Colorado Basketball – December, 2022

December 31st 

… CU in the Arena … 

CU falls to hapless Cal, 80-76 – Boyle: “Let’s just talk about one of the most pathetic defensive performances in Colorado basketball history”

From … Colorado fell behind early and saw a late rally come up just short Saturday as the Buffaloes dropped an 80-76 decision to Cal at Haas Pavilion.

The loss ended the Buffs’ five-game win streak and CU fell to 9-6 overall and 1-3 in Pac-12 play. Cal won for just the second time this season to improve to 2-13, 1-3.

Colorado gave up a 12-0 run early and trailed by 12 at intermission, 39-27. The Buffs then fell behind by as much as 21 in the second half before a furious rally cut the Bears’ lead to just three, 79-76, in the final seconds.

Cal, though, clinched the win with a free throw with six seconds to play and a last-second 3-pointer by the Buffs missed its mark.

The Buffs were dominated on both ends for most of the night by a Cal team that scored just 43 points two nights previously in a loss to Utah. CU allowed the Bears to shoot 58 percent from the floor (29-for-50) and Cal also had a dominating 36-23 edge on the boards.

CU shot 45 percent from the floor (30-for-66), but that number was inflated by the Buffs’ late hot streak. Colorado went on a 20-6 run in the final 2:06, with KJ Simpson scoring 16 points in the surge, before the Bears finally put the game away.

Simpson led the Buffs with 25 points and J’Vonne Hadley added 17.

Joel Brown led five Bears in double figures with 21 points while freshman Grant Newell had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

The loss to the Bears — who opened the season with 12 losses before finally beating UT Arlington — is a particularly damaging one. Not only did it end CU’s win streak, it also ruined Colorado’s chances to pull to .500 in Pac-12 play as the Buffs squandered an opportunity for a valuable road win.

“Let’s just talk about one of the most pathetic defensive performances in Colorado basketball history,” an obviously irate CU coach Tad Boyle said. “I’ve only been part of it now for 12 and a half years but I can’t think of a more disappointing defensive performance than what I saw tonight. It didn’t matter what we did or what we ran, we couldn’t couldn’t stop them.”

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December 30th

… CU in the Arena … 

K.J. Simpson’s career-high 31 points fuels CU’ 73-70 comeback road win over Stanford

RelatedKJ Simpson rallies CU Buffs men’s basketball past Stanford … from the Daily Camera

From CUBuffs.comKJ Simpson scored Colorado’s last 11 points of the game Thursday night, including the go-ahead bucket and two free throws in the final 18 seconds, to lift CU to a 73-70 road win over Stanford at Maples Pavilion.

Simpson finished with a career-high 31 points as Tad Boyle‘s Buffs improved to 9-5 overall and 1-2 in Pac-12 play with their fifth straight win. Stanford fell to 5-8, 0-3.

The Buffs trailed by four at the half and by as much as eight early in the second period. They closed the gap to one at multiple junctures after intermission but couldn’t get over the hump until Simpson hit two free throws with just more than two minutes remaining to give CU a 69-68 lead.

Stanford then momentarily regained the lead but the Buffs came up with a big defensive stop in the final minute. Simpson then delivered a drive along the baseline to give Colorado a 71-70 lead with 17 seconds left.

CU’s Luke O’Brien followed with another key defensive stop, Simpson rebounded and was fouled and he calmly hit two free throws with 3 seconds remaining to provide the game’s final points.

Joining Simpson in double figures for the Buffs were O’Brien with a career-high 12 and Lawson Lovering with a career-high 10. Simpson also led CU in rebounds with seven, O’Brien nabbed six and Lovering grabbed five.

Spencer Jones led Stanford with 25 points.

After a less-than-stellar first half effort, the Buffs kept themselves in the game after intermission with rebounding and defense. The Buffs outrebounded Stanford 23-15 in the final 20 minutes and held Stanford to just 30 percent shooting in the second half after the Cardinal had hit 52 percent of its shots in the opening half.

“We really got on them at halftime and challenged them,” Boyle said. “Boy did they respond. Our defense in the second half really cranked up.”

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December 29th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs (0-2 in Pac-12 play) face must-win scenario on the road against 5-7 Stanford

Related … “Pac-12 play resumes for Colorado men’s basketball with key Bay Area trip” … from the Daily Camera

From … Colorado is 8-5 overall and riding a season-best four-game winning streak. The Buffaloes defeated Southern Utah 86-78 on Dec. 21 to end the nonconference portion of their schedule at 8-3. The victory over the Thunderbirds gave head coach Tad Boyle his 262nd win at Colorado, breaking a tie with Sox Walseth for the program’s all-time mark.

The Buffaloes began their 20-game Pac-12 Conference schedule four weeks ago, dropping consecutive games to Arizona State at home, 60-59 on Dec. 1, and at Washington, 73-63 on Dec. 4, to open 0-2 in league action for the first time in four years.

