Colorado Basketball – February, 2022

 

**Video: “The Mayor” Evan Battey addresses his constituents**

From BuffsTV …

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February 28th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs NCAA chances remain slim, but a Pac-12 tourney bye still a possibility

From the Daily Camera … What will the ramifications be from one of the biggest wins in the history of the Colorado men’s basketball program?

In terms of the NCAA Tournament picture, probably not much, as the Buffaloes still will most likely require a run to the Pac-12 Conference tournament championship to reach the 68-team field. Yet the Buffs put themselves in position to make that possible conference tournament run a little easier.

Unfortunately for the Buffs, a few too many nights like Thursday’s loss against ASU dampened the impact of the win against Arizona, as CU moved up seven spots in Sunday’s NET rankings to No. 78. Yet while the Buffs will begin the final week of the regular season in fifth in the Pac-12, they probably are the best-positioned team to land the No. 4 spot and the final first-round bye at the conference tournament.

CU (19-10, 11-8 Pac-12) completes the regular season at Utah on Saturday (7:30 p.m., ESPNU).

“You can’t look in the rear view mirror. You just can’t,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “I’d like to, and it’s human nature. I’m not saying I won’t when I’m driving in my car. But in terms of dealing with our team, it’s about looking through the windshield, not the rear view mirror. We’ve got to move forward with this. And, again, learn from what happened, why it happened, and use that going forward.

“It’s hard to win games in college basketball in February. It’s even harder in March.”

Continue reading story here

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February 27th

… CU in the Arena … 

Video: Highlights – CU v. No. 2 Arizona 

From BuffsTV …

Video: CU lockerroom after win over No. 2 Arizona 

… Tad Boyle: “When you play like that, you can beat anybody”

From BuffsTV …

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February 26th

… CU in the Arena … 

Statement Win: Balanced Buff Attack Dominates No. 2 Arizona, 79-63

Related … “Stunner: CU Buffs knock off No. 2 Arizona” … from the Daily Camera

Related … “CU Buffs men’s basketball notes: Lineup shakeup pays off in upset of No. 2 Arizona” … from the Daily Camera

Related … “Colorado upsets No. 2 Arizona 79-63 with strong second half” … from ESPN

Related … “Colorado turns painful for second-ranked Wildcats again in 79-63 loss to Buffaloes” … from the Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)

The “Mayor of Boulder”, Evan Battey, addresses his people after the win over Arizona

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado followed its worst performance of the season with its best Saturday, as the Buffaloes carved out a 79-63 win over No. 2 Arizona before a sellout crowd of 11,079 at the CU Events Center.

The win, which matched the highest-ranked opponent Colorado has beaten in its history, improved the Buffs to 19-10 overall and 11-8 in Pac-12 play. The Wildcats fell to 25-3 and 15-2.

The victory also came against the highest-ranked opponent in the Tad Boyle era and the fourth against an AP top five team.

CU’s only other win against a No. 2 team came in 1992, when Colorado knocked off No. 2 Oklahoma State.

The Buffs put five players in double figures, with Jabari Walker scoring 15 points and grabbing 14 rebounds for his 15th double-double of the season. Tristan da Silva led CU in scoring with 19 points, Keeshawn Barthelemy added 15, K.J. Simpson chipped in 13 and Evan Battey celebrated his senior night with 11.

Azuolas Tubelis led Arizona with 13 while the Buffs held Wildcats leading scorer Benedict Mathurin to just 12 points on 3-for-11 shooting.

The victory came on the heels of Thursday’s lethargic 82-65 loss to Arizona State, but the Buffs were a completely different team Saturday. CU overcame a five-point halftime deficit to dominate the Wildcats on both ends of the floor, holding the Wildcats to 39 percent shooting for the game and collecting a 35-33 rebounding edge.

CU shot 48 percent (31-for-64), hit 13 of 15 free throws and had a 54-26 edge on points in the paint, but the big difference came on the defensive end and in the intangibles that are Boyle’s foundational cornerstones.

“That was a players victory,” Boyle said. “I’m so proud of the way they bounced back. I challenged them and they responded. Toughness and effort. … Our energy level tonight on offense and on defense was off the charts good. We beat a good Arizona team. I’ve got great respect for Tommy Lloyd and, and the players that they have. They’re a legit top-five team in the country. So kudos to our guys on a senior night. It’s hard to write a script that’s better than this. It’s a step in the right direction for us.”

Continue reading story here

The Battey File

From the Daily Camera … Where Evan Battey ranks among CU’s career lists heading into the Arizona game.

Points: 1,226 (24th; Next: Scott Wedman 1,251, Blair Wilson 1,253)

Rebounds: 639 (22nd; Next: Donnie Boyce and McKinley Wright IV 644).

Games: 128 (10th; Barring an unexpected setback, Battey will finish with at least 131, which will tie Wright and Wesley Gordon for fifth all-time).

Starts: 103 (T-9th; Barring an unexpected setback, Battey will finish with at least 106, which will rank eighth all-time).

Minutes: 3,118 (18th; Next: D’Shawn Schwartz 3,169).

–Battey shot .220 on 3-pointers (11-for-50) through his first three seasons at CU. He goes into his final regular season home game with a .508 mark this season (30-for-59). It’s a good season from the arc when you go 3-for-6, as Battey did during Thursday’s loss against Arizona State, and your season percentage actually drops a few decimals.

–Battey won’t have enough attempts to qualify for CU’s all-time single-season 3-point list — those leaders are required to have at least 100 attempts in a season — but if the season ended this week he would be well ahead of all-time leader Levi Knutson (.474 in 2010-11).

–Battey owns a career free throw percentage of .747 (going into Arizona game).

–In two games at the 2021 NCAA Tournament, Battey averaged 8.5 points and 3.0 rebounds, going a combined 6-for-10 from the field. He scored six points in CU’s first-round rout of Georgetown and went 5-for-7 at the free throw line with 11 points when the Buffs were eliminated by Florida State in the second round.

–One of just 14 CU players to record at least 1,200 points alongside at least 600 rebounds. His former teammate and 2017 recruiting classmate McKinley Wright IV also is in that club.

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Buffs face steep challenge in No. 2 Arizona on Senior Night (6:00 p.m., MT, ESPN2)

… Stat to give you hope: Colorado is 11-3 against Arizona in Boulder and has won the last four … 

From the Daily Camera … The Colorado men’s basketball team has no choice but to focus on moving forward.

Yet the view ahead suddenly has become doubly daunting.

After a five-game winning streak came to a screeching halt during an ugly performance on Thursday night, the Buffs will be forced to try and get back on track against No. 2 Arizona on Saturday night in the regular season home finale at the CU Events Center.

It will be Senior Night for Benan Ersek, Will Loughlin, injured guard Elijah Parquet and, most prominently, standout forward Evan Battey. Barring a possible home date in the NIT, it will be Battey’s final home game, and it will occur against the highest-ranked foe to visit Boulder in 12 years.

“If we don’t play better than we did (against Arizona State), we’ve got three games left in our season,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “Part of going to college is to learn. And there’s no teacher like experience. We experienced beating Oregon at Oregon. We also experienced Oregon coming back and beating us here. That should tell us that Arizona State could do the same thing.

“When we were on our road trip (last week), our practices were crisp, lively, energetic. The last two before Arizona State, they were not good. (Friday’s) was better, only because I felt like we had the film session and I was in their grill a little bit. I don’t know. We’ll see.”

Continue reading story here

Game Notes …

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado celebrates Senior Night Saturday against No. 2 Arizona. The Buffaloes will honor seniors Evan BatteyElijah ParquetBenan Ersek and Will Loughlin with their families prior to Saturday’s game and will address the fans in attendance post game.

Colorado is 18-10 overall and in fifth place in the Pac-12 Conference at 10-8. The Buffaloes saw their five-game winning streak end with an 82-65 setback to Arizona State on Feb. 24.

With 18 wins on the season the Buffaloes will finish above .500 for the 11th time in Tad Boyle‘s 12 seasons. The 10th Pac-12 win assures the Buffaloes a .500 conference record for the fourth-straight year and ninth time in his 12 seasons (eight Pac-12, one Big 12).

