. — before traveling to Las Vegas next week for two more games in the Las Vegas Classic.

Those will be two more big opportunities for the Buffs to get a little more national attention. CU plays Penn State on Dec. 22 in Orleans Arena (8:30 p.m. start), then plays either Kent State or SMU the following night. If the Buffs beat Penn State and SMU defeats Kent State, it will set up a Colorado matchup with the 7-0 Mustangs, currently ranked 18th in the AP poll.

It would also set up a matchup between CU coach Boyle and his old college coach, Larry Brown. Boyle played for Brown at Kansas.

 

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December 14th

… CU in the Arena …

Colorado receiving votes in both national polls

The Buffs received 21 votes in the latest Associated Press poll (up from zero last week), good enough for the equivalent of No. 29 in the nation. In the coaches poll, the Buffs received 25 votes (up from one vote last week), good enough for No. 30 overall.

Here is the Associated Press poll

1Michigan State (64)11-01,621
2Kansas (1)8-11,499
3Oklahoma7-01,409
4Kentucky9-11,385
5Iowa State9-01,370
6Maryland9-11,353
7Duke8-11,271
8Virginia8-11,132
9Purdue11-01,082
10Xavier10-01,062
11North Carolina7-21,023
12Villanova8-1865
13Arizona9-1860
14Providence10-1724
15Miami (FL)8-1622
16Baylor7-1605
17Butler8-1562
18SMU7-0560
19Louisville7-1534
20West Virginia8-1466
21George Washington9-1256
22UCLA7-3213
23Cincinnati8-2197
24Texas A&M8-2152
25Connecticut6-347

And the USA Today coaches poll:

1Michigan State (28)11-0794
2Iowa State (3)9-0719
3Oklahoma (1)7-0675
4Kentucky9-1665
5Kansas8-1664
6Duke8-1649
7Maryland9-1640
8Purdue11-0552
9Virginia8-1547
10Xavier10-0491
11North Carolina7-2474
12Arizona9-1469
13Villanova8-1464
14Baylor7-1323
14Providence10-1323
16West Virginia8-1288
16Louisville7-1288
18Butler8-1268
19Miami (FL)8-1265
20Cincinnati8-2101
21Gonzaga6-390
22George Washington9-187
23Vanderbilt6-379
24Texas A&M8-277
25South Carolina8-070

 

 

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December 12th – Boulder           Colorado 92, BYU 83

Buffs build 25-point lead – hold on for nine-point victory

From cubuffs.com … Colorado coach Tad Boyle has been waiting for his team to put together a beginning-to-end, solid 40-minute performance this year.

The Buffs came close Saturday night — “about 36 minutes” by Boyle’s estimation — and it was enough to produce a 92-83 win over BYU, the 8-1 Buffs’ eighth-straight victory.

“That was a really good win for Colorado basketball,” Boyle said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for BYU and a lot of respect for (head coach) Dave Rose. They’re going to win a lot of games as this season unfolds.”

The Buffs received their third consecutive double-double effort from senior Josh Scott, who finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Buff sophomore George King led Colorado in scoring with 23 points, including a 4-for-6 night from 3-point range, while Josh Fortune added seven points, six rebounds and five assists and Dom Collier had a nine-point, seven-rebound, four-assist effort.

Nick Emery led BYU with 23 points, 18 of them coming in the second half, when the Cougars turned a potential blowout into a game that kept the biggest Coors Events Center crowd of the season (8,913) in their seats until the end.

Continue reading story here

Game Notes …

– Colorado now owns a 17-6 lead in the all-time series with BYU, including a perfect 11-0 at home … it was the first game between the two teams since 1955;

– The Buffs extended their winning streak to eight games, the longest such streak since winning ten straight during the 2013-14 non-conference schedule;

– The streak is the 15th streak of eight games or more in school history, but just the sixth since 1962-63;

– Josh Scott posted his third straight double-double, with each game scoring over 20 points. Scott now has 28 double-doubles in his career (five this season);

– The 8,913 attendance mark was well short of a sell-out, but was the most for the Buffs at home this season;

– In the last three games, CU has made 50-of-59 free throw attempts (.847). Xavier Talton and Dominique Collier are a combined 31-of-32 from the line this season;

– The Buffs play again next Friday and Saturday when they host a pair of games in the opening rounds of the Las Vegas Classic. CU hosts Nicholls on Friday and Hampton on Saturday, with both games scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.