During the current four-game winning streak – all at home – the Buffaloes are averaging 87.8 points per game while shooting 52.7 percent from the field (135-256). Colorado had a season-low seven turnovers against Southern Utah and is averaging just 9.0 turnovers over the last four games while being plus-44 overall on the boards (+11.0 pg).

ABOUT THE CARDINAL: Stanford is 5-7 overall and 0-2 in the Pac-12. The Cardinal have won two of their last three with the only loss coming against then-ranked No. 7 ranked Texas, 72-62, on a neutral court. Stanford averages 68.2 points while shooting 43.8 percent from the field. Defensively, the Cardinal allow 63.8 points on 42.6 shooting. Stanford sports the third-best scoring defense, 3-point defense (.306) and rebound defense (31.3 rpg) in the Pac-12.

Senior forward Spencer Jones leads the Cardinal at 10.8 points and 1.4 blocks per game. Graduate senior Michael Jones averages 10.5 points and 1.0 steal per game. Sophomore forward Harrison Ingram tops Stanford in assists (36) while averaging 9.8 points and 4.7 rebounds. Senior forward James Keefe leads the Cardinal in rebounding at 5.3 per game while averaging 6.5 points on 69.8 percent from the floor.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 29th meeting between Colorado and Stanford with the Buffaloes holding a 17-11 series edge. The Buffaloes have won four-straight and 14 of the last 16 over the Cardinal. The series is tied 6-6 in Stanford with the Buffaloes winning the last two.

BOYLE MILESTONE: Head coach Tad Boyle, in his 13th season, has 262 wins at Colorado the most in program history.

Boyle-led teams own nine of the 13 20-win seasons in team history, the top five single-season win totals and six of the top seven. With a record of 261-160 at CU, his 62.1 winning percentage is second all-time just behind Forrest “Frosty” Cox at 62.3 from 1936-50.

Boyle has 110 Pac-12 regular season wins, tying California’s Ben Braun (1997-08) for 19th in conference history.

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December 21st – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Tad Boyle becomes CU all-time leading winning coach with CU’s 86-78 win over Southern Utah

From CUBuffs.comTad Boyle stepped into history Wednesday.

Colorado put four players in double figures and the Buffaloes knocked off Southern Utah 86-78 to make Boyle the winningest coach in CU men’s basketball history.

The win was No. 262 for Boyle in his 13 years in Boulder, surpassing the 261 of legendary Buffs coach Sox Walseth, whose name graces the court at the CU Events Center.

CU improved to 8-5 with the win while the Thunderbirds fell to 8-5.

KJ Simpson led CU with 21 points while Tristan da Silva added 20.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado had to work for the win. The Buffs led by as much as 12 late in the first half, but had just a four-point cushion at the half, 38-34.

The Thunderbirds then erased CU’s edge after halftime, taking a 44-42 lead less than four minutes in. The two teams then traded the lead several times over the next four minutes, with SUU taking a 57-55 edge with 11 minutes to play.

But the Buffs finally took control for good with a 13-0 run. Tristan da Silva had seven points in the burst, including a 3-pointer, Nique Clifford added four and a Javon Ruffin bucket inside with 6:07 to play gave CU a 73-59 edge.

Colorado then kept the Thunderbirds at bay down the stretch. SUU managed to close the gap to single digits in the final minute but the Buffs made seven key free throws to hold on for the win and put Boyle atop CU’s record book.

The Thunderbirds were clearly not intimidated by the Pac-12 Buffs. Colorado trailed by seven early after the SUU buried four 3-pointers in the first seven minutes.

But the Buffs used an 11-0 run to take control. Nique Clifford had five points in the surge, Jalen Gabbidon drained a long 3-pointer and a Julian Hammond III layup gave Colorado a 20-16 lead with just more than 11 minutes to go in the half.

Colorado then slowly built its lead into double digits with a pair of 8-0 runs. Tristan da Silva had four in the first to help CU to a 30-21 lead before Clifford had four points in the second run to give Colorado a 38-26 cushion with 3:05 to play.

But the Thunderbirds refused to let the game get out of reach. SUU hit two 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the half while Colorado went scoreless and CU took a 38-34 edge into intermission.

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Tad Boyle goes for all-time wins record tonight v. Southern Utah (5:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)

From …  Head coach Tad Boyle, in his 13th season, has 261 wins at Colorado, tied with Russell “Sox” Walseth for the most in program history.

Boyle-led teams own nine of the 13 20-win seasons in team history, the top five single-season win totals and six of the top seven. With a record of 261-160 at CU, his 62.0 winning percentage is second all-time just behind Forrest “Frosty” Cox at 62.3 from 1936-50.

Boyle has 110 Pac-12 regular season wins, tying California’s Ben Braun (1997-08) for 19th in conference history.

CELEBRATING SOX: As the baton is passed to Tad Boyle as the winningest coach in Colorado men’s basketball history – whether it be on Wednesday or in the near future – a look at Sox Walseth’s historic  career.