Against Stanford, Boyle picked up win No. 251 at Colorado, leaving him 10 from Sox Walseth’s program record of 261. Boyle has 108 Pac-12 regular season wins, tying for 20th in conference history with Howard Hobson who coached Oregon from 1936-47.

Overall, Colorado has won 41 of 60 (41-19) dating back to the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

Colorado is averaging 70.1 points per game while shooting 44.2 percent from the field. The Buffaloes lead the Pac-12 in 3-point accuracy overall (.357) and also in conference only games (.379). The Buffaloes are second in the Pac-12 in free throw percentage overall (.754) and in league only contests (.770).

Defensively, the Buffaloes have allowed 68.3 points per game. Colorado has held its opponents under 70 points in 13 of its last 20 games, including a Pac-12 season-low 53 to Stanford on Feb. 19. The Buffaloes are the second-best rebounding defense team (31.8 rpg) in the Pac-12 and rank fourth in rebound margin (+5.3).

ABOUT THE WILDCATS: No. 2 ranked Arizona is 25-2 overall and leads the Pac-12 with a 15-1 conference record. The Wildcats sport the nation’s third-best offense at 85.2 points per game. Arizona also leads the country in assists (20.5 apg) and rebounds per game (43.2 rpg). Defensively, the Wildcats allow 66.2 points per game while opponents shoot 37.4 percent.

Bennedict Mathurin leads Arizona and ranks second in the Pac-12 in scoring at 17.3 points per game. Mathurin shoots 47 percent from the field and is second on the team in 3-pointers (58) and steals (28). Azuolas Tubelis averages 15.5 points while ranking second on the team in rebounding (6.5 rpg) and third in assists (64). Christian Koloko averages 12.0 points while shooting 62.4 percent. Koloko leads the Pac-12 and ranks eighth in the nation in blocks at 3.0 per game. Kerr Kriisa is second in the Pac-12 in assists (5.0 apg) while averaging 10.4 points an outing.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 38th meeting between Colorado and Arizona with the Wildcats holding a 22-15 edge. Arizona won this season’s meeting in Tucson, 76-55, on Jan. 13. Colorado is 11-3 against Arizona in Boulder and has won the last four.

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February 25th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs embarrassed at home by Arizona State, 82-65

From the CUBuffs.com … Colorado’s five-game win streak game to a crashing halt Thursday, as the Buffaloes dropped an 82-65 decision to Arizona State at the CU Events Center.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffs fell to 18-10 overall and 10-8 in Pac-12 play while the Sun Devils avenged a home loss to Colorado earlier this season to improve to 11-16, 7-10.

The loss, coming on the heels of a win streak that saw the Buffs win three in a row on the road, dropped Colorado to 11-5 at home this year. That matches the most home losses for the Buffs in Boyle’s 12 years in Boulder, with one home game — Saturday’s matchup with No. 2 Arizona — remaining. CU’s home record also is a rarity in that Colorado this year has more home losses (five) than road losses (four).

After a fast start, the Buffs fell behind midway through the first half and trailed by 11 at intermission, 37-26. Colorado missed nine straight 3-pointers in the first half and did not have a field goal in the final 5:37 of the period. The Sun Devils then steadily built their lead after intermission, pushing their cushion to as much as 26 down the stretch.

Evan Battey led CU with 13 points, Jabari Walker added 12 and Keeshawn Barthelemy chipped in 10.

The Sun Devils had four players in double figures, led by 18 from Jay Heath. ASU also won for just the second time in 11 tries in Boulder and ended a six-game losing streak on CU’s floor.

The Buffs were dominated in just about every statistical category. The Sun Devils shot 49 percent for the game (30-for-61) while CU shot just 39 percent from the floor (21-for-54). ASU also thoroughly beat Colorado on the boards, 37-25 — CU’s lowest rebound total of the season — and the Sun Devils had a 35-15 edge in points off the bench.

The Buffs also tied a season low with just eight assists.

“We just got our butt kicked tonight,” an obviously irate Boyle said. “There’s no way to sugarcoat it. We weren’t ready to play. We’ve got a bunch of guys right now that rely on their offense and rely on their shot going in to score the basketball to give them energy to play the game. We don’t have the maturity I thought we did. I thought we showed some maturity the last few games, but we don’t have the maturity to sustain it in terms of executing a defensive game plan and playing with energy. We’ve got to prepare ourselves to win games or win a game when the shots aren’t falling. Tonight was that night. We were unable to do it.”

Continue reading story here

Eli Parquet likely to play elsewhere next season

From the Daily Camera … Injured senior guard Elijah Parquet is ready to say farewell to CU when he takes part in Senior Day on Saturday, but Parquet may not yet be done with college basketball.

This week, Parquet told BuffZone he may be interested in using his extra season of eligibility granted by the NCAA from last year’s COVID season, particularly after a foot injury ended his final year at CU after 18 games.

“I’ll probably use my COVID year, but I don’t know where I’ll use it at,” Parquet said. “Especially after the way this year ended.”

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February 24th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Evan Battey’s 85 wins most of any player in CU history

From CUBuffs.com … Rather quietly, Colorado’s three four-year seniors notched a very nice milestone last weekend when they capped a three-game road trip sweep with a 70-53 victory at Stanford.

Saturday’s victory over the Cardinal gave Tad Boyle‘s Buffs 85 victories in the last four years — the second-highest four-year total in Colorado history, trailing only the 92 wins compiled by Boyle’s first four CU teams (2010 through 2014).

Three Buffs — Evan BatteyElijah Parquet and Benan Ersek — have been in uniform throughout that four-year stretch. Those three, along with second-year Buff Will Loughlin, begin their final regular season home stand Thursday against Arizona State and will be honored Saturday at CU’s Senior Night, when the Buffs play host to Arizona (6 p.m.).

But there’s more to the four-year win total than just the team mark.

Battey recorded a personal milestone in the victory over Stanford, one that will put him atop the CU record books in a very important category. Battey has played in every one of the Buffaloes’ 85 victories over the last four years, giving him the most winning appearances in Colorado history.

That’s correct — after redshirting his freshman year in Boulder and recovering from a life-threatening stroke, Battey returned to the court in his second year in Boulder and has never missed a game.

The previous record holder? Battey’s former teammate and 2017 recruiting class partner McKinley Wright IV, who played in 84 CU victories in his four years with the Buffs.

All four of this year’s seniors have had an impact on Colorado’s success, not only this season but over the last several years.

Battey, a Los Angeles prep product, has been an impact player since his first season. His infectious smile and unbridled enthusiasm made him a fan favorite from his very first game, and he quickly became an emotional sparkplug for the Buffaloes.

But his role grew as his game developed. He became a reliable presence in the post on both ends of the floor and his leadership role has expanded.

Now, as a fifth-year player who was selected as a first-team preseason All-Pac-12 player, he has become an elder statesman, guidance counselor and foundational cornerstone for an otherwise very young Colorado team, while still maintaining the emotion and exuberance that has connected him with fans like few other players in CU history.

Continue reading story here

Game Notes … CU v. Arizona State (7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)

From CUBuffs.com

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 18-9 overall and fifth in the Pac-12 Conference at 10-7, one-half game behind Oregon (10-6) for fourth. The Buffaloes have won five straight including three-straight on the road in a five-day span last week. Colorado defeated Oregon State, 90-64, on Feb. 15 in a makeup game from Jan. 1, and from there swept the Bay Area schools for the first time, knocking off California, 70-62, on Feb. 17 and Stanford, 70-53 on Feb. 19.

It marked the first time the Buffaloes have won three in a row, in true road games, on the same road trip. Colorado has its first three-game conference road win streak since 2013 and second since 2002. It’s the 21st time in school history that a CU team has won three or more straight league road games, and just the fourth time since 1964.

With 18 wins on the season the Buffaloes will finish above .500 for the 11th time in Tad Boyle’s 12 seasons. The 10th Pac-12 win assures the Buffaloes a .500 conference record for the fourth-straight year and ninth time in his 12 seasons (eight Pac-12, one Big 12).