Colorado from BYU’s perspective

From the Salt Lake City Tribune … Coach Dave Rose’s BYU basketball team already has a “bad loss” on its NCAA Tournament résumé, that baffling 66-65 setback at Long Beach State on Nov. 16 in which the Cougars missed 13 free throws and committed 24 turnovers.

Their second chance for a quality win — after they stumbled badly in an 83-75 loss at Utah 10 days ago — comes on Saturday against Colorado (7-1) of the Pac-12 at the Coors Event Center. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. MST in the first meeting between the Cougars and Buffaloes since 1955.

“We look forward to a big challenge on Saturday,” Rose said Wednesday night after the Cougars rolled past Utah State 80-68 at the Marriott Center.

… “What stands out [about Colorado] is it is a really long, athletic, quick team,” Rose said. “It is a team that really challenges you on the defensive end. They will just make things really hard on us. So we will have to be good as far as how we execute, and then rebounding the ball will be a huge key in this game, not turning it over where they get easy baskets in transition, and then rebounding that thing. I am looking forward to that game. Hopefully our guys will respond and we will play well.”

The Cougars will likely play again without Jamal Aytes (ankle injury), so the onus will be on posts Corbin Kaufusi, Kyle Davis and Nate Austin to stay out of foul trouble while defending Scott and his teammates. Kaufusi picked up two quick fouls against the Aggies and played just 18 minutes.

Continue reading story here

 

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December 11th

… CU in the Arena …

Getting to Know: BYU … Saturday, 6:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … KOA 850 radio … Sirius Radio 137; XM 197

Cougars’ 2014-15 Record: 25-10, 13-5 in West Coast Conference play … The Cougars defeated then No. 3 Gonzaga on the road, 73-70, ending what was then the nation’s longest home winning streak … As a No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament, BYU had a play-in game against No. 11 Ole Miss. The Cougars had a 17-point lead against the Rebels, but ended up losing, 94-90.

Cougars’ 2015-16 record: 6-2. BYU has wins over most of its in-state rivals, taking down Utah State, Weber State, and Utah Valley State, but did not fare as well against Utah. The Utes raced out to 35-13 lead in the first half, settling for a 51-28 halftime advantage, and, ultimately, an 83-75 win over the Cougars.

Series: Colorado leads the all-time series with BYU, 16-6, with a perfect 10-0 record against the Cougars in games played in Boulder. Most of those games, however, were in the 1940’s. The teams haven’t played each other since 1955, with BYU taking a pair of games on back-to-back nights at home in Provo.

Players to watch … Get ready for a barrage of three-pointers from the Cougars (hopefully without the success – 7-of-10 – CSU had against the Buffs in the first half last Sunday).

“They made some tough shots, and that’s going to happen,” Boyle said of CSU’s early success from behind the arc. “BYU is capable of doing that. (Nick) Emery and (Chase) Fischer on the perimeter, those guys can shoot it.”

Indeed, the Cougars — who are averaging more than 80 points per game — get the bulk of their scoring from the perimeter. Emery, Fischer and point guard Kyle Collinsworth combine to average more than 45 points per game, with Fischer and Emery combining to shoot 111 3-pointers thus far this season.

Boyle calls BYU point guard Kyle Collinsworth “as good of a player as there is in college basketball in terms of doing everything. He scores, he rebounds, he makes plays for others.” The 6-foot-6 Collinsworth is third on the team in scoring (14.5 points per game), second in rebounding (8.3) and leads in assists (8.1 per game).

But Boyle believes his team is becoming more and more aware of how important their effort on the defensive end of the floor is in terms of their overall success.

