Colorado Basketball – December, 2020

 

January 1st – Happy New Year!

… CU in the Arena … 

D’Shawn Schwartz posts first career double-double in 72-62 road win over USC 

Related … “Big bounce-back win for CU Buffs men’s basketball at USC” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado fought off a second-half USC rally and regained control down the stretch Thursday night as the Buffaloes collected a key 72-62 road win at the Galen Center.

The victory, CU’s fifth in a row over the Trojans, improved Tad Boyle‘s Buffs to 7-2 overall and 1-1 in Pac-12 play while USC fell to 5-2, 0-1.

McKinley Wright IV led CU with 19 points, four rebounds and four assists. CU’s D’Shawn Schwartz added 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds for his first career double-double, Evan Battey had 11 points and Jeriah Horne had 10.

Defensively, the Buffs were outstanding against a team that entered the game leading the Pac-12 in scoring and shooting percentage. CU held the Trojans’ leading scorer, 7-foot Evan Mobley, to 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting as the Trojans shot just 38.3% (23-for-60). CU also held a 38-35 rebound edge that led to a 16-10 Colorado edge in second-chance points.

The Buffs’ defensive effort was magnified by the fact that they played without 7-footer Dallas Walton, who missed the game with a lower leg injury.

“Obviously a road win against a quality team in this league, they’re hard to come by,” Boyle said. “USC is long, they’re tall, they have good athletes. I thought our guys really battled tonight and showed a lot of grit and a lot of toughness.”

After five early lead changes, Colorado took a 15-12 edge on a Schwartz 3-pointer six minutes into the game and never trailed again, but the Trojans didn’t succumb easily. CU saw a double-digit lead in the first half shrink to one momentarily and another double-digit cushion narrowed to two in the second half.

But the Buffs had an answer for every USC rally and finally took control in the final minutes to clinch the win.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado led 44-33 lead at intermission after finishing the first half with a 12-2 run, then pushed the margin to 15 early in the second half on a Jabari Walker tip-in, 50-35.

But the Trojans surged back into the game. With Wright on the bench after his third foul, USC used a 9-0 run to narrow Colorado’s lead to just two, 57-55, with 9:41 still to play.

The Buffs, however, righted themselves after a timeout and slowly rebuilt their lead, putting together an 11-3 surge to take a 68-58 lead with 1:38 to play. Schwartz had four free throws to start the run and Battey finished it with a 3-point play, grabbing an offensive rebound for a putback, then hitting a free throw after getting fouled.

Battery also played a big role in keeping USC’s Mobley brothers in control for most of the night, especially with Walton not available. Evan and Isaiah Mobley came into the game averaging a combined 27.5 points and 17.5 rebounds per game, but finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

“Evan is a warrior,”  Boyle said. “He plays with such heart, such passion, such intensity. He did a really good job tonight of staying out of foul trouble (ended up with two). He just battles. He’s got the heart of a lion.”

Schwartz, meanwhile, hit the boards all night for his career high 10 rebounds, and tallied his 13 points despite having just one 3-pointer. The CU senior was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

“He’s big, he’s strong and I thought he really battled on the boards tonight,” Boyle said. “He played well tonight. He really competed.”

Wright, meanwhile, delivered his usual clutch performance. After USC pulled to within 61-58 with just under seven minutes to play, the Buffs’ senior point guard hit back-to-back floaters from the lane to give CU a seven-point cushion and breathing room.

Colorado then held the Trojans off down the stretch for the win.

Continue reading story here

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December 31st – GameDay!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs look to bounce back against Trojans + Game Notes (Thursday, 8:00 p.m., MT, ESPN)

… Buffs looking for third straight win in the Galen Center … 

From the Daily Camera … Tad Boyle could not, or perhaps would not, reveal the extent of the ankle injury suffered earlier this week by his star point guard.

Yet Colorado’s men’s basketball coach knows this much: If McKinley Wright IV can play, he will play.

As the Buffaloes attempt to bounce back from a disappointing Pac-12 Conference opener with a visit to USC on Thursday night, the state of Wright’s right ankle will take center stage. CU’s senior floor general suffered the injury late during the Buffs’ 88-74 loss at Arizona on Monday, and he was favoring his leg heavily on the bench as the final seconds ticked away.

“It’s getting better. I think he’ll be OK,” Boyle said. “McKinley is a tough guy. If he can play, he will.”

Any absence by Wright, either on Thursday or beyond, would be problematic for a Buffs team that leans heavily upon Wright in all facets of their game. If Wright is back up to speed on Thursday, the Buffs will take aim at a foe they have fared well against on the road in recent seasons.

A contentious rivalry between the programs was sparked three years ago at the Galen Center when USC coach Andy Enfield took a late time out to cheer alongside his squad in the waning seconds of a game the Trojans had in the can. The Buffs have posted season sweeps against USC each of the past two seasons, including two straight wins at the Galen Center.

“I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason, to be honest with you,” Boyle said. “I know for Evan (Battey) this is a big game. He’s a southern California kid and he gets up for this game. I’m sure he gets his teammates up for it as well. He feels the same way about UCLA and we haven’t played well there, so I don’t know.”

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Game Notes … Colorado is 6-2 overall, seeing its four-game winning streak end with an 88-74 setback at Arizona to open the Pac-12 Conference schedule on Dec. 28. The Buffaloes entered the week having received votes in both the Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches Top 25 polls for the second-straight week.

Colorado leads the nation in free throw shooting at 85.4 percent, a number that dipped slightly after hitting 14 of 17 (.824) from the
line against the Wildcats. The Buffaloes lead the Pac-12 by a wide margin in that category with second place Oregon State shooting
72.9 percent.

ABOUT THE TROJANS: USC is 5-1 overall, defeating Santa Clara 86-63 on Dec. 29 in its first game in 21 days after pausing its program for COVID-19 related issues. Thursday’s game will be the conference opener for USC; the last team to begin Pac-12 play. The Trojans are the top scoring team in the Pac-12 at 80.8 points per game. USC also leads the conference in shooting at 49 percent and scoring margin at plus-17 points per game. USC allows 63.7 points per game while opponents shoot 30 percent. The Trojans lead the
Pac-12 in shot blocking at 5.7 per outing.