Walseth was likely the first and one of just a few to have coached both the men’s and women’s program at the same NCAA school.

His time at CU spanned 38 years, starting as an athlete in the 1940s when he lettered in both basketball and baseball.  He then worked as the head freshman coach for five years (three under his coach, Frosty Cox, and two under H.B. Lee); after two years as head coach at South Dakota State, he replaced Lee for the 1956-57 season and would proceed to coach 20 Buffalo teams.

Posting a 261-245 record, the Buffs won three Big Eight titles and advanced to  three NCAA Tournaments under his direction, in 1961-62, 1962-63 and 1968-69.  He was the Big Eight Conference coach of the year on five occasions, and his star players included Ken Charlton, Jim Davis, Cliff Meely and Scott Wedman.

He then coached the women’s team between 1980-83, then known as the “Lady Buffs,” compiling an impressive 77-21 record.  That mark included an incredible 43-0 record at home, and once again, he earned coach of the year accolades.  The basketball floor at the CU Events Center is named after him.

Walseth, who passed away on Jan. 28, 2004, at the age of 77, is a member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and the CU Athletic Hall of Fame.

ABOUT THE THUNDERBIRDS: Southern Utah is 8-4 overall and has won four straight and five of six. The Thunderbirds are coming off a 106-101 overtime thriller against Northern Arizona on Dec. 17. That game marked the fourth time SUU has broken 100 points this season for a squad that ranks second in the nation in scoring at 91.0 points per game. Southern Utah also ranks seventh nationally in free throws made at 19 per game and shoots 73.3 percent from the line. Defensively, Southern Utah allows 71.8 points while opponents shoot 42.5 percent. The Thunderbirds rank eighth in the nation in steals at 10.8 per game.

Senior guard Tevian Jones leads Southern Utah at 20.3 points per game and paces the squad in field goals (70), 3-pointers (28) and free throws (55) made. Senior guard Harrison Butler averages 13.5 points and leads the Thunderbirds in rebounding at 6.6 per game.  Sophomore center Jason Spurgin averages 10.0 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting 61 percent from the field.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the second meeting between Colorado and Southern Utah. The Thunderbirds claimed the only previous meeting with an 82-80 overtime decision on Jan. 16, 1996, in Boulder.



December 17th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs take out Northern Colorado as Tad Boyle ties Sox Walseth on all-time wins list

From … Colorado pulled away from Northern Colorado down the stretch Sunday and head coach Tad Boyle tied the CU men’s basketball all-time win record as the Buffaloes collected an 88-77 win at the CU Events Center.

The victory gave Boyle his 261st victory as CU’s head coach, moving him into a tie with legendary Russell “Sox” Walseth. Boyle can break the record Wednesday when CU plays host to Southern Utah (5 p.m.).

The victory, Colorado’s third in a row, pushed the Buffs to 7-5 overall while UNC fell to 5-6.

Tristan da Silva led four Buffs in double figures, finishing with a career-high 26 points. KJ Simpson added 18 for Colorado, Javon Ruffin scored 12 and Julian Hammond III chipped in 11. J’Vonne Hadley had nine points and nine rebounds for Colorado.

Dalton Knecht led UNC with 24 points.

HOW IT HAPPENED: After the game produced 10 lead changes in the first 13 minutes, Colorado pulled away in the final minutes of the first half. CU led by 10 late in the period and still had a seven-point edge at intermission, 46-39.

But the Buffs couldn’t create any real separation early in the second half. With just more than 10 minutes to play, the Buffs’ lead had been cut to five, 58-53, after the Bears converted a turnover into a dunk.

But Colorado finally pushed its lead back into double digits with an 8-0 run. Tristan da Silva connected inside, J’Vonne Hadley hit a free throw, Julian Hammond III drove the lane and Javon Ruffin drilled a long 3-pointer to give CU a 66-53 edge at the 8:21 mark.

Defensively, the Buffs finally put together consecutive stops to help fuel the run. Colorado forced five consecutive empty UNC possessions and the Bears finally called a timeout.

The break didn’t slow the Buffs down. Colorado slowly continued to build on its margin down the stretch and stretched its lead to as much as 19 over the final five minutes.

The Bears did have one more rally in their pocket, pulling to within single digits with just more than a minute to play. But the Buffs held UNC off to collect the win, with da Silva hitting four free throws down the stretch.

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Tad Boyle looks to tie all-time wins record with a win over Northern Colorado (Sunday, 3:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)

From CUBuffscom … Head coach Tad Boyle, in his 13th season, has 260 wins at Colorado, one behind Sox Walseth for the most in program history. Walseth was 261-245 in 20 seasons (1956-76).

Boyle-led teams own nine of the 13 20-win seasons in team history, the top five single-season win totals and six of the top seven. With a record of 260-160 at CU, his 61.9 winning percentage is second all-time just behind Forrest “Frosty” Cox at 62.3 from 1936-50.