Against Stanford, Boyle picked up win No. 251 at Colorado, leaving him 10 from Sox Walseth’s program record of 261. Boyle has 108 Pac-12 regular season wins, tying for 20th in conference history with Howard Hobson who coached Oregon from 1936-47.

ABOUT THE SUN DEVILS: Arizona State is 10-16 overall and in ninth place in the Pac-12 at 6-10. The Sun Devils have won three of their last four and four of seven overall. Arizona State averages 64.5 points while shooting 40.1 percent from the field. Defensively, the Sun Devils allow 68.7 points while holding opponents to 40.2
percent, ranking third in the Pac-12. ASU ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in blocked shots at 4.3 per game.

DJ Horne leads Arizona State at 12.4 points per game. He has a team-best 65 3-point field goals, ranking second in the Pac-12 at 2.5 per game. Kimani Lawrence leads the Sun Devils and ranks ninth in the Pac-12 in rebounding at 6.6 per game while averaging 11.5 points an outing. Marreon Jackson leads Arizona State and ranks sixth in the Pac-12 in assists at 3.9 per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 24th meeting between Colorado and Arizona State with the Buffaloes holding a 14-9 series lead. The Buffaloes have won the last five and seven of the last nine meetings. Colorado won for just the third time in Tempe earlier this season, a 75-57 triumph at Desert Financial Arena on Jan. 15.
The Buffaloes have won nine of 10 all-time meetings in Boulder, including the last six.

FOUR-YEAR HISTORIC NUMBERS: Colorado has 85 wins since the beginning of the 2018-19 season, the second most in any four year span in team history. The 85 wins trails only the 92 recorded from 2010-14, Tad Boyle’s first four seasons on the CU bench which included three NCAA Tournaments, the 2012 Pac-12 Tournament title and the 2011 NIT semifinals. Colorado’s win at Stanford put this four-year group one ahead of the previous four years, 2017-21, that had won 84.

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February 23rd

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs give up an 11-point lead in the final 94 seconds before rallying to top No. 25 Oregon in 2OT, 86-83

From CUBuffs.com … It took every bit of 50 minutes for the Colorado Buffaloes to upset No. 25 Oregon on Wednesday night at the CU Events Center. The Buffs won the race to the finish, closing out the double-overtime victory with a 86-83 triumph.

The Buffs led by 14 points in the fourth quarter, before Oregon came back to tie the game at 72 at the end of regulation. The game remained tied at 80 at the end of the first extra period, forcing CU to play its first double OT game since 2014.

“I’m really proud of our effort and togetherness,” head coach JR Payne opened with after the win. “We stuck together the entire game. When things were really going great, we stuck together. When things were not going great, the most beautiful thing about it was these [players] that held us together in timeouts and huddles. There wasn’t even a lot that I needed to say as far as what we needed to focus on or what our priority should be. These [players] took control of that with great leadership and so much heart on so many plays.”

The win for Colorado was its 19th of the season and its first against a ranked opponent since upsetting No. 1 Stanford last season. It also snapped a six-game losing streak to the Ducks. The team improves to 8-7 in Pac-12 play with one game left before the conference tournament in Las Vegas.

Junior Jaylyn Sherrod led Colorado with 17 points and matched her season-high of eight assists. Senior Lesila Finau contributed a career-high 15 points, hitting three key 3-pointers along the way. Fifth-year senior Mya Hollingshed recorded her eighth double-double of the season, going for 15 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Junior Quay Miller rounded out CU’s top scorers with 11 of the Buffs’ 26 points off the bench.

Oregon (18-10. 10-6 Pac-12) had three players in double figures, led by Endyia Rogers’ game-high of 28. Nyara Sabally finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Ahlise Hurst went 4-for-9 from 3-point range to close with 12 points.

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Bittersweet Senior Day ahead for Eli Parquet

From the Daily Camera … Elijah Parquet wasn’t immediately certain his Colorado playing career was over when a familiar jolt of pain assailed his right foot at Washington.

Parquet had been attempting to play through the pain, but it wasn’t long before the senior guard grudgingly conceded there would be no further playing through this. As the Buffaloes prepare for the final homestand of the season, which begins against Arizona State on Thursday (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network), Parquet will remain a spectator through the Senior Day festivities on Saturday against No. 2 Arizona.

Limping out to center court is not how any player envisions their eventual Senior Day, but unfortunately for Parquet that is the fate that has fallen his way. This week, Parquet spoke with BuffZone for the first time since playing what ultimately turned in to the last of his 105 games with the Buffs that Jan. 27 night in Seattle.

That game was the second one back on the floor for Parquet following a two-game absence, but after re-aggravating the injury against the Huskies, Parquet’s season detoured to the right foot surgery he endured last week to remove bone spurs.

“I tried to play through it as best as I could, but I couldn’t really plant anymore,” Parquet said. “I had a big one (bone spur) right under my heel and another one in my ankle pushing on my tendon. I couldn’t really shoot like I wanted to and be on balance. I re-aggravated it coming off of a rebound (at UW) and I twisted it up on somebody’s foot. I knew in the back of my head that was probably going to be the last one.”

Continue reading story here

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February 22nd 

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs can make a case for being a “bubble” team this week: “There’s definitely talk concerning the opportunity we have”

From the Daily Camera … The Buffs’ five-game winning streak has pushed CU squarely into the mix for a top four finish in the Pac-12, which is rewarded with a first-round bye at the league tournament. And the run has at least opened the door for eventual NCAA Tournament consideration if the Buffs can keep the good times rolling.

The Buffs began Monday at No. 79 in the NET rankings, a full 15 spots ahead of where they were going into their makeup date at Oregon State last week. Three road wins later, and CU has an opportunity to play its way into the tourney conversation.

That conversation almost certainly will require a win on Saturday against Arizona, which took over the No. 2 spot in the latest AP Top 25 on Monday. It is the sort of marquee win missing from the Buffs’ resume, but one that won’t matter if they don’t take care of the Sun Devils.

“There’s definitely talk surrounding the opportunity that we have, but at the same time we look at it as one game at a time. We understand that,” CU sophomore Jabari Walker said. “It takes each game to put ourselves in better position. We’re focused on our future. We’re excited about our future. But we’re not taking for granted the opportunity we have in each of the games.”

Continue reading story here

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Jabari Walker: NBA first round draft pick?

From the San Jose Mercury News … What we learned on the third-to-last — or antepenultimate, for all you wordsmiths out there — weekend of the regular season …

Jabari Walker is underappreciated conference-wide.

The Colorado forward proved once again that he’s one of the Pac-12’s top talents with a 19-point, 15-rebound performance in a victory at Cal.

It was his fifth consecutive double-double and 14th this season, which tops the Pac-12 — nobody is close — and is tied for ninth nationally.

The double-double streak ended Saturday with a fairly quite performance at Stanford: 10 points and three rebounds. (Then again, the Buffaloes didn’t need Walker to dominate.)

We expect to see the 6-foot-9 sophomore selected in the first round of the NBA Draft this spring, after he’s named first-team all-conference.

He’s one of the five or six best players in the league.

Continue reading story here

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February 21st 

… CU in the Arena … 

KJ Simpson named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week (for the second time)

You better start listening Since I posted my podcast interview with KJ Simpson last week, the Buffs have gone 4-0. In those four games Simpson has scored 44 points (including a career-high 19 against Cal), with 13 rebounds and nine assists … Causation or correlation? You decide … 

From CUBuffs.com … University of Colorado’s K.J. Simpson has been named the Pac-12 Conference Men’s Basketball Freshman of the Week, for games played Feb. 14-20, the league office announced on Monday.

The Freshman of the Week honor is Colorado’s third this season and the second for Simpson who also earned the award on Nov. 29. Julian Hammond III was Freshman of the Week on Jan. 10. It’s the Buffaloes’ fourth overall honor for an award just in its third year in existence. Jabari Walker earned the initial Buffaloes honor, on Jan. 18, 2021.

A 6-foot-2, 177-pound guard from West Hills, Calif., Simpson averaged 13.0 points and 3.0 rebounds helping the Buffaloes to three-straight road wins in a five-day span last week; just the program’s second three-game conference road winning streak since 2002.  He shot 44 percent from the field and 79 percent from the foul line, hitting 14 of 18 attempts.