Freshman forward Evan Mobley leads USC at 17.5 points per game while shooting 63 percent from the field. Senior guard Tahj Eaddy averages 11.3 points and has a team-best 10 3-point field goals. Junior guard Drew Peterson tops the Trojans in assists at 3.2 per game while averaging 11.2 points per contest. Sophomore forward Isaiah Mobley leads USC in rebounding at 8.8 per game while
pitching in 10 points per contest.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 21st meeting between Colorado and USC with the Buffaloes holding an 13-7 series lead. Colorado has won the last four, sweeping the series in each of the last two years. Colorado is 5-4 against the Trojans in Los Angeles and has won the last two.

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December 29th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs remain winless at McKale Center, fall on the road to Arizona, 88-74

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado’s offense went cold in the second half Monday as the Buffaloes dropped an 88-74 decision to Arizona in their Pac-12 opener.

CU fell to 6-2 overall (0-1 Pac-12) while Arizona improved to 7-1, 1-1.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffs led, 44-42, with just two minutes left in the first half, only to see the Wildcats close with an 8-0 run for a 50-44 halftime lead. CU cut the deficit back to three early in the second half before Arizona used a 10-2 surge to take control and the Buffs could never climb back into striking range.

Evan Battey led the Buffs with 18 points — 14 in the first half — and Maddox Daniels added 12, all on 3-pointers. McKinley Wright IV had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists while Jeriah Horne grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

James Akinjo led UA with 22 points.

The Buffs were outscored 38-18 in the paint and 18-0 in fastbreak points. CU also shot just 33% from the field in the second half after hitting 51.6% of its shots in the first 20 minutes. Arizona shot 52.6 percent for the game.

“Arizona was better tonight,” said Boyle, whose Buffs dropped to 0-9 on the Wildcats’ home floor since joining the Pac-12. “They deserved to win the game … We had some good individual performances but as a team we didn’t get things going, especially in the second half. That’s on me. I take responsibility for that. We hang our hat on defense and that’s the second team in a row that’s shot 52 percent or higher on us.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: After a see-saw first 18 minutes that featured 13 lead changes, Colorado held a 44-42 lead following a Maddox Daniels 3-pointer with 2:09 left in the half.

But the Buffs then went scoreless down the stretch — including missing the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity — while the Wildcats scored the final eight points of the half for a 50-44 halftime edge. The UA run included six points in the final 35 seconds, with James Akinjo hitting a running 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Buffs did manage to cut the deficit back to three early in the second half after D’Shawn Schwartz’s second 3-pointer of the half pulled CU to within 53-50. But the Wildcats answered with a 10-2 run to take control and the Buffs were never able to pull closer than eight again.

“You give up 38 points in the paint to 18, so you’re down 20 there,” Boyle said. “Then you have fastbreak points where you get zero and they get 18 — that’s 38 points. In a 14-point game, if we even those tides a little bit it’s anybody’s game. But we didn’t do that.”

The Buffs were hurt by foul troubles in the second half, with Battey — who had 14 points in the first half — drawing his second and third fouls early in the period, then getting whistled for his fourth midway through the half.

CU also struggled to find any offensive rhythm in the second half.

“That comes from lack of patience, lack of understanding that against Arizona it’s not going to be one pass, jump shot and get back in the game,” Boyle said. “We’re a veteran group. We’ve got to be more mature and more patient, understanding that against a good defensive team you’re not going to score right away.”

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December 28th – GameDay!

… CU in the Arena … 

From CUBuffs.com … CU at Arizona (7:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks) …

Game Notes … Colorado is 6-1 overall, bouncing back with four straight wins after its only loss on the season. The Buffaloes are coming off a pair of wins at the Far West Classic, a 92-69 nonconference win over Washington on Dec. 20 and a 74-64 decision over Grand Canyon on Dec. 22.

Colorado has shot 50.4 percent from the field during this three-game streak, including 43.4 percent from the 3-point line. The Buffaloes have had 65 assists against 37 turnovers during that span and 31 assists against 14 turnovers the last two games.

Colorado had its season low of seven turnovers in both games of the Far West Classic. The 14 turnovers in back-to-back games are CU’s fewest since March 9 & 15, 2017 when the Buffs had seven each in games against Arizona and UCF.

Colorado leads the nation in free throw shooting at 85.8 percent. The Buffaloes had season-highs in makes and attempts against the Huskies draining 26 of 28 from the line. Defensively, Colorado ranks 12th in the country in scoring defense, at 57.4 points per game, and 34th field goal defense, holding the opposition to 38.0 percent shooting.

ABOUT THE WILDCATS: Arizona is 6-1 overall and 0-1 in the Pac-12, dropping their league opener to Stanford, 78-75, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Monday’s game was supposed to be the Pac-12 opener for both teams, Wednesday, Dec. 2, but coronavirus issues with the Buffaloes’ program forced the postponement until Dec. 28. The
Wildcats are averaging 77.0 points while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor. Arizona and Colorado are tied for the Pac-12 lead in 3-point shooting, with both teams at 37.5 percent. Defensively, the Wildcats allow 62.6 points while holding opponents just under 40 percent from the field. Arizona leads the Pac-12 in both rebounding
defense (29.3 rpg) and rebounding margin ( +11.3).

Junior guard Jermarl Baker, Jr., leads Arizona at 15.4 points per game while hitting 51 percent from the field and 46 percent from 3-point range. Junior guard James Akinjo averages 13.4 points while leading the Wildcats in assists at 4.7 an outing. Sophomore forward Jordan Brown leads Arizona in rebounding (6.9 rpg) and field goal percentage (.651) while averaging 10.7 points per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 35th meeting between Colorado and Arizona with the Wildcats holding a 20-14 series lead. The teams met just once last season with the Wildcats taking a 75-54 decision at the McKale Center. Arizona leads the series 15-6 since Colorado joined the Pac-12 in 2011-12. The Buffaloes are 3-11 all-time in Tucson with their last win a 77-73 triple overtime decision on Dec. 20, 1965.

McKinley Wright picks up second Pac-12 Player-of-the-Week honor (4th of career)

Press release from CUBuffs.com … University of Colorado senior guard McKinley Wright IV was named the Pac-12 Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, for the second time this season, the league office announced on Monday.

Wright becomes the first Colorado men’s basketball player to win four conference Player of the Week honors during his career; he had been tied at three with Chauncey Billups and Askia Booker. Wright is the third player in the Pac-12 era to earn two Player of the Week honors in one season, joining Josh Scott (2015-16) and Askia Booker (2013-14).