Boyle has 110 Pac-12 regular season wins, tying California’s Ben Braun (1997-08) for 19th in conference history.

THE SEASON: Colorado is 6-5 overall after defeating North Alabama 84-60 on Dec. 15, its second of a four-game home stand to finish off nonconference play. The Buffaloes have won back-to-back games for the first time this season and the first time in a span of 13 games dating back to last season.

After a four-game scoring slump, where the Buffaloes averaged 60.5 points per game, the offense has rebounded to score 93 and 84 in back-to-back outings. Colorado has shot 54 percent from the field (69-128) over the last two games. The Buffaloes have won 34 straight home games when scoring at least 80 points.

ABOUT THE BEARS: Northern Colorado is 5-5 overall. The Bears will be playing their sixth-straight game away from home and so far, so good during that stretch having won four of five including an 88-83 win at Colorado State on Dec. 3. UNC averages 71.4 points while shooting 42.8 percent from the field. The Bears have been exceptional at the free throw line, hitting 79.1 percent which ranks 10th in the nation. Defensively, UNC has allowed opponents 80.1 points on 47.6 percent shooting.

Most of Northern Colorado’s production has come from a trio of Denver Metro area natives. Graduate senior Daylen Kountz averages 17.4 points and 3.6 assists and shoots 83 percent from the free throw line. A Denver East graduate, Kountz played two years for Colorado (2018-20), averaging 4.3 points over 68 career games.

Senior guard Dalton Knecht, a native of Thornton, averages 17.3 points and a team-best 8.4 rebounds per game. Graduate senior Matt Johnson II, from Aurora, averages 13.7 points and paces the Bears in assists (43) and 3-pointers made (28).

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 41st meeting between Colorado and Northern Colorado in a series that dates back to a 35-20 Buffaloes win on Jan. 25, 1918. Colorado holds a 22-18 edge in the series and has won the last 10. All 18 of UNC’s wins in the series came in the 1920s and 1930s when the schools were rivals in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Buffaloes won three-straight during the 1936-37 and 1937-38 seasons as Colorado was transitioning over to the Mountain States Conference and putting the series on a 41-year hiatus. The series resumed for one game – a 78-56 CU win on Dec. 16, 1978 – before another 25-year pause.  The two teams have met six times since 2004, the last coming two years ago, a 81-45 Colorado win on Dec. 14, 2020.

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December 15th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Behind Tristan da Silva’s 25 points, Buffs take care of business against North Alabama, 84-60

From … Colorado’s Tristan da Silva posted 25 points and nine rebounds Thursday night — both career highs — to lead the Buffaloes to an 84-60 win over North Alabama at the CU Events Center.

The victory gave Tad Boyle‘s Buffs their first back-to-back wins of the season as they improved to 6-5. The Lions had a two-game win streak come to an end to fall to 6-5.

Boyle also collected his 260th victory as Colorado’s head coach, leaving him just one behind Sox Walseth’s program record 261. Boyle can tie the record Sunday when the Buffs host Northern Colorado, the school where Boyle got his head coaching start.

Three other Buffs joined da Silva in double-figure scoring. KJ Simpson finished with 12 points and Luke O’Brien and J’Vonne Hadley each finished with 11. O’Brien also had six rebounds while Simpson tied his career best with six assists and just one turnover.

KJ Johnson led the Lions with 16.

The Buffs held UNA to a season-low 39 percent shooting (21-for-54) and the Lions’ 60 points were also a season low.

CU shot 51 percent (31-for-61) and held a commanding edge in rebounding (42-32), points in the paint (46-32) and fast break points (15-2). One of the few downsides for Colorado was the free throw line. CU has struggled at the stripe most of this season and Thursday was no different, as the Buffs hit just 17 of their 27 tries.

“It was a workmanlike effort,” Boyle said. “Coming out of finals you never know what you’re gonna get from your team emotionally and how sharp they’re going to be. Not often do you win by 24 and feel like your team could have played better, but that’s how I feel about tonight’s game.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: After six lead changes in the first six minutes, the Buffs finally took the lead for good, using a 6-0 run to turn a one-point deficit into an 18-13 lead.

The Lions managed to briefly shave Colorado’s lead down to two but the Buffs responded with a 12-0 run to take firm control. Tristan da Silva and J’Vonne Hadley both had a pair of buckets in the surge and Colorado led, 30-16, with just more than six minutes to play in the half.

The Lions never cut CU’s deficit to single digits again the rest of the night.

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Buffs taking on 6-4 North Alabama (6:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks) 

From … Colorado is 5-5 overall after defeating Colorado State 93-65 on Dec. 8 to begin a four-game home stand to finish off nonconference play. The Buffaloes began their Pac-12 Conference schedule, dropping consecutive games to Arizona State at home, 60-59 on Dec. 1, and at Washington, 73-63 on Dec. 4, to open 0-2 in league action for the first time in four years.