Simpson scored in double-figures all three games including a career-high 19 points at California on Feb. 17. He recorded personal-bests at the free throw line knocking down 8 of 10 attempts. Simpson had 10 points, five rebounds and two assists at Oregon State and finished the week with 10 points, two rebounds and two steals at Stanford.

Colorado, 18-9 overall and in fifth place in the Pac-12 at 10-7, plays its last two regular season home games this week. The Buffaloes host Arizona State on Thursday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. (Pac-12 Network) and No. 2 Arizona on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 6 p.m. (ESPN2 or ESPNU) on Senior Night. Both games will also air live on the Colorado Basketball Network, KOA 850 AM & 94.1 FM.

Buffs up to 5th in Pac-12 standings; eyeing first round bye: “It’s a totally different team”

From the Daily Camera … A first-round bye at the Pac-12 Conference felt inconceivable for the Colorado Buffaloes just a few weeks ago. It seemed much more likely the Buffaloes ultimately would bid a quick bye-bye to the postseason.

Three weeks ago CU limped home, quite literally, from a three-game road trip that started with a bang in a rare win at Oregon, yet was followed by two of the ugliest performances of the season in losses at Washington and Washington State.

During that time, the Buffs lost freshman center Lawson Lovering and, more frustratingly, senior guard and defensive stopper Elijah Parquet to season-ending injuries. CU also played the two games in Washington without starting forward Tristan da Silva, who suffered a COVID setback, and upon returning home head coach Tad Boyle missed the first game of his career, CU’s first-ever home loss against Oregon, due to his own bout with COVID.

The season easily could have spiraled out of control. Instead, the Buffs used the adversity to spur a comeback and will take a five-game winning streak into the final regular season homestand, which begins Thursday against Arizona State (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

“It’s a totally different team,” CU senior Evan Battey said. “It’s because of the players. We keep getting better and keep our heads up, and we’re not feeling sorry for ourselves. It’s from the whole program, top to bottom. It takes us all. No one person can carry the load for the whole team.”

CU will go into the Arizona State game in sole possession of fifth-place in the conference, and just a half-game back of Oregon for the coveted fourth spot, which comes with a first-round bye at the Pac-12 Tournament.

Continue reading story here

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February 20th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs complete first three-game conference road sweep since 2001 with a 70-53 win over Stanford

Related … “Road show: Clean sweep of extended trip as CU Buffs race past Stanford” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado put five players in double figures and CU’s defense was stellar down the stretch Saturday, paving the way for a 70-53 win over Stanford at Maples Pavilion to give the Buffaloes a three-game road trip sweep.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffs won their fifth straight overall to improve to 18-9 overall and 10-7 in Pac-12 play. The Cardinal fell to 15-12, 8-9.

Evan Battey led the Buffs with 15 points. Nique Clifford added 14 and Keeshawn BarthelemyJabari Walker and K.J. Simpson each chipped in 10.

Jaiden Delaire led Stanford with 12 points.

The victory, on the heels of wins at Oregon State and Cal, gave Colorado just its second three-game conference road trip win streak since 2001 and its first ever three-game sweep on the same road trip.

Colorado rallied from a nine-point first-half deficit to trail by just two at the half, then used a 15-1 run midway through the second half to take the lead for good. The Buffs defense produced a six-minute Cardinal scoring drought in the second half and recorded 16 stops on Stanford’s last 20 possessions of the game.

The Buffs finished 24-for-46 from the floor (52 percent) while holding the Cardinal to 21-for-54 shooting. CU also forced 15 Stanford turnovers, converting them into 17 points.

While Walker’s streak of consecutive double-doubles came to an end at five, the Buffs had plenty of production up and down the lineup. Clifford collected seven rebounds and Luke O’Brien had five boards and a team-high four assists.

“I’m really proud of this team,” Boyle said. “They’re really coming into their own. The last couple of weeks we’ve seen a lot of maturity and growth.”

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February 19th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs looking for three-game road sweep at Stanford: “We just need to stay the course”

From the Daily Camera … Two weeks ago, it was easy to wonder if the season might spin out of control for the Colorado men’s basketball team.

Yet given time to adjust to players lost for the season to injury, and given time to dive into some soul-searching while coaxing additional mental toughness, the Buffaloes have managed to turn things around. The current three-game road trip already has been wildly more successful than the previous three-game trip last month, yet the Buffs understand the job is not yet finished.

Riding a four-game winning streak, the Buffs will attempt to complete a rare feat by winning a third consecutive conference game on the road when they take on Stanford on Saturday night.

“We knew we were better than our record,” CU freshman guard KJ Simpson said. “We’re a hell of a team with (good) players. This is a really talented team. I think we just had to find that within ourselves. We just need to stay the course. You can’t get too high or too low. You can’t get too excited about a win you know is lovely, and you can’t get too down on a loss. You have to stay even-keeled, and I think that’s what we’ve done good throughout this stretch. We kept our heads high and just stayed together. We’re doing what we’re supposed to.”

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Game Notes … 

From CUBuffs.com

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 17-9 overall and sixth in the Pac-12 Conference at 9-7, picking up its fourth-straight win with a 70-62 decision at California on Feb. 17 in the second of a three-game road swing. Colorado’s 17th win guarantees the Buffaloes will finish above .500 for the 11th time in Tad Boyle’s 12 seasons. On Thursday, Boyle picked up win No. 250 at Colorado, leaving him 11 from Sox Walseth’s program record of 261.

The Buffaloes are an even 9-9 in their last 18 regular season conference road games. A win Saturday would give the Buffaloes just their second
three-game conference road winning streak since 2002.

ABOUT THE CARDINAL: Stanford is 15-11 overall and tied for seventh in the Pac-12 at 8-8. The Cardinal have lost three of four, including a 60-56 setback to Utah on Feb. 17. Stanford is averaging 67.5 points while shooting 44 percent from the field. Defensively, the Cardinal allow 68.3 points while opponents shoot nearly 45 percent. Stanford is 10th in the nation, and second in the Pac-12, in rebounding margin at plus-7.2 per game. The Cardinal lead the Pac-12 in rebounding defense, holding their opponents to 29.5 rebounds per game.

Freshman forward Harrison Ingram leads Stanford at 11.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Senior forward Jaiden Delaire averages 10.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Michael O’Connell averages 7.1 points and leads the Cardinal in assists at 3.7 per outing. Spencer Jones averages 10.6 points and has a team-best 43 3-point field goals.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 28th meeting between Colorado and Stanford with the Buffaloes holding a 16-11 series edge. The Buffaloes have won 13 of the last 15 over the Cardinal, including an 80-76 decision on Nov. 28, in Boulder, to open the Pac-12 season. Stanford holds a 6-5 series edge on its home court.

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February 18th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs rally from 11-point first half deficit to roll past Cal, 70-62

Related … “Surging: Win streak continues for CU Buffs after dominant second half at Cal” … from the Daily Camera

Just sayin’Since I posted my podcast interview with KJ Simpson last week, the Buffs have gone 3-0. In those three games Simpson has scored 34 points (including a career-high 19 against Cal), with 11 rebounds and eight assists … Causation or correlation? You decide … 

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado’s Jabari Walker recorded his fifth straight double-double Thursday to spark a big second-half CU rally and the Buffaloes claimed a 70-62 win over Cal at Haas Pavilion.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffs won their fourth straight game to improve to 17-9 overall and 9-7 in Pac-12 play. The Bears fell to 11-16 and 4-12.

The Buffs trailed by seven at the half, 35-28, but used a pair of 14-1 runs after intermission to take control and the Bears never mounted a rally down the stretch.

Walker continued his outstanding February run with 19 points and a career-high tying 15 rebounds for his Pac-12 leading 14th double-double of the season. Walker was also a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line, his fourth straight game without a miss from the stripe, giving him 27 consecutive made free throws.

K.J. Simpson tallied a career-high 19 points and Evan Battey added 18 points and six boards for the Buffs.

Grant Anticevich and Jalen Celestine lead Cal with 11 points apiece.

After allowing the Bears to shoot 52 percent from the floor in the first half, Colorado held Cal to 25 percent shooting after intermission (8-for-32). That included a 2-for-19 start to fuel CU’s decisive second-half runs.