A native of North Robbinsdale, Minn., Wright scored 21 points and dished out seven assists in Colorado’s lone game last week, a 74-64 triumph over Grand Canyon at the Far West Classic in Las Vegas. He made 8 of 14 from the floor and 4 of 5 from the free throw line to help the Buffaloes to their fourth-straight win.

Wright recorded his 20th career 20-point game and third this season, leading the Buffaloes in scoring for the fifth time in seven games. He is closing in on two major milestones. Wright needs 16 points to become the 11th CU player to reach 1,500 and 20 assists to catch Jay Humphries’ school career record of 562 set from 1980-84.

According to College Basketball Reference, Wright is one of five guards nationally – the only one from a Power 5 conference – to average better than 16.0 points, and 60 percent shooting in multiple games played so far this season. He is the only player in the Pac-12 in the league’s top 10 in scoring (16.3 ppg, 8th), field goal percentage (.608, 8th) and assists (5.9 apg, 2nd).

 

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December 27th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs’ three-game road trip to open Pac-12 play could define their season

From CUBuffs.com … The Colorado Buffaloes’ schedule takes a hard left turn into serious territory beginning this week.

After wrapping up an abbreviated non-conference slate last week, the 6-1 Buffs will open Pac-12 play with three games in six days — all on the road —  beginning with a 7:30 p.m. game Monday at Arizona (Pac-12 Network). That will be followed by a weekend trip to Los Angeles that will see CU play at USC on Thursday (7 p.m., ESPN2) before a Saturday contest at UCLA (6 p.m., Pac-12).

If that’s not a difficult enough start to the league season, the Buffs will get no break when they finally open the home portion of their schedule. First on the list is a Jan. 7 meeting with 25th-ranked Oregon (9 p.m., FS1), the only Pac-12 team to be included in the most-recent Associated Press top 25.

But the Buffs shouldn’t be lacking any confidence heading into the brutal road swing, as they played well in their non-conference games. Colorado wrapped up its preseason schedule last Tuesday with a 74-64 win over Grand Canyon in their second game of the Far West Classic in Las Vegas. The victory came on the heels of perhaps one of their most impressive performances of the year, a 92-69 throttling of Washington in the Far West opener.

Still, there’s no doubt CU coach Tad Boyle would have liked more than seven games to prepare for a 20-game conference slate, particularly one that opens with three on the road against teams picked in the preseason poll to finish ahead of Colorado in the league standings.

Throw Oregon into the mix, and it is four picked to finish better than the Buffs. UCLA was picked by the media to win the league, with Oregon third, Arizona fifth and USC sixth — all ahead of Colorado’s seventh-place prognostication.

But while the upcoming road trip is no doubt a daunting one, it might not be as daunting as it would be in normal circumstances. Thanks to conference regulations that do not allow fans to attend during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Buffs won’t see the regular sold-out, raucous crowd that always comes with a trip to Arizona’s McKale Center. Neither will there be a crowd advantage for the home teams at USC and UCLA.

That’s something that should help blunt the normal edge that comes with a home court advantage.

Of course, the same can be said for the Buffs’ home floor edge, one that has been a nice boost for Colorado in the Boyle era, particularly against big-name opponents. There might be no better example than the Ducks, who are 0-9 all-time in Boulder, including an 0-7 mark in Pac-12 play.

One more factor in the Buffs’ favor on the upcoming road trip is that they have become accustomed to playing away from home this year. Five of Colorado’s seven games thus far have been either on opponents’ home floors or neutral courts.

A quick look at the week ahead:

WHAT’S AT STAKE:  The Arizona game is a makeup contest for a game originally scheduled for early December, when CU had two Pac-12 games postponed because of Covid-19 issues. Now, the rescheduled UA game means three road contests in six days —  a brutal way to start conference play.

Still, the Buffs have to play the hand they’ve been dealt. That means figuring out a way to get a win or two out of the first three. If they can do that, they’ll return to Boulder for a four-game homestand and a chance at some great momentum for what they hope will be a run at the Pac-12 title.

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December 22nd – GameDay!

Buffs battle past Grand Canyon, 74-64, behind McKinley Wright’s 21-point effort

From CUBuffs.comTad Boyle‘s Colorado Buffaloes used a late surge Tuesday night to propel themselves past Grand Canyon, 74-64, at T-Mobile Arena.

The Buffs improved to 6-1 while the Lopes fell to 4-3.

McKinley Wright IV led the Buffaloes in scoring with 21 points as well as assists with seven. Evan Battey notched 16 points and Jeriah Horne added 12 off the bench.

While Colorado led for most of the game, the Buffs could not put GCU away until the final minutes. After GCU cut Colorado’s lead to one point with 5:17 left in the contest, the Buffs used a 10-0 surge to take a 70-59 lead and then kept the Lopes at bay down the stretch.

“This team is resilient and tough,” Boyle said. “We got outrebounded by 13, they (GCU) shot almost 51% on us, and we won by 10. I knew, even after the Tennessee loss, that there was something about this team that’s special that you can’t put into words. There’s a toughness and a resiliency that they have.”

Colorado committed just seven turnovers the entire game and forced 17 from GCU. The Buffs were also able to score 21 points off those miscues.

Jovan Blacksher Jr. led Grand Canyon with 17 points.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Grand Canyon used a 6-0 run at the end of the first half to tie the score at 27-27 going into the break. Colorado struggled offensively to end the period, failing to score in the final 5:16. The Buffs also shot just 36.4% (8-for-22) in the first half.

Colorado began the second half aggressively and got a steal from Eli Parquet on the Lopes’ first possession, which led to a Battey layup. The basket was part of a 12-4 run, which gave the Buffs a 39-31 lead.

But Grand Canyon did not go away, and used a 3-pointer from Chance McMillian out of a timeout to bring the Lopes to within five. The Lopes kept the game close until the Buffs went on an 8-2 run capped off by a Maddox Daniels 3-pointer for a 57-48 lead.

The Lopes responded again, however, and used a 6-0 burst out of a timeout to get the game to within three 57-54. Then, after Wright hit a layup and a free throw, Blacksher hit a 3-pointer and Jayden Stone came up with a steal to produce a GCU layup to shrink CU’s lead to just one point, 60-59.