“I think they understand,” Boyle told cubuffs.com. “Now understanding it and going out and executing it, that’s where we’ve got to get to.”

The biggest defensive challenge for the Buffs has been on the perimeter. The Buffs are giving up nearly eight 3-pointers per game, and they rank a lowly 325th in the nation in 3-point defense, allowing opponents to connect almost 40 percent of the time.

But thanks to an offense that’s averaging nearly 84 points per game — including more than eight 3-pointers per contest — the Buffs are riding a seven-game winning streak.

“CSU was a big step forward for us,” CU senior forward Josh Scott said. “It’s real important that we keep learning from each game. This team coming in Saturday can shoot, and it’s going to be another challenge for us defensively.”

 

Coach Tad Boyle talks with the media

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

 

December 10th

… CU in the Arena …

CU sell-out and ugly sweater promotion this Saturday

From cubuffs.com … Dig up that favorite holiday sweater and get to the men’s and women’s basketball games this Saturday, Dec. 12. The women will face Missouri at 1:30 p.m. with free ugly sweater shirts for early-arriving fans, followed by the 7-1 men’s team and their No. 17 RPI on the line facing off with BYU at 6 p.m. Help the Buffs sellout the BYU game and get tickets today.  >>BOYLE  >>TICKETS  >>INFO

Star Wars weekend next weekend

From cubuffs com … Buffs fans, May the Force Be With You! And hopefully compel you to head to the Coors Events Center on Friday, Dec. 18 for Star Wars Night at CU men’s hoops.  Then on Saturday, Dec. 19. enjoy a doubleheader with the women tipping off at 3:30 vs Presbyterian and the men following at 7 p.m. against Hampton.  >>GET TICKETS NOW

 

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December 9th

… CU in the Arena …

Pac-12 non-conference season a mixed bag so far this season

There are three Pac-12 teams in the latest Associated Press rankings … Arizona at No. 13; Oregon at No. 24; and Utah at No. 25. One other school, UCLA, is receiving votes (in at No. 31) … though it is worth noting that Colorado did receive one vote in the latest USA Today coaches’ poll.

The Pac-12 has a 4-6 record against teams ranked in the Top 25, with the most impressive being UCLA’s victory over then No. 1 Kentucky. The other wins … Arizona over No. 13 Gonzaga … USC’s win over No. 20 Wichita State … and Arizona State’s win over No. 18 Texas A&M.

The league has an impressive 8-1 record in true road games, including CU’s 2-0 record (wins over Auburn and Colorado State).

Arizona State’s loss to Sacramento State, Stanford’s loss to St. Mary’s, and Monmouth’s sweep of the Los Angeles schools probably rate as the worst losses by the conference to date.

Pac-12 men’s basketball standings:

Arizona0-07-1
Utah0-07-1
Colorado0-07-1
Oregon0-07-1
Oregon State0-06-1
Washington State0-05-1
USC0-07-2
Arizona State0-06-2
California0-06-2
Washington0-06-2
UCLA0-06-3
Stanford0-03-3

 

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December 7th

… CU in the Arena …

Tad Boyle looking for a sellout against BYU … CU down 1,800 per game in attendance this year

From cubuffs.com … Tad Boyle’s Colorado Buffaloes woke up Monday morning with a seven-game winning streak, a No. 17 NCAA RPI — the highest of any team in the Pac-12 — and the conference lead in scoring.

What the Buffs would like to see next is a full house, beginning with Saturday’s 6 p.m. contest vs. BYU at the Coors Events Center.

Thus far this year, CU’s attendance has lagged the last three seasons, even when comparing non-conference games. In five home games, official attendance has averaged 7,538, with the largest crowd a gathering of 7,783 for the home opener vs. Portland.

It’s meant the two biggest crowds the Buffs have seen this year both came on the road — 8,075 in Auburn, where the Buffs claimed a 91-84 win; and 8,750 Sunday in Fort Collins, where the Buffs claimed an 88-77 win over Colorado State in what was undoubtedly the most electric atmosphere the Buffs have encountered this season.