Colorado is averaging 73.5 points per game while shooting 44.0 percent from the field. The Buffaloes broke out of a four-game sub-70 point slump (60.5 ppg) with their 93-point effort against Colorado State. Colorado leads the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds at 12.5 per game and is fourth on the league charts in overall rebounding at 39.6 an outing and fifth in assists at 14.1 per game. Defensively, the Buffaloes have held their opponents to 68.4 points on 41.4 percent shooting. Colorado is tied for the Pac-12 lead in steals at 8.4 per game.

Sophomore KJ Simpson leads Colorado at 17.3 points, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He also tops the Buffaloes in field goals (62), 3-pointers (23) and free throws made (26).

Simpson had 27 points, including a career-high five 3-pointers, to lead Colorado over Colorado State. It was his third career 20-point game – all coming this season. His five 3-pointers ties a team season-high as well (Ethan Wright vs. Texas A&M).

Simpson paced the Buffaloes at the Myrtle Beach Invitational at 19.0 points per game with a team-best total of 19 rebounds (6.3 rpg). He logged career highs in points (30), field goals made (11) and steals (6) against Texas A&M. It was the first 30-point game for the Buffaloes since McKinley Wright IV had 30 against South Dakota State on Dec. 15, 2017. His six steals are the most by a Buff since Tyler Bey had six against UC Irvine, exactly three years ago on Nov. 18, 2019. The six steals set a Myrtle Beach Invitational single-game record.

ABOUT THE LIONS: North Alabama is 6-4 overall and has won its last two. The Lions will be playing their seventh game away from home in the last eight contests. UNA averages 78.7 points while shooting 48.7 percent from the field. Defensively, the Lions allow 73.1 points while opponents shoot 45 percent.

Sophomore guard Daniel Ortiz leads North Alabama at 13.7 points per game hitting 45 percent from the field. He’s even better beyond the arc, hitting 46.8 percent (29-62) a mark that ranks 21st in the nation. Junior forward Damian Forrest, a native of Fort Collins, Colo., leads the Lions in rebounding (6.7 rpg) while averaging 10.7 points on 55.4 percent from the floor. Junior guard KJ Johnson averages 10.0 points and 3.1 assists per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the first meeting between Colorado and North Alabama. Colorado is 9-1 against teams that currently make up the ASUN Conference. The last meeting against an ASUN team was an 84-75 CU win over Lipscomb on Nov. 30, 2014. Colorado is North Alabama’s first ever Pac-12 opponent.

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December 14th

… CU in the Arena … 

Despite proof that an assistant took bribes, Arizona basketball receives limited penalties (and none for Sean Miller)

… You read this, and you consider that there have been no consequences for Arizona State after the blatant disregard for recruiting rules under Herm Edwards, you just have to shake your head and laugh at all of the Coach Prime haters who feel CU will be “brought down” by Sanders’ attitude toward recruiting … 

From CBS Sports … Former Arizona coach Sean Miller, currently in his second stint as coach at Xavier, will not be levied any sanctions in the long-awaited IARP ruling, sources told CBS Sports. The Wildcats program was also spared any significant punishments, sources said.

Miller was previously assessed a Level I coach-control charge in the case, which was decided Wednesday by the Independent Resolution Panel (IRP), the governing body within the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP).

Arizona, which was previously handed a lack of institutional control Level I charge in a notice of allegations, self-imposed a postseason ban in 2020-21 as means of offsetting penalties in this case. That tactic paid off.

“The panel also applied significant weight to Arizona’s self-imposed penalties, especially the 2020-21 postseason competition ban for its men’s basketball program,” the IRP said in a statement.

Former Arizona assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson was given an 10-year show-cause penalty for accepting $60,000 in bribes, a source said. Richardson was caught in 2017 on surreptitious FBI video agreeing to steer prospects to aspiring agent Christian Dawkins’ sports-oriented business agency. Unbeknownst to Dawkins at the time, his venture was being funded by FBI money and undercover agents as part of a sting operation. The facts of this case reinforce what was previously exposed and ruled on in federal court in 2019.

After initially being arrested, along with nine other men charged in the case in September 2017, Richardson pleaded guilty to the charges in federal court in January 2019. He served three months in federal prison later that year. Miller maintained from the beginning that he did not know what Richardson was doing.

But, the NCAA previously wrote in its 2020 notice of allegations against Arizona: “The ultimate responsibility for the integrity of the men’s basketball program rested with Miller and his staff’s actions reflect on Miller as the head coach.”

In deciding to not suspend Miller for any games, the IRP opted to not follow through on the NCAA’s assertion. Richardson’s 10-year show-cause is the maximum length, shy of a lifetime ban.