But after a Colorado timeout, Horne hit a 3-pointer, which sparked the decisive 10-0 CU. The run produced a 70-59 Colorado lead with 2:32 remaining and the Lopes never came closer than nine again.

Horne had five points in the surge, Battery added a pair of free throws and Wright had three points including a jumper off an offensive rebound from Dallas Walton.

Wright came up with some key moments down the stretch including the final two buckets for the Buffaloes that secured the win for the team.

“When you have your head coach believe in you the way coach Boyle believes in me, it makes my job so much easier,” Wright said. “He gives me the freedom to go out there and play my game, make the reads that I see, and just take control of the team.”

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Buffs to take on (a tougher than you think) Grand Canyon team in Las Vegas (9:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)

… The Antelopes barely lost to No. 22 Arizona State, falling 71-70, with their other loss being a 68-65 setback to a good San Francisco team (the Dons beat No. 4 Virginia, and lost by two points at Cal) … 

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado is 5-1 overall, bouncing back with three straight wins after its only loss on the season. The Buffaloes are coming off a 92-69 nonconference win over Washington in their first game of the Far West Classic.

Colorado has shot 50.5 percent from the field during this three-game streak, including 42.4 percent from the 3-point line. The Buffaloes have had 55 assists against 30 turnovers and held a plus-13.3 advantage on the boards. Against Washington, Colorado had a season-high 21 assists and a season-low seven turnovers.

Colorado scored a season-high 92 points against Washington. The Buffs have back-to-back 90-point games for the first time since  Nov. 24 & 28, 2018 (93 at Air Force, 93 vs. Portland)

ABOUT THE LOPES: Grand Canyon is 4-2 overall, currently on a two-game slide after a 4-0 start. The Lopes fell to San Francisco, 68-65, on Dec. 20 at T-Mobile Arena, their first game away from home this season. GCU is averaging 78.8 points while hitting an  impressive 51.1 percent from the field. Defensively, the Lopes have held opponents to 63.5 points per game and 38.3 percent from the floor. Grand Canyon has outrebounded their opponents by 12.5 boards per game.

Grand Canyon is led by the big front court tandem of 6-foot-10 center Alessandro Lever and 7-0 senior Asbjorn Midtgaard. Lever averages 16.5 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 59 percent from the field. Midtgaard averages a double-double at 13.7 points and a team-best 10.0 rebounds while shooting 71 percent. Sophomore guard Jovan Blacksher Jr. averages 13.3 points while leading Grand Canyon at 6.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the first meeting between Colorado and Grand Canyon. The Buffaloes are 17-8 against teams that  make up the current Western Athletic Conference with the last meeting against Seattle U., a 67-55 Colorado win on Nov. 14, 2016.

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December 20th – GameDay!

… CU in the Arena … 

Dallas Walton’s career-high 22 points leads Buffs to 92-69 rout of Washington 

Related … “Jeriah Horne providing big spark off the bench” … from the Daily Camera 

From CUBuffs.comDallas Walton scored a career-high 22 points Sunday night as Colorado rolled to a 92-69 win over Washington in the Far West Classic at T-Mobile Arena.

The Buffaloes improved to 5-1 while the Huskies fell to 1-6 in a game between two Pac-12 teams that will not count as a league contest.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffs built a big early lead and never let up, playing well on both ends of the floor. The Buffs led 52-30 at halftime and built the margin to as much as 36 points, 90-54, before UW used a 13-0 run down the stretch to close the gap.

Walton hit double figures for the third straight game as the Buffs had no problems against Washington’s zone defense. He was joined in double figures by Jeriah Horne (16), D’Shawn Schwartz (13), Maddox Daniels (10) and Keeshawn Barthelemy (10).

The Buffs shot 48.3 percent from the floor (29-for-60), hit 26 of their 28 free throw attempts and held a comfortable 43-28 rebounding edge, including 12 offensive rebounds that produced 15 second-chance points.

Washington shot 43 percent from the floor (27-for-63), but was just 12-for-32 in the decisive first half. Riley Sorn led the Huskies with 16 points.

“When you win a game going away against a conference opponent who has given you problems in the past, it’s a good sign,” Boyle said. “We have a good team when we play together. We executed our game plan offensively really, really well.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: The Buffs jumped out to a big early lead, using a 9-0 run in the first four minutes to take an 11-2 edge, then steadily built on that margin for much of the rest of the half.

Washington called time out after Colorado extended its margin to 21-5 at the 12:19 mark, but the Buffs continued to pile on. CU led by as much as 26, taking a 47-21 edge on a Jabari Walker layup with three minutes left in the half, and still held a comfortable 52-30 cushion at the half.

Walton had 12 of his 22 points in the first half, and he finished the night shooting 6-for-7 from the field and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line.

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December 19th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs taking on 1-5 Washington in non-conference game in Las Vegas (Sunday: 8:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)

From the Daily Camera … On occasion, Colorado has lit up the active zone defense employed by Washington. At other times, the Huskies have completely shackled the Buffaloes’ attack.

Sometimes those extremes have occurred within the same game.

The last time the two Pac-12 foes met, in January at the CU Events Center, the Buffs prevailed but not without running extremely hot and then ice cold against the defense UW coach Mike Hopkins helped make famous as an assistant at Syracuse.

In that game, it was the proverbial tale of two halves for CU against the Huskies’ zone. During the first half, the Buffs torched that UW zone for seven 3-pointers and 51 points. In the second half, CU held on for the win while going 0-for-8 from long range and scoring just 25 points.

The lesson, according to CU head coach Tad Boyle, is to not relent against a defense adept at putting the clamps down. The Buffs will put that to the test on Sunday night in Las Vegas as the rivals collide in a contest that will be played as a nonconference game.

“They’re a talented team and they’re a team that can lull you to sleep,” Boyle said. “Last year, for example, we scored 51 points in the first half against Washington in the first half at home and we made seven threes. In the second half, we made zero threes and we scored 25 points. Not that you’re going to have 51 in every half, but we can’t have those 25-point halves. We have to figure out a way to score if the jump shot’s not going in. They way you do that is get the ball in the paint, get the ball inside, attacking the basket, getting to the foul line, playing inside-out.”

While Washington’s defense still has the ability to make any game miserable for opposing offenses, it is the Huskies’ struggling offense that has led to a rough start in Hopkins’ fourth season at the helm.