It’s been a little perplexing for Boyle, who quite clearly believes these Buffs are worth the price of admission.

“This is a fun team to watch,” Boyle said. “It’s an entertaining, exciting brand of basketball. We’d love to see a sellout Saturday night. BYU is a heck of a team, and it’s going to be a great game — and it’s important that our fans know how important they are to our success.”

… Boyle said he also understands that this year’s early home schedule didn’t include a host of marquee teams, a fact that might keep the casual fan from attending. Still, last year’s first four home games — Drexel, Auburn, Air Force and Lipscomb — averaged 9,326 per game. A similar schedule this year has averaged roughly 1,800 fewer fans per game.

… Saturday’s opponent, BYU, is a perennial NCAA Tournament team. The Cougars have played in eight of the last nine NCAAs, missing only 2013. Boyle would like the Cougars to be greeted by a raucous atmosphere as the Buffs pursue their eighth straight win.

“The first five games this year, the Coors Events Center has not been a tough environment,” Boyle said. “Don’t get me wrong — the fans that have been there have been great, there just haven’t been enough of them. We’re extremely appreciative of the fans that have been there. We’d just like to see more of them from here on out.”

Colorado No. 17 in latest RPI rankings … the highest in the Pac-12

17. Colorado

21. Utah

23. Oregon

27. Oregon State

45. Arizona State

46.Southern California

51. UCLA

52. Stanford

80. Washington

83. Arizona

120. California

303. Washington State

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December 6th – at Ft. Collins        Colorado 88 Colorado State 77

From cubuffs.com … For the second time in as many true road contests this year, the Colorado Buffaloes erased a double-digit deficit Sunday to claim an 88-77 win over Colorado State.

Just as they did in Auburn earlier this year, the Buffs withstood a withering 3-point barrage from the Rams in the first half. CSU hit seven of its first 10 3-point tries and took a 52-39 lead into the locker room at the half.

The Buffs, though, answered with a 15-1 run to start the half and take the lead, and while CSU came back to tie the game at 68-68 with 9:17 to go, the Buffs finally took control for good down the stretch. A Josh Scott bucket with seven minutes left gave the Buffs a 70-68 lead and started a 15-4 run that put the game away and gave the 7-1 Buffs their seventh straight win.

Scott, who had six points in the deciding run, finished with a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double while frontline teammate Wes Gordon had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Josh Fortune added 16 points and six assists for the Buffs while Dom Collier had a team-high seven assists to go with seven points.

… “We’ve got resolve and we’ve got toughness”, said Tad Boyle. “That’s what [this game] told me about this team. We’ve taken some guys’ best shots – Auburn played really well against us in the first half against us, Colorado State just did, and Fort Lewis did the other night against us with 44 points in the first half, but if we come out in the second half and make the right adjustments, we’re fine”.

… “In a way yes [this game did mean more than the last seven]”, said Josh Scott. “I have made my opinions clear, it means a lot to win against CSU. Last year we didn’t have a very good taste in our mouth when they came and beat us in our house and this year we came out with the win. I am very happy.”

Stats

– Josh Scott posted a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds (after a two-point effort in CU’s loss to CSU last year);

– Wesley Gordon also had a double-double, with 15 points and 12 rebounds;

– Three other Buffs were in double figures, with Josh Fortune going for 16 points (5-6 from two-point range; 0-5 from three-point range); George King had 11; and Tre’Shaun Fletcher 10 points;

– Colorado State went 7-for-10 in three-point attempts in building a 52-39 lead. In the second half, in which the Buffs out-scored the Rams, 49-25, the Colorado State went 5-of-13 from beyond the arc;

– The win gives Colorado an 89-37 advantage over Colorado State in the all-time series, with a 37-27 edge in games played in Ft. Collins;

– A crowd of 8,750 was on hand to witness CU win Tad Boyle raise his record against CSU at CU to 6-4 (4-2 at CU; 2-2 at UNC). CSU coach Larry Eustachy is 7-8 all-time against CU (1-3 at Ft. Collins, 6-5 at Iowa State).