The Buffs also held a 43-28 edge on the boards, including a 29-11 advantage after halftime, and Colorado finished a respectable 43 percent from the floor (22-for-51).

The Buffs also finished with just 10 turnovers, their lowest total in their last 19 games, and they hit 21 of 24 free throw attempts.

“A good win for us,” said Boyle, whose Buffs presented him with his 250th win at Colorado. “I’m really pleased with the toughness we showed. Cal’s a physical team. We had to be tougher and stronger and we played that way.”

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February 17th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs look to sustain momentum against Cal: “Mentally, we need to stay locked in”

From the Daily Camera … Three weeks ago, the Buffs opened a three-game trip with a solid win at Oregon, only to stumble to ugly losses at Washington and Washington State. Granted, personnel issues battered the Buffs on that trip — by the end of it, both Tristan da Silva and Elijah Parquet were sidelined — but from head coach Tad Boyle on down, missing players did not excuse the sort of listless efforts that led to a 43-point showing at Washington State.

“Mentally, we need to stay locked in,” Walker said. “Last time around we got kind of complacent after the first win. We thought the rest of them would be kind of easy. But the truth is, it’s harder as the trip goes along because it’s a toll on the body and it’s a toll mentally. I’m more locked in than ever and I’m excited about that. We’ll put that one (win at OSU) away and prepare for the future.”

Like Oregon State, the matchup against Cal presents an opportunity for the Buffs to pick up another road win against one of the programs mired in the bottom of the Pac-12 standings. Unlike OSU, Cal comes into the matchup riding perhaps its best momentum of the season, having posted consecutive wins on the heels of a 10-game losing streak.

That mini-run by Cal includes an impressive performance on Saturday at Oregon, where the Bears won for the first time. Cal took control with a dominant 24-0 run in the first half and, despite entering Thursday’s game against the Buffs ranked 10th in league games in defensive 3-point percentage (.301), the Bears held a good-shooting Ducks team to a 5-for-27 mark from the arc on Oregon’s home floor.

For the Buffs, a three-game winning streak is on the line. And while the Buffs remain on the outside of the top four spots in the Pac-12 standings, which includes a first-round bye at the conference tournament, that sort of landing spot still very much is in the mix for CU if it can keep picking up wins against the Pac-12’s bottom dwellers.

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Game Notes …

From CUBuffs.com

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 16-9 overall and 8-7 in the Pac-12 Conference, picking up its third-straight win with a 90-64 decision at Oregon State on Feb. 15 to tip off a three-game road swing. Colorado’s 16th win guarantees the Buffaloes will finish with at least a .500 record for the 11th time in Tad Boyle’s 12 seasons. On Tuesday, Boyle picked up win No. 249 at Colorado, leaving him 12 from Sox Walseth’s program record of 261.

Colorado has won 39 of 55 (39-18) dating back to the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

Colorado is averaging 70.3 points per game while shooting 44.2 percent from the field. The Buffaloes are averaging 85.7 points over the last three games while shooting 53.0 percent from the field (88 of 167). Colorado has made 31 of their last 62 from downtown (.500) and 50 of its last 59 from the free throw line (.847).

Colorado’s 90 points at Oregon State are its most in a true road game since scoring 93 at Air Force on Nov. 24, 2018. It’s the most in a conference road game since scoring 91 in an overtime loss at Washington State on March, 7, 2015. It’s the most in regulation, in conference, since scoring 90 at Iowa State on Mar. 2, 2011 (L, 90-95) Colorado’s 26-point margin of victory was its largest in a road contest against any Pac-12 opponent.

ABOUT THE GOLDEN BEARS: California is 11-15 overall and 4-11 in the Pac-12 Conference. The Golden Bears are coming off a road sweep of Oregon and Oregon State last week, defeating the Beavers 63-61 on Feb. 9 and the Ducks 78-64 on Feb. 12. Cal had lost its previous 10 games prior to that Oregon trip. The Bears average 64.7 points per game, ranking next-to-last in the Pac-12. Defensively, Cal allows 66.1 points while opponents shoot 41.9 percent. The Bears are the second-best 3-point defensive team in the Pac-12 at 31.1 percent and rank third in rebound defense allowing 33.2 per game.

Jordan Shepherd leads California at 14.6 points per game and is coming off a 33-point performance at Oregon. Grant Anticevich averages 10.3 points and leads active Bears at 6.8 rebounds per game. Anticevich has a team-best 36 3-point field goals made. Joel Brown leads the Bears in assists (80) and ranks second in steals (24) while averaging 5.1 points per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 38th meeting between Colorado and California with the Buffaloes holding a 20-17 lead. Colorado won two of three last season; each winning at home during the regular season and the Buffaloes claiming a 61-58 decision in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament. Cal has won 14 of 16 all-time meetings in Berkeley, including the last two. Colorado’s last win at Haas was a 68-59 decision on Jan. 24, 2019.

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February 16th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buff sophomores go 21-24 from the field v. OSU; Jabari Walker “becoming a beast”

From the Daily Camera … The Buffs received key all-around contributions from their entire true sophomore class — Walker, Luke O’Brien, Nique Clifford, and Tristan da Silva.

That quartet combined to go 21-for-24 from the floor, 9-for-13 on 3-pointers, and 16-for-20 at the free throw line.

In addition to Walker’s 15th career double-double, O’Brien recorded career-highs in field goals (five), 3-pointers (three), and points (14). Da Silva recorded three offensive rebounds, one steal, and one assist in the game’s first 1:55, eventually finishing with 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Clifford contributed 14 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

Da Silva is 5-for-7 on 3-pointers in the past three games, while Clifford is 5-for-6 in that same span.

“Jabari Walker is just becoming a beast,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “He had 24 points on 12 shots. That’s really efficient. He’s rebounding the ball obviously at an elite level, leading the league. Really proud of him.

“He’s gaining a lot of confidence. The efficiency is the key. He’s getting better, he really is. Still room for improvement, without a doubt. Defensively I think there’s some things he’s got to continue to get better at. But offensively, he’s really playing within himself. He’s not forcing things too much. I thought he played probably as good a game as he’s played all year tonight.”

Notable

CU’s plus-20 rebounding advantage (45-25) matched its highest of the season in Pac-12 play. The Buffs also had a plus-20 rebounding edge in a home win against Washington on Jan. 9…The Buffs went 18-for-22 at the free throw line and have shot .847 (50-59) on free throws over the past three games…CU has won three consecutive games at Gill Coliseum…The Buffs hit 10 3-pointers just once in the season’s first 22 games, but have done so twice in the past three games (although both were against OSU)…CU senior Evan Battey became the 12th Buffs player to make 100 starts in his career.

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Jabari Walker’s double-double (24/15) and Luke O’Brien’s career-high 14 lead Buffs over Oregon State, 90-64

Related … “Road surge: CU Buffs hammer Oregon State to complete regular season sweep” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado’s Jabari Walker recorded his fourth straight double-double and 13th of the season Tuesday to lead the Buffaloes to a 90-64 win over Oregon State at Gill Coliseum.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffs, playing the opener of a three-game road trip, won their third in a row to improve to 16-9 overall and 8-7 in Pac-12 play. The Beavers lost their 10th straight and fell to 3-20, 1-12.

Colorado led by 12 at the half, then withstood a minor OSU comeback after intermission before putting the game away for good. The Buffs outscored the Beavers 21-5 over the final eight minutes of the contest to win going away.

Walker, the leading rebounder in the Pac-12, had 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead five Buffs in double-figure scoring. Tristan da Silva scored 15, Nique Clifford and Luke O’Brien each added 14 (a career high for O’Brien) and K.J. Simpson tallied 10.

DaShawn Davis led OSU with 22 points.

The Buffs were dominant in almost every statistical category, including a 45-25 edge on the boards that led to a 17-4 advantage in second-chance points. Along with Walker’s 15 rebounds, Clifford finished with seven and Simpson grabbed five.