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Game Notes ... Colorado is 4-1 overall after a successful two-game homestand that saw the Buffaloes roll to big wins over Northern Colorado (81-45) and Omaha (91-49).

Colorado shot 51.6 percent from the field in the two wins, including 43.6 percent from the 3-point line. The Buffaloes had 34 assists against 23 turnovers and held a plus-12.5 advantage on the boards. Defensively, the Buffaloes remained solid, holding both opponents under 50 points and limiting them to a combined 30 percent from the field. Colorado has held its last four opponents under 60 points. Overall, Colorado ranks sixth in the country in scoring defense, at 53.8 points per game, and 12th field goal defense, holding the  opposition to 34.4 percent shooting

ABOUT THE HUSKIES: Washington is 1-5 overall coming off consecutive home losses to Oregon and Montana. The Huskies are averaging 59.7 points while shooting 39.3 percent from the field. Defensively, the Huskies allow 66.7 points while opponents are shooting 39.5 percent. Washington ranks third in the Pac-12 in blocked shots at 5.3 per game.

Senior guard Quade Green leads the Huskies at 14.8 points and 3.2 assists per game along with a team-best 10 3-point field goals. Forward Nate Roberts tops Washington in rebounding at 7.8 per game while averaging 8.0 points per contest. RaeQuan battle averages 7.8 points and 3.0 rebounds off the bench.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 30th meeting between Colorado and Washington with the Huskies holding a 17-12 advantage. Colorado won the only meeting last season, a 76-62 decision in Boulder that snapped a five-game Washington winning streak in the  series.

Washington holds a 2-1 advantage on a neutral floor. The last neutral site meeting came at T-Mobile arena as the Huskies defeated Colorado 66-61 in the semifinals of the 2019 Pac-12 Tournament

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December 16th – GameDay!

… CU in the Arena …

Buffs make quick work of Nebraska-Omaha, cruising to 91-49 win to raise record to 4-1

From CUBuffs.com …  Colorado broke to a big lead early and never let Omaha back in the game Wednesday en route to claiming a 91-49 win at the CU Events Center.

The Buffaloes improved to 4-1 while the Mavericks fell to 2-6.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffs used balanced scoring and solid shooting from the floor to produce the win. CU finished with four players in double figures, led by McKinley Wright IV, who finished with 17 points, eight assists, five rebounds and no turnovers. Jabari Walker added 15 for CU, Dallas Walton chipped in 14 and D’Shawn Schwartz had 11.

The Buffs led 47-25 at the half, the built their cushion into the 30s early in the second half and led by as much as 41 late in the game.

La’Mel Robinson led the Mavericks with 11 points.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado put the game away early, using a 10-0 run in the first four minutes of the game to take a 15-4 lead, then using a 14-0 surge midway through the half to build a 32-9 cushion.

The Buffs used the 3-point line throughout the half, getting a pair of treys from D’Shawn Schwartz in the first three minutes, then getting one each from Maddox DanielsJabari Walker and Dallas Walton in the decisive 14-0 run.

Defensively, CU kept the heat on in the first half, holding the Mavericks to 34.5% shooting (10-for-29) while also forcing eight turnovers.

Schwartz led CU in the first half with 11 points, Walker added nine and Wright had seven points and four assists.

The Buffs kept up the pressure in the second half, building their lead into the 30s with an 11-0 run that gave Colorado a 61-30 cushion just six minutes into the half. Battey had a nice feed to Walton for a dunk and then had back-to-back buckets in the surge, one coming off a beautiful assist from Wright in the lane.

Colorado then kept its lead at a comfortable margin the rest of the game, pushing the lead into the 40s in the final minutes.

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Businessman’s Special – CU v. Nebraska-Omaha (3:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)

From CUBuffs.com … In a “normal” college basketball season, there is ample time for coaches to break in young players.

Of course, this season is anything but normal. The pandemic-adjusted schedule has greatly reduced the number of non-conference games, meaning every non-league game is magnified in importance, especially when it comes to providing teaching moments for young players.

Monday night’s 81-45 Colorado Buffaloes win over Northern Colorado provided the perfect example.

With roughly five minutes left in the game, the Buffs held a comfortable 24-point lead and most of the starters had found a seat on the bench.

But during a timeout, CU head coach Tad Boyle was intently diagramming a play in the Buffaloes’ huddle, looking very much like a coach who was involved in a tie game in the final minutes.

The reason?

Every minute of every game counts, no matter the score.

“When those freshmen are in there late, it’s not garbage time,” Boyle said. “It’s time to get better. It’s time to play unselfishly and play the right way. I thought for the most part our guys did a really good job of that down the stretch.”

In a normal season, the Buffaloes would play 31 games — 13 non-conference affairs and 18 Pac-12 contests. But this year, the NCAA is allowing just 27 games — and at the same time, the Pac-12 increased the number of conference contests to 20.

That means CU has only seven non-conference games — just a little more than half of the regular number — to get young players up to speed and ready for conference play.

Now, the 3-1 Buffs have just three more non-conference games before the open Pac-12 play against Arizona on Dec. 28, the first of a 20-game conference schedule Boyle says, “are just going to be bloodbaths.”

Continue reading story here

Game Notes … Colorado is 3-1 overall, bouncing back from its first loss of the season with an 81-45 decision over Northern Colorado on Monday. The Buffaloes shot a season-best 53 percent from floor with a season-high 32 field goals made.

Colorado’s defense has remained solid through its first four games, ranking 10th in the nation in scoring defense at 55 points allowed per game and 16th in field goal defense, limiting opponents to 35.4 percent shooting. In the win over Northern Colorado, the Buffaloes limited the Bears to 28.8 percent from the field and forced 21 turnovers. Colorado had season-highs in steals (10) and blocked shots (eight).

ABOUT THE MAVERICKS: Omaha is 2-5 overall with all seven games played away from home and a pair of Top 10 teams in Creighton and Kansas. The Mavericks are averaging 61.7 points per game shooting 38 percent from the field. Defensively, UNO allows 77.1 points per game while opponents are shooting 46 percent.