 

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December 5th

CU in the Arena …

Getting to Know Colorado State Rams … Sunday, noon, MT (ROOT Sports) … KKZN 760 AM radio … Sirius Radio 213; XM 197

Rams’ 2014-15 Record: 27-7, 13-5 in Mountain West Conference play. A No. 1 seed in the NIT tournament, Colorado State fell to South Dakota State at home, 86-76.

Last season, Colorado State ran its season record to 9-0 with a 62-60 win over Colorado in a game played in Boulder.

Rams’ 2015-16 record: 5-2. Colorado State opened with a 5-0 record, with wins over Northern Iowa, Loyola-Marymount, Oakland, Abilene Christian and Portland. In their last two games, the Rams have fallen to UTEP and Long Beach State.

The Buffs and Rams have one opponent in common. Both played Portland at home, with Colorado State defeating the Pilots, 90-74, while the Buffs won their game against Portland, 85-63.

Series: Colorado leads the all-time series against Colorado State by a margin of 88-37. In games played in Ft. Collins, the Buffs hold a 36-27 advantage, including a 67-62 win two years ago, the last time the Buffs ventured north to play the Rams.

Players to watch … Senior guard Gian Clavell leads Colorado State at 21.3 points per game. He is hitting 40 percent from downtown with a team-best 20 3-pointers made. Junior guard John Gillon is averaging 16.4 points with a team-best 4.9 assists per game. Junior forward Emmanuel Omogbo is Colorado State’s top rebounder at 8.9 per game while averaging 12.9 points on 53.2 percent shooting. Senior guard Antwan Scott has given the Rams 13.8 points on 51 percent shooting off the bench.

Rams’ coach … Larry Eustachy is in his fourth season at Colorado State with a record of 74-34. He is 476-292 in 25 years as a collegiate head coach.

 

Josh Scott expecting a physical game in Ft. Collins:

From cubuffs.com … Sunday afternoon, Colorado senior Josh Scott will square off for the fourth time in his career against rival Colorado State, the second time in Fort Collins (noon tipoff, ROOT Sports).

There will be no surprises. Scott, who’s 2-1 against the Rams, knows what’s ahead.

“I’m expecting to be bruised, but I expect to be doing some bruising myself,” Scott said Friday morning after practice. “Banged up, tired. In the end, that’s just CU-CSU.”

Scott wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I actually enjoy it,” Scott said. “It’s how the game’s supposed to be played in terms of a rivalry game. It’s supposed to be tough and hard.”

Every Buff who was on floor — or bench — remembers last year’s game, a 62-60 CSU win in Boulder. Scott suffered through one of the least-productive games of his career that night, finishing with just two points — both on free throws — on an 0-for-7 night from the field. CSU big man Tiel Daniels, who hounded Scott for most of last year’s game, will be on the floor again, likely in the same role.

It’s not a night Scott needs to be reminded of.

“I’m not a fan of CSU,” Scott said bluntly. “I won’t pretend like I’m a fan of them, their fans, any of that sort of stuff. I know who lost last year. Do I plan on having a big night? Yes. Do I think our team’s going to win? Yes. We felt the loss last year and no one wants to feel it again.”

Continue reading story here

Boyle looking for a hostile environment

From cubuffs.com … “You can make an argument that this will be the most hostile environment we’ll play in all year long,” CU coach Tad Boyle said Friday. “We don’t go to Arizona this year. Utah is probably the next closest … This and Utah will be the two toughest environments as I look forward.”

… But as Boyle explained to his team, “Auburn was a good hostile environment, but Auburn doesn’t hate Colorado. Colorado State hates Colorado. So it’s going to be a little different level of hostility.”

Indeed, it is a rivalry, and the Rams have owned bragging rights to the game for the last year, thanks to their 62-60 win in Boulder last season.

“I know when they left our building last year they felt pretty good about themselves,” Boyle said. “It was a heck of an environment and they came in here and they got one. They earned it and they deserved it, and I’m sure they felt really really good about themselves — and they should have.”