The Buffs also had 20 assists on 31 baskets, with Clifford, da Silva and Keeshawn Barthelemy each handing out four. Colorado finished shooting 50 percent from the floor (31-for-62) while holding OSU to 44 percent (28-for-63). CU also shot 10-for-21 from 3-point range while the Beavers missed their first 13 shots from beyond the arc, finishing 3-for-19.

“Overall, I’m really pleased with the effort tonight,” Boyle said. “When you win going away on the road, you have to enjoy it.”

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February 15th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs on the road against Oregon State for a makeup game (7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)

From CUBuffs.com

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 15-9 overall and 7-7 in the Pac-12 Conference, picking up its second-straight win in come-from-behind fashion, 81-76 at home against Utah on Feb. 12.

Colorado has bounced back from double-digit first half deficits in two of its last three wins. The Buffaloes were down 15 in the first half at Oregon before winning 82-78 on Jan. 25. Colorado trailed Utah by 11 on three occasions, with the latest coming at the 15:50 mark of the second half (49-38).

Colorado has won 38 of 55 (38-18) dating back to the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

The Buffaloes have fared well in tight contests. Fourteen of Colorado’s  games have been within six points – or two possessions – with four minutes or less remaining in the game. The Buffaloes are 10-4 in those contests.

Colorado is averaging 69.5 points per game while shooting 44.0 percent from the field. The Buffaloes broke out of recent offensive slump against Oregon State scoring a Pac-12 season-high 86 points while setting overall season-bests for field goal shooting (32-56, .571), field goals made, 3-pointers made (14), 3-point percentage (.560) and assists (19). Colorado’s 86-point performance had come on the heels of scoring just 94 in the previous two games, which included season-lows in points (43) and shooting percentage (.286) at Washington State.

Colorado continued that surge against Utah. The Buffaloes shot 51 percent from the field (25-49) against the Utes and are shooting 54 percent over the last two (57-105).

ABOUT THE BEAVERS: Oregon State is 3-19 overall and in last place in the Pac-12 at 1-11. The Beavers have lost their last nine including a 76-65 setback against Stanford on Feb. 12. Oregon State is averaging 67.4 points per game while shooting 44 percent from the floor. The Beavers rank last in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (75.0 ppg) and field goal defense (.465).

Jarod Lucas leads Oregon State at 13.7 points per game and has a team-best 53 3-point field goals. He tops the Pac-12 in free throw shooting (.875) and ranks sixth in 3-point percentage (.405). Warith Alatishe averages 10.1 points and leads the Beavers in rebounding at 5.8 per contest. Dashawn Davis averages 9.2 points and leads the Pac-12 in assists at 5.4 per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 30th meeting between Colorado and Oregon State with the Buffaloes holding a 19-10 advantage. Colorado won four of the last five meetings including an 86-63 decision in Boulder on Feb. 5. Oregon State has won six of 11 all-time meetings in Corvallis, but the Buffaloes have won the last two.

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February 13th

… CU in the Arena … 

Can Buffs take advantage of “jumbled mess” in the middle of Pac-12?

… Five of CU’s final six games are against the bottom half of the conference … 

From the Daily Camera … Thanks to a few unexpected results across Pac-12 Conference men’s basketball on Saturday, there is a jumbled mess in the central portion of the league standings. And the Colorado Buffaloes are smack in the middle of it.

The Buffs put their recent three-game losing streak a little further into the rearview mirror and maintained some momentum heading into a demanding three-game road trip this week, which begins on Tuesday at Oregon State, by rallying past Utah for an 81-76 victory on Saturday at the CU Events Center.

Elsewhere in the conference, Cal stunned Oregon in Eugene. And Arizona State put a dent into Washington State’s NCAA Tournament aspirations by winning in Pullman. That left four teams in the middle of the Pac-12 standings with five to seven league losses, all of whom have played a different number of conference games — Washington (8-5), WSU (7-5), Stanford (8-7) and CU (7-7).

Although the Buffs’ makeup date on Tuesday at OSU (7 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Network) begins a run of four road games out of the final six regular season contests, and CU still has a home date against No. 4 Arizona, the Buffs still have arguably the most favorable schedule in that mix. Four of those games are against the bottom four teams in the league. But as Cal, ASU and even the Utes showed on Saturday, success will not come easily for the Buffs or anyone else down the stretch.

“I look at every game as the biggest game of the year, because it’s the next game,” CU senior forward Evan Battey said. “It was a big-time win for us (against Utah), getting another win in the standings and good momentum going on the road. I’m happy, but we’ve still got work to do. We’ve still got to get better. But I’m happy.”

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February 12th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs rally behind Jabari Walker’s double-double to defeat Utah 81-76

Related … “Comeback kids: Jabari Walker leads late surge as CU Buffs top Utah” … from the Daily Camera 

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado’s Jabari Walker recorded his 12th double-double of the season Saturday, helping fuel a big second-half comeback as the Buffaloes rallied to take an 81-76 win over Utah at the CU Events Center.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffs won their second in a row to improve to 15-9 overall and 7-7 in Pac-12 play. The Utes lost for the 12th time in their last 13 games to fall to 9-16, 2-13.

Walker finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds for his Pac-12-leading 12th double-double and third in a row. Evan Battey added 16 points, Tristan da Silva and Keeshawn Barthelemy each scored 14 and Nique Clifford had 10.

Brendan Carlsen led Utah with 25, with 21 coming in the first half.

The Buffs trailed by as much as 11 in the second half before staging their rally. Walker had 14 of his 22 points in the final 6:25 of the game, all after being whistled for his fourth foul.

Colorado shot 51 percent from the floor (25-for-49) and also hit 24 of 29 free throw tries. The Utes finished 29-for-66 from the floor, but the Pac-12’s leading free throw team hit just 10 of its 19 attempts from the stripe.

Colorado also committed 14 turnovers that led to 15 Utah points.

“Utah is better than their record,” Boyle said. “That was a hard-fought win. We didn’t play our best basketball, but down the stretch we made plays. We found a way to win, but we’re going to have to get better.”

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Buffs look to continue momentum against resilient Utes 

From the Daily Camera … It would have been a long week if Colorado had not gotten back on track against Oregon State.

It will be a rough prelude to a demanding road trip next week if the Buffaloes can’t maintain their newfound momentum against Utah.

Given a chance to regroup this week with the lone matchup against the Utes, the Buffs have tried to make the most of an opportunity to adjust after a rash of injuries put a swift, and permanent, dent into the rotation. They shook off an ugly three-game losing streak to get back in the win column last week against Oregon State, and Utah, 11th in the Pac-12 Conference with a 2-12 league mark, presents another opportunity for the Buffs to rebuild their confidence ahead of a three-game road trip.

The Utes, however, have been far more competitive than that record might indicate, with a number of narrow losses in recent weeks against a few of the hotter Pac-12 teams. CU head coach Tad Boyle isn’t expecting to see a 2-12 team on display at the Events Center on Saturday.

“Utah is a team that has been in a lot of games,” Boyle said. “They have not lost their fight. They have not lost their energy. You watch them on film, they keep coming. We’re going to have to beat Utah. They’re really solid. They’re better than their record, there’s no doubt about it. I know that. I think they know that. I think anybody that plays against them knows that. It’s an important game for us.”

Utah ended a 10-game losing streak last week by topping struggling Oregon State at home. Several of those games easily could have tilted toward the Utes.

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Game Notes … 

From CUBuffs.com

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 14-9 overall and 6-7 in the Pac-12 Conference after splitting its home series with the Oregon schools last week. The Buffaloes dropped a 66-51 decision to Oregon on Feb. 3 before bouncing back with an 86-63 win over Oregon State on Feb. 5.

Colorado’s win over Oregon State stopped a three-game skid, which was the program’s longest since the end of the 2019-20 season when the Buffaloes dropped five in a row leading into the season shutdown due to the pandemic.

The Buffaloes have dropped five of seven and six of their last nine. Three of those losses have been to ranked teams and five of Colorado’s nine overall losses have been to Top 25 opponents.

Despite the recent slide, Colorado has won 37 of 54 (37-18) dating back to the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

The Buffaloes have fared well in tight contests. Thirteen of Colorado’s  games have been within six points – or two possessions – with four minutes or less remaining in the game. The Buffaloes are 9-4 in those contests.