Junior wing Marlon Ruffin has the top scoring average for UNO, averaging 13.4 points in five games off the bench. Senior forward Matt Pile averages 9.7 points and a team-best 8.9 rebounds while hitting 52 percent from the field. Senior guard Ayo Akinwole leads the Mavericks at 2.3 per game while averaging 8.6 points per contest. Junior forward Wanjang Tut averages 8.4 points while ranking second on the team in rebounding at 4.6 per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the third meeting between Colorado and Omaha. The Buffaloes won the two previous meetings, both in Boulder; 87-82 on Nov. 22, 2015 and 79-75 on Nov. 16, 2018.

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December 15th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs roll past Northern Colorado in home opener

From CUBuffs.com … Tad Boyle’s Colorado Buffaloes dominated in their home opener Monday night with an 81-45 win over the Northern Colorado Bears at the CU Events Center.

Colorado improved to 3-1 and the Bears fell to 2-1.

Colorado’s McKinley Wright IV led Colorado in scoring with 19 points. Evan Battey added 14 points and led the team in rebounds with eight. Dallas Walton also scored in double figures, notching 12 points.

The Buffs used a 16-0 first-half run to help push their lead out to 45-21 at intermission. The Bears tried their best to claw back into the game early in the second half, but the Buffs were able to hold them off the rest of the way.

“I thought everybody that played had some really good things that we can build upon,” Boyle said. “Overall, I’m pretty pleased.”

Bodie Hume led the Bears with 11 points.

HOW IT HAPPENED: The Buffs were able to build some cushion towards the end of the first half, going on a 16-0 run that began with a Wright 3-pointer. Colorado shot 17-for-31 in the first half and had just four turnovers while forcing 12 from the Bears.

Colorado’s defense forced 21 total turnovers for the game and forced the Bears to shoot just 28.8% from the field (15-52).

“Our ball screen defense was the key to holding them to 28% and not letting them get going from three,” Boyle said. “We got that lead in the second half and we talked about the fact that the only they would get back into this game was with 3-point jump shots, and we took those away for the most part.”

The Buffs opened the second half with a Walton 3-pointer, which extended their lead to 27, 48-21. The Bears did not go away, however. UNC outscored the Buffaloes 17-16 in the first 10:26 after the break and Hume began the second half with eight points in the opening six minutes. The Bears also forced 10 second-half CU turnovers.

But Colorado responded and never really allowed the Bears to get back into the game. The Buffs went on another surge late, hitting three 3-pointers in a row, two from Wright and one from D’Shawn Schwartz, to push the lead to 74-40. A layup from Luke O’Brien then gave the Buffs their largest lead of the night at 41, 81-40. The Bears scored the final four points of the contest.

Continue reading story here

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December 14th – GameDay!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs finally get home opener; take on UNC tonight (7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado is 2-1 overall, dropping its first game of the season in a 56-47 setback at No. 12/16 ranked Tennessee on Dec. 8.

After averaging 80 points over the first two games, the Buffaloes were held to just 47 at Tennessee, their fewest points since scoring 33 at Wyoming on Nov. 22, 2014.

Colorado’s defense has remained solid, allowing opponents 58.3 points per game on 37.5 percent shooting. The Buffaloes’ scoring defense ranks 28th in the nation and second in the Pac-12. CU’s field goal defense is the 38th best in NCAA Division I.

Colorado opened the 2020-21 season with a pair of wins at the Little Apple Classic in Manhattan, Kan. Colorado cruised to an 84-61 win over South Dakota on Nov. 25 and then downed former Big Eight/Big 12 rival Kansas State, 76-58 on Nov. 27. It marked the first time since 1960-61, that the Buffs started 2-0 with both games being away from Boulder. That season started with three straight wins away from Boulder beginning with back-to-back wins at Arizona and a third at New Mexico.

FOR OPENERS: The Buffaloes are 93-24 all-time in home openers and have won their last 12, making Boyle a perfect 10-0 in home openers. The Buffaloes have won 17 of their last 18.

With the win over South Dakota, Colorado improved to 83-35 (.703) in all-time season openers and has won its last five. The Buffaloes are 9-2 under head coach Tad Boyle and 36-5 in overall season openers since 1980-81.

The Buffaloes began with a neutral site game for the second-straight season and third time in five years. Colorado defeated Arizona State, 81-71, in last year’s Pac-12 China Game in Shanghai. In 2015-16, the eventual NCAA Tournament bound Buffaloes dropped a 68-62 decision to Iowa State in Sioux Falls, S.D.

NONCONFERENCE NUMBERS: Colorado is 98-32 (.754) in nonconference regular season games under head coach Tad Boyle including a 51-15 mark (.773) since the beginning of the 2014-15 season. Colorado is 74-5 in nonconference home games under Boyle, a record which includes a perfect 6-0 mark in postseason action.

ABOUT THE BEARS: Northern Colorado is 2-0, opening with a pair of home wins over regional NCAA Division II foes Colorado Christian (87-62) and Regis (83-58). The Bears, who have had three games canceled, have shot well hitting 54.4 percent from the field.  Defensively, the Bears held their first two opponents to 38 percent from the field and enjoyed a plus-18.5 rebound margin. UNC, which finished 22-9 last season, was picked to finish third in the Big Sky Preseason Media Poll, and fifth by the coaches.

Junior guard Bodie Hume has led the Bears through the first two games averaging 22.5 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 61 percent from the field. Junior guard Daylen Kountz, a transfer from Colorado, is averaging 15 points and three assists. Matt Johnson is averaging 11.5 points and has hit 53 percent of his shots. Forward
Kur Jockuch is averaging 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 40th meeting between Colorado and Northern Colorado in a series that dates back to 1918. The Buffaloes hold a 21-18 edge. This is just the seventh meeting since 1937, with Colorado winning all previous six.

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December 8th – GameDay!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs can’t overcome early deficit, fall on the road to No. 12 Tennessee, 56-47

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado cut a big early deficit down to two in the second half Tuesday, but could never quite get over the hump and the Buffaloes dropped a 56-47 decision to No. 12 Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena.

CU fell to 2-1 with the loss while the Volunteers won their season opener.

Grad transfer Jeriah Horne led the Buffs with a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double, including seven points in a 14-2 first-half CU run that helped the Buffs back in the game. McKinley Wright IV added eight points and seven rebounds for Colorado.

 The Buffs trailed by as many as 16 midway through the first half, but cut the gap to seven by intermission, then pulled to within two, 33-31, with a 7-2 burst to start the second half. But that was as close as the Buffs could get, as Tennessee slowly built the lead back to double digits and then held Colorado off down the stretch.