Continue reading story here

—-

 

December 4th

CU in the Arena …

Boyle trying to stay on top of players, even during blowouts

From Neill Woelk at cubuffs.com … Since the beginning of the season, Colorado head coach Tad Boyle has said he plans to apply this year the lessons learned from last year’s disappointing 16-18 finish.

Tops on the list might be his efforts to nip bad moments in the bud — before they become habits.

That became supremely evident earlier this week in CU’s 82-52 win over Northern Colorado. Midway through the second half, with the Buffs up by 26 and obviously in control of the game, Boyle rather vociferously ordered a timeout. By the time the referees had blown their whistles, an obviously irate Boyle was on the court, admonishing his players to hurry to the bench.

While the particulars stayed in the huddle, the general message was clear to everyone in the Coors Events Center: a sloppy defensive possession precipitated by a turnover was a sequence Boyle wasn’t going to accept — even with a 26-point lead.

“When our guys are doing what they’re supposed to on the court, I’m a pretty mellow guy,” Boyle said after the game. “But when we’re not, it’s my job to make sure it happens. Last year, I didn’t do that enough, and I made a vow this year to myself that it’ll be different.”

… “This time of the season we set our standard high for ourselves,” Boyle said after a recent win. “I’m not trying to sound negative because I love this team, I love the makeup of this team, the character of this team and the toughness of this team. But this team can be a lot better than the way we’ve played since we came home from our first two road games.”

Continue reading story here

Colorado State loses second straight, falls at home to Long Beach State

From ESPN … Nick Faust scored a career-high 27 points and Long Beach State beat Colorado State 83-77 on Thursday night.

Faust, who played three years at Maryland, had five 3-pointers. A.J. Spencer and Travis Hammonds added 14 points each with Hammonds grabbing 10 rebounds.

Two free throws by Gian Clavell got the Rams within three, 78-75, with 55 seconds left. After a 49ers free throw, Faust made a steal and passed to Gabe Levin for a dunk and an 81-75 advantage with 14 seconds left.

Long Beach (4-4) snapped a four-game losing streak while the Rams (5-2) lost their second straight.

Colorado State’s John Gillon scored a career-high 28 points with six 3-pointers. He made all eight of his free throws but the Rams were only 23 of 39 from the line, with the 49ers hitting 10 of 16. Clavell added 20 points and 15 rebounds and Emmanuel Omogbo 15 points and 11 boards.

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December 2nd

CU in the Arena …

Buffs need a strong performance from Josh Scott to put away Ft. Lewis

From cubuffs.com …  Tad Boyle warned the Colorado Buffaloes that Fort Lewis would not be impressed by either the Buffs’ record or the names on their uniforms.

It took the Buffs 20 minutes of basketball Wednesday night to realize Boyle wasn’t exaggerating. The Skyhawks matched the Buffs blow for blow in the first half and continued to make life uncomfortable for CU for much of the second before Colorado finally pulled away down the stretch for an 95-71 win.

CU senior Josh Scott finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds, his third double-double of the season and 26th of his career. Tre’Shaun Fletcher finished with 13 points and a career-high seven assists, Josh Fortune had 17 points and six assists and Wesley Gordon chipped in 10 rebounds and eight points.

“You’ve got to give credit to Fort Lewis,” Boyle said after the game. “This is their Super Bowl. They came in loose and free and with nothing to lose, and they played like it.”

While it wasn’t the 6-1 Buffs’ prettiest performance of the season — at least for a half —  it was nevertheless their sixth straight victory, setting the stage for a noon contest Sunday at Colorado State (Root Sports) — a game that’s no doubt on the Buffs’ minds.

“We have an unbelievable challenge on Sunday,” Boyle said. “CSU is a very, very good team.”