Former Arizona assistant Mark Phelps received a two-year show-cause penalty, per a source, after arranging fraudulent transcripts for two former Arizona prospects, one of whom later enrolled with the school. The NCAA also previously asserted Phelps misled NCAA investigators, which aggravated his charges to Level I.

The fates of Arizona and Miller continue the IRP’s pattern of handing down light punishment in its cases, following the likes of NC State, Memphis and Louisville.

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December 8th – Game Day!

... CU in the Arena … 

Buffs take out frustrations in 93-65 domination of CSU – Boyle: “We showed tonight how good this team can be”

Related … “Native Colorado trio revels in rout of CSU Rams” ,,, from the Daily Camera

From … Colorado coach Tad Boyle wanted a 40-minute effort from his Buffaloes on Thursday against rival Colorado State.

They delivered with one of their best overall games of the season. CU exploded in the second half to bury CSU, 93-65, before an ecstatic CU Events Center crowd of 10,033 that included an appearance from new CU football coach Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders.

The Buffs improved to 5-5 with the win while CSU dropped to 6-4.

The first half featured seven lead changes and four ties before the Buffs used a late 10-2 run to take a 38-30 lead at intermission. Colorado then put the game away quickly in the second half, opening with a 15-6 surge and building its lead to as much as 29 in the final minutes.

CU sophomore guard KJ Simpson led the Buffs with 27 points — 18 in the second half — including a career-best 5-for-8 effort from long range. Tristan da Silva added 15 points, Nique Clifford chipped in 13 and Luke O’Brien tallied a career-high 10. J’Vonne Hadley just missed a double-double, finishing with nine points and nine rebounds.

Isaiah Stevens led CSU with 15 points.

Colorado dominated nearly every statistical category. CU shot 57 percent (38-for-67), including a blistering 64 percent in the second half. Colorado held the Rams to just 42 percent shooting and also commanded a 42-23 edge on the boards.

The Buffs finished with a 54-24 lead in points in the paint and produced 20 points off 13 CSU turnovers. CU’s dominance on the boards included 13 offensive rebounds, which the Buffs converted into 18 points.

“We showed tonight how good this team can be,” said Boyle, who won his 259th game at CU, two away from all-time leader Sox Walseth. “Our defensive intensity and energy level was off the charts.”

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Coach Prime in the house … 


A Blackout Planned for Rivalry Game v. CSU (7:00 p.m., MT, ESPN2) 

Related … “Rivalry battle against CSU Rams could provide festive atmosphere for CU Buffs men’s basketball” … from the Daily Camera

From … After playing just three home games in their first nine contests of the season, the Colorado Buffaloes will finally get more than a taste of their home floor over the next two weeks with four straight games at the CU Events Center.

The stretch tips off Thursday with a 7 p.m. home matchup with in-state rival Colorado State (ESPN2). The four contests will mark the final non-conference stretch of the year for Colorado.

Thursday’s game will be the first between Tad Boyle‘s 4-5 Buffs and the 6-3 Rams in three years. In an interesting quirk of the rivalry, there isn’t a single player on CU’s roster that has ever played against Colorado State.

But Boyle isn’t worried about his players getting “up” for the game. An expected crowd in the 9,000 to 10,000 range should provide ample juice for both teams.

What Boyle most wants to see is his team put together a full 40-minute game, something that has been rare this season. Colorado has lost its last two games — Arizona State at home and at Washington — and both featured roughly five-minute lulls that made the difference.

The home loss to ASU was particularly difficult for the Buffs to swallow. They led the Sun Devils for most of the game, but were outscored 15-3 in the final five minutes of a 60-59 loss. Against Washington, it was a five-minute stretch over the first and second halves that saw the Huskies outscore the Buffs 19-2 in a 73-63 loss.

The Buffs are, Boyle said, a team that has yet to establish an identity — and he would love that identity to become a defense-first mindset for the entirety of a game.

“You concentrate on what the heck you need to be good at,” Boyle said. “Arizona State, we played really good defense for 35 minutes … We played with that identity for 35 minutes at Washington. Thirty-five is better than 20, where we were a few weeks ago. Now we’ve got to get to 40.”

The Buffs have had other areas of inconsistency that have cost them games this year. The team that came within a hair two years ago of setting the NCAA record for free throw percentage is now shooting less than 65 percent from the stripe. Colorado is also averaging more than 15 turnovers per game.

Boyle has been having his players hit 100 free throws each at the end of every practice. He has also been stressing the importance of taking care of the ball and not giving opponents “free” possessions.

But with the Buffs less than a third of the way through the season, he is also stressing that there is plenty of basketball to be played.

“I think just letting our guys know that you’re never quite as bad as you think you are when you’re losing games,” Boyle said. “You’re never quite as good as you think you are when you’re winning games. So just understand that we have to respect the process and respect every possession. And that’s what a lot of college basketball players don’t do … Let’s win the possession that we’re in. I want our guys to focus on that and understand that. We’re not that far away.”

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December 4th – Game Day!