Colorado is averaging 69.0 points per game while shooting 43.7 percent from the field. The Buffaloes broke out of recent offensive slump against Oregon State scoring a Pac-12 season-high 86 points while setting overall season-bests for field goal shooting (32-56, .571), field goals made, 3-pointers made (14), 3-point percentage (.560) and assists (19). Colorado’s 86-point performance had come on the heels of scoring just 94 in the previous two games, which included season-lows in points (43) and shooting percentage (.286) at Washington State.

ABOUT THE UTES: Utah is 9-15 overall and 2-12 in the Pac-12. The Utes have dropped 11 of their last 12 with the lone win coming in an 84-59 rout of Oregon State on Feb. 3. Utah is searching for its first true road win of the season (0-8). Utah averages 70.3 points while shooting 42 percent from the field. The Utes are sixth in the nation in free throw shooting at 79.6 percent. Defensively, Utah allows 69.8 points while opponents shoot 43 percent from the field.

Branden Carlson leads Utah at 13.2 points per game while shooting 53 percent from the field and 86 percent from the free throw line. Both Gach is second on the team at 9.7 points per game, primarily coming off the bench. Marco Anthony is Utah’s top rebounder at 7.5 per game while averaging 8.7 points an outing. Rollie Worster paces Utah in assists (80) while averaging 7.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 56th meeting between Colorado and Utah with the Buffaloes holding a 30-25 edge. The teams split last season’s series, with the road team taking both contests. Utah gave the Buffaloes their only home loss in 2020-21, a 77-74 decision on Jan. 30. Colorado is 20-7 all-time against Utah in Boulder.

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February 10th

… CU in the Arena … 

Evan Battey named a finalist for Senior CLASS Award

You can vote for Evan Battey here … (currently third in the balloting) …

From CUBuffs.com … The University of Colorado’s Evan Battey has been named a finalist for the 2021-22 Senior CLASS Award, the organization announced on Thursday.

Battey is one of 20 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball student-athletes, who excel both on and off the court, that were honored.

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Battey, a 6-8 forward from Los Angeles, is Colorado’s active leader in scoring and rebounding. He is averaging 11.3 points and 4.5 rebounds while ranking among the Pac-12 Conference leaders in field goal shooting at 51 percent.

Battey was one of two inaugural recipients of the Colorado Athletics Visibility Award (CAVA), a scholarship program with the purpose of creating a community of collegiate scholar-athletes who have a desire to use their platform, power and visibility in their role as athletes to advance LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport.

Battey has represented Colorado well outside the campus as well. He was one of two student-athlete representatives to serve on the Pac-12’s Mental Health Task Force. In addition, he served on the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Player Development Coalition, which comprised of 11 players nationally that met quarterly to provide feedback to the NABC regarding issues faced by college basketball players.

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February 9th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs try to ignore negative social media: “It hasn’t been real positive for our guys”

From the Daily Camera … Colorado men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle is famously adverse to all things social media.

Boyle nonetheless brought up some of the social media noise his team attempted to block out late last week, as an ugly three-game losing streak pushed the Buffaloes’ NCAA Tournament hopes to the brink while compounding the frustration of a sudden rash of key injuries.

Boyle said his team took note of the social media beatdown endured by the CU football team during its struggles last fall. After the Buffs ended that losing streak with a win against Oregon State on Saturday, he said blocking out the noise was a challenge his team talked about prior to the 86-63 win.

“Trying to find that balance between a challenge and trying to make them understand they’re not as bad as they think they are, or maybe the world thinks they are,” Boyle said. “Social media, I’m not on it, but from everything I’ve gleaned, it hasn’t been real positive for our guys. Our football team went through that this year. We talked about it in the fall, like let’s not let us get into that same mindset where we’re letting it affect us. And I don’t know if it affected the football team or not, I just know they were getting beat up like crazy and we were too.

“You either have to shut it out or you have to accept the responsibility and the challenge that comes from playing at this level.”

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February 7th

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs to use week with only one game to regroup for final push

From the Daily Camera … It is a story Tad Boyle has recounted a few times in the past 11 or so months. Yet at no point did it it seem as relevant as the past few days.

Not long after the 2020-21 season ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, with the exodus of program mainstays like McKinley Wright IV, D’Shawn Schwartz and Dallas Walton approaching, Boyle met with the players slated to return in 2021-22.

It wasn’t a large gathering. Current seniors Evan Battey and Elijah Parquet suddenly were the elder statesmen. Surrounding them was a cast of extremely talented young players with little experience — Keeshawn Barthelemy, Jabari Walker, Tristan da Silva, Nique Clifford and Luke O’Brien.

Boyle understood the following season — this season — wouldn’t arrive with NCAA Tournament expectations. So CU’s leader offered a challenge disguised as an offer. Did they want to resign themselves to a rebuilding season? Or did they want to maintain and uphold the program’s competitive standards set by their predecessors?

The answer, overwhelmingly, was the latter. This past week, Boyle reminded his club of that meeting on the heels of a three-game losing streak that elicited adjectives like “pathetic” and “embarrassed” during Boyle’s postgame media sessions. It wasn’t the results that were as bothersome as how they went down, mistake-prone affairs filled with turnovers, poor shot selection, and a glaring lack of energy.

The Buffs ended the losing streak, and reset the tone, with a thorough all-around victory on Saturday, albeit against a short-handed Oregon State squad suffering through a nightmare season. CU gets an opportunity to regroup ahead of its next game at home on Saturday against Utah (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

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February 5th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs snap three-game losing streak with a 86-63 rout of Oregon State 

Related … “CU Buffs men’s basketball gets back on track with rout of Oregon State” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com … A matchup with struggling Oregon State proved to be just the get-well tonic Colorado needed Saturday, as the Buffaloes rolled to an 86-63 win over the Beavers at the CU Events Center.

CU coach Tad Boyle returned to the bench and the Buffs ended a three-game overall losing streak and a three-game skid on their home court to improve to 14-9 overall and 6-7 in Pac-12 play. The Beavers — who beat the Buffs in the Pac-12 tourney title game last year and reached the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight   — lost their seventh in a row and fell to 3-17, 1-9.

Jabari Walker led four Buffs in double figures, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season. Keeshawn Barthelemy scored 16 (14 in the first half), Nique Clifford added 15 and Tristan da Silva had 10 points, six rebounds and five assists. Luke O’Brien chipped in seven points and a career-high eight rebounds.

Glenn Taylor Jr. led the Beavers with 15 points.

The Buffs were red-hot from the beginning, hitting their first nine 3-point tries en route to 11 treys in the first half, paving the way for a 49-27 halftime lead. CU then built the cushion to as much as 35 in the second half to coast to the win, finishing 14-for-25 from 3-point range and 32-for-56 overall from the floor.

The Buffs finished with 19 assists and registered a commanding 40-23 edge on the boards.

“This team needed this,” said Boyle, who missed Thursday’s loss to Oregon because of Covid-19 protocols. “We needed it emotionally and we needed it mentally. We caught a wounded duck at home and it’s what we needed.”

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Buffs lose Eli Parquet for the season as Oregon State comes to town 

From the Daily Camera … And then there were eight.

The war of attrition that has marred the Colorado men’s basketball roster the past two weeks took another hit on Friday. While head coach Tad Boyle returned to practice following his one-game COVID layoff, CU’s leader announced that senior guard Elijah Parquet will not play for the remainder of the season.

It is the second announcement of a season-ending injury in the past two weeks, as freshman center Lawson Lovering suffered a season-ending knee injury early last week. Parquet has missed four of the previous six games, culminating in Thursday’s home loss against Oregon, due to nagging foot pain. Now he will miss the remaining nine games, minimum, in the 2021-22 season.

Among the 12 scholarship players the Buffs welcomed to campus last fall, only eight remain on the active roster, with Lovering and Parquet joining freshmen Quincy Allen and Javon Ruffin on the sideline. Allen (hip) and Ruffin (knee) are taking redshirt seasons due to their injuries.

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Game Notes … 

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 13-9 overall and 5-7 in the Pac-12 Conference after dropping a 66-51 decision to Oregon on Feb. 3 at the CU Events Center.