The Skyhawks gave the Buffs a glimpse of what they expect to see Sunday in Fort Collins — a good outside-shooting squad that can hit from just about anywhere on the floor. Fort Lewis connected on 17 of its 31 field goal attempts in the first half Wednesday (55 percent), including a 7-for-13 effort from 3-point range that left the Buffs with a narrow 46-44 edge at halftime.

“They made some tough shots,” Scott said. “But I also think that we aided in allowing them to feel comfortable and allowing them to get off to a good start. When you let a team like that think they can play with you, they are going to keep shooting and feel good. It was just a matter of contesting them, and we knew they eventually would stop falling.”

Game story from ESPN Josh Scott tied a season-high with 24 points and Colorado pulled away in the second half to beat Fort Lewis 95-71 on Wednesday night.

Josh Fortune had 17 points and Tre’Shaun Fletcher 13 for Colorado (6-1), which won its sixth in a row since a season-opening loss at Iowa State. Scott added a game-high 15 rebounds.

Joshua Blaylock led the Skyhawks with 13 points. Kofi Josephs added 11 points for Fort Lewis, a Division II school based in Durango, Colorado. The game was considered an exhibition for the Skyhawks.

Cade Kloster’s 3-pointer pulled Fort Lewis to within 58-53 but Scott hit a jumper to start an 8-0 run that Fletcher and George King finished with successive 3s. The run gave Colorado a 13-point lead with just under 11 minutes remaining. Colorado gradually extended its lead and began substituting freely in the game’s last few minutes.

Fort Lewis trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half but outscored the Buffaloes 7-2 in the last 1:19 of the half to pull to within 46-44 at the break.

Blaylock converted a 4-point play to start the Skyhawks’ spurt.

After Fort Lewis scored the game’s first five points, the Buffaloes ran off 17 points in a row. The teams were tied at 23 but Fortune and Dominique Collier hit successive 3s to put Colorado back in front in to stay.

TIP-INS

Colorado: Scott has had three double-doubles this season and 26 for his career, moving him ahead of David Harrison (2001-04) into 10th on the school’s all-time list.

UP NEXT

Colorado: Plays at Colorado State on Sunday.

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December 1st

CU in the Arena …

Getting to Know Ft. Lewis Skyhawks … Wednesday, 6:00 p.m. MT (Pac-12 Networks) … KOA 850 AM radio … Sirius Radio 212; XM 197

Skyhawks’ 2014-15 Record: 20-9 overall, 15-7 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play.

Skyhawks’ 2015-16 record: 5-0. Granted, those games were against West Texas A&M, Eastern New Mexico, Northern New Mexico, Haskell Indians College, and Evangel University.

However, Ft. Lewis also has posted an exhibition victory over … Wyoming. The Skyhawks went to Laramie and defeated the Cowboys, 77-69. Considering the Buffs went to Laramie last winter and lost, 56-33, it’s hard to overlook Ft. Lewis.

Coach: Bob Pietrack, in his first season at Ft. Lewis. Pietrack was an assistant under Bob Hofman for 11 years before Hofman retired last spring.

Series: The Buffs lead the series, 3-0, with wins in 1976, 1985, and 2011.

Boyle on Ft. Lewis:

From cubuffs.com … It didn’t take much for Colorado basketball coach Tad Boyle to get his players’ attention when talking about the game plan for Wednesday night’s game vs. Division II Fort Lewis (6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).

All Boyle had to do was remind the 5-1 Buffs that the Skyhawks opened the season with a 76-69 exhibition win over Wyoming in Laramie.

The Buffs, of course, remember all too well their last trip to Laramie, a 56-33 loss last November.

“I said ‘They’ve done something we haven’t done,’” Boyle said Tuesday morning. “Kudos to them, because that’s not an easy place to play. Those guys would like nothing better than to come in and do it to us here. We’d better be ready.”

The Skyhawks are off to a 5-0 start under Bob Pietrack, in his first full year as FLC’s head coach. Pietrack replaced Fort Lewis legend Bob Hofman, a former CU player and assistant coach who is serving this season as “head coach emeritus.” Hofman, who also coached at Boulder’s Fairview High School, will be in attendance Wednesday night.