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs fall to 0-2 in Pac-12 play after 73-63 road loss to Washington 

From … Plagued by turnovers and a slow start out of the halftime locker room for the second-straight game, Colorado fell to Washington 73-63, Sunday afternoon at Alaska Airlines Arena.

The loss drops Colorado under .500 at 4-5 and 0-2 to begin Pac-12 Conference play for the first time in four years.

J’Vonne Hadley had 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting to lead the Buffaloes. KJ Simpson and Tristan da Silva each had 13.

Colorado turned the ball over 18 times, two fewer than in Thursday’s loss to Arizona State, which led to 25 Huskies’ points. Washington used a 17-8 run out of the halftime to build a 16-point lead.

Braxton Meah and Cole Bajema each scored 16 points to lead the Huskies who improved to 7-2, 1-1 in league play.

“Right now, we’re not playing smart enough,” Colorado head coach Tad Boyle said. “We’re not playing well enough offensively. When we get open shots, we got to be able to make open shots. But the 18 turnovers, you do that league play it’s going to be hard to win games.”

Washington’s second-half momentum began at the later stages of the first half. The Buffaloes held a lead for the good portion of the period, but the Huskies used a 15-4 run over the final 5:20 to take a seven-point lead, 33-26, at the break.

The Buffaloes opened the second half with turnovers on consecutive possessions and Bajema converted a four-point play to give Washington its first double-digit advantage at 37-26. The Huskies made seven of their first 10 shots of the second half and grew their lead to 50-34 on a Jamal Bey 3-pointer.

Washington’s offense did start to cool and Colorado found some success against the zone which allowed the Buffaloes to chip away at the Huskies’ lead. Luke O’Brien scored off an offensive rebound and Lawson Lovering had a three-point opportunity after a dunk and foul, but was called for a technical foul and the Huskies led 52-38 after Bajema sank a pair of free throws.

Da Silva started to find his spot inside Washington’ 2-3 zone and got the Buffaloes to within 10 with a pair of buckets in the paint. After forcing a shot clock violation, Jalen Gabbidon scored his first basket of the game as Simpson found him driving through the lane for a layup as the UW lead was cut to 54-46. Simpson then stole the ball and took it coast-to-coast, was fouled, converted the 3-point play as UW’s lead was just five at 54-49.

Colorado couldn’t quite complete the comeback, despite several opportunities to get even closer. Simpson got out in front after a stop and had a layup opportunity to trim Washington’s lead to three, but was blocked from behind by PJ Fuller which turned into a dunk by Meah on the other end as the Huskies went back up by seven at 56-49.

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CU in search of redemption against Washington

From … Colorado is 4-4 overall and 0-1 in the Pac-12 Conference after dropping its league opener with a heart-breaking 60-59 decision to Arizona State at the CU Events Center on Dec. 1.

The Buffaloes had a 15-point lead at halftime but a season-high 20 turnovers and cold shooting in the second half snapped Colorado’s five-year run of winning its conference home opener. Colorado scored just 21 points in the second half, shooting 29 percent from the field and 56 percent from the foul line in the final 20 minutes.

The loss snapped a 30-game home winning streak for the Buffaloes when holding their opponent to 60 points or less dating back to a 56-54 setback to Utah on Jan. 8, 2016.

Colorado followed a win with a loss for the fourth time this season. The Buffaloes haven’t put together back-to-back wins since the final game of the 2021-22 regular season (at Utah) and quarterfinal of the Pac-12 Tournament (Oregon) – a span of 10 contests.

Colorado is averaging 72.4 points per game, ranking fourth in the Pac-12. The Buffaloes are shooting 42 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3-point range. Colorado is allowing 68.3 points per game, ranking second-to-last in the Pac-12. Opponents are shooting just above 40 percent. Colorado is second in the Pac-12 in steals, recording nearly nine per contest.

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Game Notes … Colorado is 4-4 overall and 0-1 in the Pac-12 Conference after dropping its league opener with a heart-breaking 60-59 decision to Arizona State at the CU Events Center on Dec. 1st.

The Buffaloes had a 15-point lead at halftime but a season-high 20 turnovers and cold shooting in the second half snapped Colorado’s five-year run of winning its conference home opener. Colorado scored just 21 points in the second half, shooting 29 percent from the field and 56 percent from the foul line in the final 20 minutes.

The loss snapped a 30-game home winning streak for the Buffaloes when holding their opponent to 60 points or less dating back to a 56-54 setback to Utah on Jan. 8, 2016.

ABOUT THE HUSKIES: Washington is 6-2 overall and 0-1 in the Pac-12. Similar to Colorado, the Huskies were edged by one point in their opener, falling 66-65 at Oregon State. Washington’s defense has been strong, holding opponents to 64 points per game on 38.7 shooting. Only one opponent – Cal Baptist – has reached 70 points against Washington this season. The Huskies are third in the Pac-12 in scoring defense and 3-point defense (.259) and second in blocked shots (6.4 bpg). Offensively, Washington averages 69.8 points while shooting 44 percent from the field.