The Buffaloes have dropped three-straight, five of six and six of their last eight. Three of those losses have been to ranked teams and five of Colorado’s nine overall losses have been to Top 25 opponents. The three-game skid is Colorado’s first since the end of the 2019-20 season when the Buffaloes dropped five in a row leading into the season shutdown due to the pandemic.

Despite the recent slide, Colorado has won 36 of 54 (36-18) dating back to the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

ABOUT THE BEAVERS: Oregon State is 3-16 overall and in last place in the Pac-12 at 1-8. The Beavers have lost their last six including an 84-59 setback at Utah on Feb. 3. Oregon State is averaging  68.1 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the floor. The Beavers rank last in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (75.0 ppg) and field goal defense (.460).

Jarod Lucas leads Oregon State at 13.7 points per game and has a team-best 48 3-point field goals. He tops the Pac-12 in free throw shooting (.857) and ranks 10th in 3-point percentage (.400). Warith Alatishe averages 10.4 points and leads the Beavers in rebounding at 6.3 per contest. Dashawn Davis averages 9.2 points and leads the Pac-12 in assists at 5.2 per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 29th meeting between Colorado and Oregon State with the Buffaloes holding an 18-10 advantage. Colorado won two of three meetings last year, but the Beavers got the big one, a 70-68 decision in the 2021 Pac-12 Championship game in Las Vegas. Colorado is 10-3 against OSU in Boulder. Two of the Beavers’ three wins have come in the last three seasons.

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February 4th

… CU in the Arena … 

Oregon picks up first-ever win in Boulder as struggling Buffs fall to Ducks, 66-51

Related … “Buffs play without Tad Boyle, Elijah Parquet” … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.com …  Colorado couldn’t contain the turnover bug Thursday and the Buffaloes watched Oregon break open a tight game in the second half to take a 66-51 win at the CU Events Center.

CU’s third straight loss dropped the Buffs to 13-9 overall and 5-7 in Pac-12 play. The Ducks recorded their first win ever in Boulder after 10 straight defeats to improve to 14-7, 7-3.

The Buffs, who won at Oregon just nine days previously, received 16 points from Keeshawn Barthelemy, all in the first half. CU’s Jabari Walker recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds and Evan Battey had 10 points for the Buffs.

Jacob Young led Oregon with 21 points.

The Buffs had a solid first half and were down by just one, 36-35, at intermission. But they committed 13 of their 20 turnovers in the second half, leading to 19 points for the Ducks as Oregon outscored Colorado 30-16 in the final 20 minutes.

It was the Buffs’ fifth straight game with at least 16 turnovers. CU shot just 39 percent (19-for-49), including a 6-for-22 effort in the second half, meaning the Buffs had twice as many turnovers as baskets in the final 20 minutes.

Oregon connected on 42 percent of its field goal tries, but hit 13 of 28 attempts after halftime.

Colorado coach Tad Boyle, who tested positive Covid-19 earlier in the week, missed the game. Associate head coach Mike Rohn served as acting head coach.

“I didn’t do a very good job in the second half,” Rohn said. “We knew turnovers were going to be important in this game and I think we just got sped up a little when we got down in the second half. You can’t turn the ball over against a good team like Oregon. That was basically the whole game.”

In CU’s 82-78 win in Eugene last week, the Buffs had 17 turnovers but shot 50 percent from the floor, including 8-for-15 from 3-point range. Thursday, CU hit just 5-of-19 from long range.

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February 3rd – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs look to regain edge by sweeping Ducks (8:00 p.m., FS1): “We need better starts”

From the Daily Camera … Even with plenty of college eligibility remaining, Keeshawn Barthelemy nonetheless has played basketball long enough to know facing adversity is a matter of when, not if.

For Barthelemy and the rest of the Colorado Buffaloes, adversity has struck in repeated waves over the past week. Yet before last week’s promising road trip unraveled dramatically, the Buffs put together one of their top all-around games of the season in an impressive road win at Oregon.

That performance feels like an eternity ago, given the sudden manpower issues that marked the ugly defeats at Washington and Washington State that followed. In reality, the Buffs will only be nine days removed from that comeback win in Eugene, and although CU will play without head coach Tad Boyle for the first time in his 12-season tenure, the Buffs are hoping to regain a little momentum in the rematch against a Ducks team that typically struggles in Boulder.

“To be honest, I knew coming into the season adversity was going to hit eventually. Somehow, some way,” said Barthelemy, CU’s redshirt sophomore point guard. “And here we are staring at the line, and the line is staring us in the face. I don’t think we should rely on our resiliency as much. We need to come out from the get-go and pounce on teams and do our thing again. We need better starts.”

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Game Notes

ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 13-8 overall and 5-6 in the Pac-12 Conference after going 1-2 during a three-game road trip to the Pacific Northwest last week. The Buffaloes started off the week with a thrilling come from behind win at Oregon, 82-78, on Jan. 25. Colorado couldn’t keep the momentum however falling in back-to-back games at Washington, 60-58, on Jan. 27, and at Washington State, 70-43, on Jan. 30.

The Buffaloes have dropped four of five and five of their last seven. Three of those losses have been to ranked teams and five of Colorado’s eight overall losses have been to Top 25 opponents. Despite the recent slide, Colorado has won 36 of 53 (36-17) dating back to the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

The Buffaloes have fared well in tight contests. Thirteen of Colorado’s  games have been within six points – or two possessions – with four minutes or less remaining in the game. The Buffaloes are 9-4 in those contests.

Colorado is averaging 69.0 points per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the field. The Buffaloes registered season-lows in points (43) and shooting percentage (.286) at Washington State.

After struggling from 3-point range early in the season, Colorado has made 45 of 112 over the last five games (.402). Colorado shot a season-best 53.3 percent from the 3-point line (8-15) at Oregon and best in a road game since hitting 54.2 percent at UCLA (13-24) on Feb. 6, 2019.

Defensively, the Buffaloes have allowed 66.5 points per game. Colorado has held its opponents under 70 points in eight of its last 13 games, including a Pac-12 season-low 57 to Arizona State on Jan. 15. The Buffaloes are the second-best rebounding defense team (32.4 rpg) in the Pac-12 and rank fifth in rebound margin (+4.7).

ABOUT THE DUCKS: Oregon is 13-7 overall and 6-3 in the Pac-12. The Ducks have won seven of their last eight, with the lone loss coming to Colorado on Jan. 25. Oregon averages 73.9 points while shooting 47.3 percent, the second-best mark in the Pac-12. Defensively, the Ducks allow 67.3 points while opponents shoot 42.8 percent.

Senior guard Will Richardson leads Oregon at 14.9 points and 3.4 assists per game. Richardson has a team-best 44 3-point field goals and shoots 46 percent from beyond the arc. Jacob Young ranks second on the team in scoring (11.4 ppg) and ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in steals (32). Guard De’Vion Harmon is third on the team in scoring at 10.7 points per game. N’Faly Dante averages 8.4 points and 5.7 rebounds while leading the Pac-12 in shooting at 71.9 percent.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 25th meeting between Colorado and Oregon with the Buffaloes holding a 14-10 series lead. Colorado snapped a 13-game regular season win streak by the home team in this series with its 82-78 triumph on Jan. 25. The Buffaloes are a perfect 10-0 all-time against Oregon in Boulder.

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February 1st

… CU in the Arena … 

Tad Boyle to miss the Oregon game after positive COVID test

From CUBuffs.com … The University of Colorado athletic department announced on Tuesday that men’s basketball Head Coach Tad Boyle has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Thursday’s game against Oregon.

Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Boyle is isolating and is not attending practices. Associate Head Coach Mike Rohn is serving as acting head coach in Boyle’s absence. Boyle’s status for Saturday’s game against Oregon State will be determined later this week.

The entire men’s basketball team and coaching staff are fully vaccinated and boosted.

“While I’m disappointed I can’t be on the court with our team, I have full confidence in our coaching staff and know that Coach Rohn will have our team ready to play on Thursday,” Boyle said. “We’re all doing everything we can to navigate the impacts of COVID-19, and I’m grateful for the expertise and care of our medical staff in ensuring we take the proper steps to keep our student-athletes and staff safe.”

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