Colorado committed 22 turnovers that led to 16 Tennessee points, and the Buffs shot and CU shot just 33% from the field .

HOW IT HAPPENED: After coming back to cut Tennessee’s big early lead to seven, 31-24, at the half, the Buffs put together a 7-2 surge to start the second half. Maddox Daniels hit a 3-pointer, Dallas Walton added a dunk and Keeshawn Barthelemy reaped a fast break dunk off an assist from Wright to cut UT’s cushion to 33-31.

But following a timeout, the Vols scored five quick points, then slowly pushed their lead to 11, 50-39.

Colorado did make one more run down the stretch, twice closing the gap to five. CU couldn’t, however, come any closer as the Vols kept the Buffs at bay over the final minutes.

Colorado started slowly, as the Vols threatened to turn the game into a blowout early. The Buffs missed eight of their first 10 field goal tries, and committed six turnovers as well in that stretch to help Tennessee carve out a 19-4 lead with 11:20 still to play in the first half.

UT then stretched its cushion to 16 points, building a 26-10 lead with just under eight minutes to go in the half.

But just when it looked like the Buffs might be down for good, they put together a 14-2 run to cut Tennessee’s lead to 28-24 with 53 seconds left in the half.

Senior forward Jeriah Horne had seven points in the run, including a 3-pointers to start the surge. Guard Keeshawn Barthelemy added five in the run, including a 3-pointer, and McKinley Wright added two free throws.

Tennessee then closed the half with a Santiago Vescovi 3-pointer to take a 31-24 edge into intermission.

NEXT UP: The Buffs are scheduled to play host to Northern Colorado next Monday at 7 p.m. at the CU Events Center.

CU at No. 12 Tennessee (4:00 p.m., MT, SEC+)

Game Notes from CUBuffs.com … Colorado opened the 2020-21 season with a pair of wins at the Little Apple Classic in Manhattan, Kan. Colorado cruised to an 84-61 win over South Dakota on Nov. 25 and then downed former Big Eight/Big 12 rival Kansas State, 76-58 on Nov. 27.

Colorado begins the season with a 2-0 record for the fifth straight season. It’s the first time since 1960-61, that the Buffs have started 2-0 with both games being away from Boulder. That season started with three straight wins away from Boulder beginning with back-to-back wins at Arizona and a third at New Mexico. Colorado shot 44.4 percent over the first two games and shared the ball well, with 33 total assists, including 20 in the win over South Dakota. The Buffaloes were exceptional from the line, hitting 32 of 36 attempts during the week (.889).

All-Pac-12 senior guard McKinley Wright IV earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors, averaging 22.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals at the Little Apple Classic. He shot a blistering 64.3 percent from the field (18 of 28), including 43 percent from 3-point range (3 of 7).

NON-CONFERENCE NUMBERS: Colorado is 98-31 (.760) in nonconference regular season games under head coach Tad Boyle including a 51-14 mark (.785) since the beginning of the 2014-15 season.

Colorado is 74-5 in nonconference home games under Boyle, a record which includes a perfect 6-0 mark in postseason action.

ABOUT THE VOLUNTEERS: Tennessee, ranked 12th in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, has yet to play a game in 2020-21. The Volunteers have had four games cancelled, and a fifth called off against UT Martin that would have Wednesday, Dec. 9. Prior to Saturday’s announcement, Tennessee’s next regularly scheduled
game wouldn’t have been until Saturday, Dec. 12.

Tennessee welcomes the nation’s fifth-ranked signing class, which includes three top-75 prospects and a pair of five-star guards in Keon Johnson and McDonald’s All-American Jaden Springer. That crop of freshmen is joined by incoming grad transfer E.J. Anosike, who was a 1,000-point scorer and one of the top rebounders in Division I during his three seasons at Sacred Heart. Tennessee’s returners are led by rising senior forwards John Fulkerson and Yves Pons. An All-SEC performer this past season, Fulkerson led the Vols in scoring (13.7 ppg) and rebounding (5.9 rpg)—and he capped his breakout year with a 27-point performance in UT’s upset win at sixth-ranked Kentucky on March 3. Pons tied the school record for blocks in a season with 73 rejections and was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He also averaged 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds.

Buffs v. Volunteers: “It was too good an opportunity for our guys to pass up”

From CUBuffs.com … Just a few weeks into the college basketball season, the coronavirus pandemic has created previously inconceivable circumstances when it comes to scheduling.

Tad Boyle‘s Colorado Buffaloes have already had two games postponed and another date hold three different opponents.

But Tuesday, that ever-changing schedule will actually present the Buffs with a nice opportunity — a shot at the 12th-ranked team in the country. Thanks to some last-minute juggling, 2-0 Colorado will tip it off at 4 p.m. against 0-0 Tennessee on the Volunteers’ home floor (SEC+).

The original schedule had Colorado playing host to Colorado State on Tuesday. But that game was canceled when CSU had to pause its program because of coronavirus difficulties. Then, Colorado Mines agreed to play in Boulder in what would have been an exhibition game for Mines.

But last week, CU director of player development Nate Tomlinson began talking with Tennessee assistant Kim English, a former Colorado assistant. The Vols were also having issues getting a game played, with their first four contests of the season all canceled.

When yet another contest — Wednesday night’s scheduled tilt with Tennessee-Martin — was also scratched, it opened up an opportunity for Colorado to head to Tennessee. After some late-week discussions, the two programs finalized the deal, which is actually a three-game series. The Vols will visit Boulder next year and the two teams will then meet in Nashville in the 2022-23 season.

“When the Tennessee opportunity came up, it was too good an opportunity for our guys to pass up,” Boyle said Monday. “We talk to our players a lot about controlling what you can control. From my standpoint as a coach, I’m going to try my best to get 27 games (the NCAA maximum this season). A guy like McKinley Wright comes back for his senior year and we have four other seniors. They deserve to play games in terms of what they’ve done and the sacrifice they’ve made and hard work they’ve put in.”

The game is no doubt an opportunity for the Buffs to put their name squarely in the national conversation. Rick Barnes’ Volunteers were picked in the preseason media poll to win the SEC, and while they have yet to play a game, they’re still ranked No. 12 in the latest AP poll.