Boyle also reminded his players that the Division II Skyhawks see the game as an opportunity to make a name for themselves.

“It’s their Super Bowl, no question,” Boyle said. “I just said it to our team. It is a danger.”

Continue reading story here

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November 29th – Boulder           Colorado 82, Northern Colorado 52

From cubuffs.com … For 20 minutes Saturday afternoon, the Colorado Buffaloes played the kind of basketball head coach Tad Boyle loves to see.

The Buffs rebounded, played defense, took care of the ball, took good shots and played team offense. And although things got a little sloppy in the second half, the 5-1 Buffs still had more than enough in their tank to carve out an 82-52 win over visiting Northern Colorado for their fifth straight win.

This one was over early. The Buffs built a double-digit lead, 17-6, less than seven minutes into the game and steadily added to the margin throughout the half. CU closed the period with a 15-2 run, fueled by six points from Josh Scott and four from Tory Miller, to take a 46-19 lead into the locker room at intermission.

Scott just missed his third double-double of the season, finishing with 18 points and eight rebounds. CU’s Wes Gordon also just missed his first double-double of the season, collecting a game-high 15 rebounds and nine points. George King added 13 points for the Buffs and Josh Fortune finished with nine.

The Buffs’ defense suffocated the Bears in the opening 20 minutes, as UNC managed to score unanswered baskets only twice in the half and never had a larger run than 4-0. CU finished the half with a 24-15 edge in rebounding and held UNC to just 27 percent shooting from the field (9-for-33). The Buffs, meanwhile, shot 53.6 percent from the field in the first half (15-for-28), including 6-for-13 from 3-point range.

The flow of the game changed significantly in the second half, much to Boyle’s chagrin. After a particularly sloppy defensive effort, Boyle called a timeout and wasted no time in delivering a message in the huddle.

Not that the Bears were ever a threat to close the gap. But with just more than nine minutes remaining in the game, the Bears had actually outscored Colorado in the half, 15-13, after a Spencer Mathis dunk.

The Buffs, though, finally woke up long enough to regain control. A Fortune 3-pointer with 5:30 left in the game gave CU a 35-point lead, 73-38, and CU coasted down the stretch.

CU returns to the Events Center on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. matchup against Ft. Lewis College (Pac-12 Networks) before heading to Fort Collins on Sunday for a noon matchup with in-state rival Colorado State (Root).

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6 Replies to “Colorado Basketball – December, 2015”

  1. So tomorrow the Nittany Lions will get a chance to avenge that 1939 defeat, eh? “Revenge” is the #1 Key to the game then, obviously. All kidding aside, it would be nice to see the Buffs get a crack at SMU before heading into Pac-12 play.

    1. It’s only the first two games. The Buffs then travel to Vegas to play Penn State and then either Kent State or SMU. Meanwhile, the “lower bracket”, if you will, including Hampton and Nicholls, will also play for a “title” in Vegas.
      So, yes, in theory, the Buffs could lose to both Hampton and Nicholls, and still win the “Las Vegas Classic”.
      Gotta love it …

    1. It’s a good question.
      On the one hand, XJ, when healthy, has been a dynamic and energetic player. He can make big plays, and he can get crowds fired up.
      On the other hand, it’s easy to wonder if his style of play might disrupt what has been a good thing so far this year.

      So, do you roll the dice, wanting Josh Scott and XJ to have a spring together, hoping that Johnson’s hustle and personality might be the final cog to get the Buffs deep into the post-season? Or do you shut XJ down for the year, giving him a full extra year to heal, hoping he will come back and fill a leadership void to be left behind when Scott graduates?

      A tough call. My thought would be that unless XJ is 100% healthy – no issues; no questions – that Tad Boyle will ask him to sit out the 2015-16 campaign and come back with a vengeance in 2016-17.

  2. if Tad can keep the intensity up on D this team could be scary good. No problem scoring. With everyone getting their points its a refreshing change from last year when one guy shooting less than 30% on a lot of nights was taking most of the shots.

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