Continue reading story here

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December 6th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs to face No. 13 Tennessee on Tuesday (4:00 p.m., MT, SEC Networks)

From CUBuffs.com …  The University of Colorado men’s basketball team has added a game with Tennessee set for Tuesday, Dec. 8, in Knoxville. The game will tip at 4 p.m. MT and will be streamed on SEC Network+.

With that change, the Buffaloes will not host Colorado School of Mines in what would have been an exhibition game for the Orediggers. Colorado Mines originally replaced Colorado State on the Buffs’ schedule when the Rams had to cancel the game set for that same date due to COVID-19 concerns in their program.

Tennessee, ranked 13th in the first Associated Press Top 25 poll has yet to play a game in 2020-21. The Volunteers have had four games cancelled, and a fifth called off against UT Martin that would have Wednesday, Dec. 9. Prior to Saturday’s announcement, Tennessee’s next regularly scheduled game wouldn’t have been until Saturday, Dec. 12.

The two programs have met twice, with Tennessee sweeping a home-and-home in 1980 and ’81. Tennessee assistant coach Kim English was a Colorado assistant for two seasons. Colorado head coach Tad Boyle was the Volunteers’ Director of Operations for the 1997-98 season.

Colorado is 2-0 overall, having been off since defeating Kansas State on Nov. 27. The Buffaloes had temporarily paused operations on Tuesday, which forced the postponement of their game at Arizona. Colorado was able to resume practice on Thursday with the approval of the school’s medical staff and campus health officials after two days of successful tracing and testing.

Colorado was scheduled to play Washington State on Saturday, before COVID-19 concerns in the Cougars’ program forced the postponement of that contest.

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December 4th

… CU in the Arena … 

Washington State calls off Saturday matchup with Buffs

From CUBuffs.com … The University of Colorado men’s basketball game against Washington State scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5, has been postponed due to COVID-19 protocols within the Cougars’ men’s basketball program.

An update on the direction of rescheduling the contest will come on Saturday.

CSU game canceled/replaced by Mines; Arizona game re-set for December 28th

From CUBuffs.com … The University of Colorado men’s basketball team has scheduled Colorado School of Mines, in place of Colorado State, on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the CU Events Center. Game time will remain at 6 p.m. and will air on the Pac-12 Network.

In addition, the Buffaloes’ postponed Pac-12 Conference game at Arizona, originally scheduled for on Dec. 2, has been rescheduled for Monday, Dec. 28, in Tucson. Tip time and television arrangements will be announced at a later date.

Colorado State determined this week it would not be able to participate in the Dec. 8 contest due to COVID-19 concerns. The Rams’ basketball program originally went on pause Nov. 20 and has yet to play a game.

Colorado School of Mines is an NCAA Division II school located in Golden, and a member of the prestigious Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, a league the Buffaloes were charter members of in the early 1900s. The Buffaloes hosted the Orediggers in an exhibition game to tip off the 2018-19 season; a game in which Colorado prevailed, 66-57.

Mines has had three of its first four games postponed, defeating MSU Denver, 82-48, on Nov. 28 in its lone game so far. The Orediggers are scheduled to host South Dakota Mines on Friday.

The Buffaloes had temporarily paused operations on Tuesday, which forced the postponement of their game at Arizona. Colorado was able to resume practice on Thursday with the approval of the school’s medical staff and campus health officials after two days of successful tracing and testing. The Buffaloes, 2-0 overall, will host Washington State Saturday at 2 p.m. in their home opener.

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December 3rd

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs back at practice – game against Washington State Saturday a go

From CUBuffs.com …  The University of Colorado men’s basketball team resumed operations Thursday and Saturday’s home opener against Washington State is on as scheduled for 2 p.m. at the CU Events Center.

“After proper due diligence by our medical staff and in consultation with campus health officials, our men’s basketball team has resumed practice today,” Colorado Athletic Director Rick George said. “Case investigation and contact tracing of the most recent case within the basketball program, as well as diagnostic PCR testing of all team members on Tuesday and Wednesday and our daily antigen testing cadence, indicated that no further pause in team activities is necessary. We are moving forward with plans to host Washington State on Saturday pending results of our regular testing the rest of this week.

“We will continue daily testing and symptom monitoring of our student-athletes and adherence to guidance from national, state, local and campus public health officials to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of our student-athletes, opponents, staff, campus and community.”

The Buffaloes had temporarily paused operations on Tuesday due to positive cases of COVID-19 within the program, which forced the postponement of their game at Arizona on Wednesday.

Colorado is 2-0, beginning the 2020-21 season last week with a pair of wins at the Little Apple Classic in Manhattan, Kan.

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December 1st 

… CU in the Arena … 

CU Men’s Basketball “pauses operations” – Arizona game postponed 

From CUBuffs.com … The University of Colorado Athletic Department has temporarily paused operations of the men’s basketball program due to COVID-19, forcing the postponement Wednesday’s scheduled Pac-12 Conference opener at Arizona.

“We have temporarily paused our men’s basketball operations due to positive cases of COVID-19 within the program,” Colorado Athletic Director Rick George said. “This includes the postponement of Wednesday’s game at Arizona. The status of other upcoming games is dependent upon contact tracing and subsequent testing of team members and basketball staff this week.

“As we have since the pandemic began, we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our student-athletes, staff, campus and community as we navigate this season. We will continue daily testing of our student-athletes to ensure positive cases are identified early and isolated quickly, in addition to adhering to guidance from state, local and campus public health officials.”

Colorado is 2-0, beginning the 2020-21 season last week with a pair of wins at the Little Apple Classic in Manhattan, Kan. The last interruption of CU men’s basketball regular season games came in December 2006, when the Buffaloes had back-to-back home games against UC Davis (Dec. 23) and TCU (Dec. 30) called off due to hazardous winter weather conditions in the Denver Metro area.

Pac-12 statement regarding Colorado at Arizona men’s basketball game

“After consultation with Colorado, the Pac-12 Conference announced the game involving Colorado at Arizona scheduled for Wednesday, December 2 has been postponed. This decision was made under the Pac-12’s basketball policy – Colorado does not have the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes available for the game due to previously reported COVID-19 issues within the program and associated contact tracing protocols. The Conference will work with both programs to attempt to find a mutually agreeable date to reschedule the contest.

“Not contesting this game is very disappointing to our student-athletes and our fans. While all of us want to see our men’s basketball student-athletes on the court competing, our number one priority must continue to be the health and safety of all those connected to Pac-12 men’s basketball programs.”

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