Senior forward Keion Brooks, Jr., leads Washington at 17.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, ranking in the top six in the Pac-12 in both categories. Freshman guard Keyon Menifield averages 9.9 points and has a team-best 12 3-point field goals, primarily off the bench. Junior center Franck Kepnang averages 9.0 points and 6.3 rebounds and ranks third in the Pac-12 at 1.9 blocks per game.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 34th meeting between Colorado and Washington with the Huskies holding an 19-14 advantage. The teams split their series last year with both winning at home. Washington has won 13 of 15 all-time meetings in Seattle, including the last six. Colorado’s last win at Alaska Airlines arena was a 64-47 decision on Mar. 5, 2015.


December 2nd 

… CU in the Arena … 

Buffs blow 15-point halftime lead, fall 60-59 on last second three-pointer – Boyle:”We let our fans down. I let them down. The players let them down”

From … Colorado let a 15-point halftime lead melt away in the second half Thursday and the Buffaloes dropped a 60-59 decision to Arizona State at the CU Events Center.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffs fell to 4-4 overall and 0-1 in Pac-12 play and have yet to win or lose two games in a row this season.

The Sun Devils improved to 7-1, 1-0.

Colorado led 38-23 at the half and still had a double-digit cushion with under eight minutes to play. But the Buffs went cold on the offensive end and committed some critical turnovers to allow ASU to forge its comeback.

CU still had a two-point lead with under a minute to play. But the Buffs committed a turnover on one possession, then missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw with 12 seconds remaining.

That was enough time for Desmond Cambridge to hit the game-winning 3-pointer for ASU with 2.9 seconds on the clock.

The Buffs finished the game with 20 turnovers — 12 in the second half. ASU was more than happy to convert those errors into 22 points, just enough to make up for the Sun Devils’ 5-for-26 night from 3-point range.

The Buffs dominated the boards, 37-24, and held ASU to 24-for-61 shooting. But CU shot just 38 percent for the game, including a dismal 29 percent in the second half. Colorado had just six field goals after intermission.

KJ Simpson led Colorado with 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting and Tristan da Silva added 10 points and a career-high eight rebounds.

ASU, which was missing two key players because of illness and a suspension, was led by Devan Cambridge’s 18 points.

The Buffs also hurt themselves at the free throw line, shooting 9-for-17 from the charity stripe. CU missed the front end of two one-and-one situations in the final three minutes, including one with 12 seconds remaining. Two made free throws would have given Colorado a four-point lead.

Instead, the front-end miss opened the door for ASU’s game winner.

“This one stings,” Boyle said. “This is easily one of the top five losses in the 13 years I’ve been at Colorado. We let our fans down. I let them down. The players let them down … We wilted to their pressure. As a coach that’s really hard to deal with. I have to do a better job.”

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December 1st – Game Day!

... CU in the Arena … 

Buffs open Pac-12 play with a home game against Arizona State (6:30 p.m., MT, FS1): “Their defensive numbers are crazy”

From … Ready or not, Tad Boyle‘s Colorado Buffaloes open conference play this week with their two “early” Pac-12 games.

Given the Buffs’ first seven games of the year, it is hard to say with any degree of certainty whether they are indeed ready. But the schedule isn’t going to wait.

The Buffs are set to play host to Arizona State on Thursday in a 6:30 p.m. game at the CU Events Center (FS1), followed by Sunday’s 1 p.m. contest at Washington (Pac-12 Network).

The only consistent thing about the 4-3 Buffs thus far has been their inconsistency. They have neither lost nor won two games in a row. They have beaten two ranked teams and have lost to three unranked foes. They have looked like a top 25 team in wins over Tennessee (the Vols’ only loss this season) and Texas A&M — but have inexplicably looked mediocre at best in losses to Grambling State, UMass and Boise State.

Even their last outing, a 65-62 win over Yale, had its head-scratching moments. While the Bulldogs are no doubt a quality Ivy League squad, the Buffs had leads of 12 points in the first half and 11 in the second half — only to see Yale close the gap to within one in the final minutes and provide the Buffs with some white-knuckle moments before CU finally closed the win.

What is certain is that there will be no margin for error against the 6-1 Sun Devils. Bobby Hurley bolstered his roster with some key transfers in the offseason and aside from a disappointing overtime loss to Texas Southern, ASU has been solid thus far. The Sun Devils own wins over VCU and No. 20 Michigan, as well as an 80-49 thumping of Grambling.

That last result might not be too impressive until you remember Colorado’s  83-74 loss to that same Grambling squad.

While seven games is no doubt a small sample size, the Buffs seem to be at their best when point guard KJ Simpson is on his game. The CU sophomore had a 23-point, 10-rebound game against Tennessee and a career-high 30 points and seven rebounds against A&M.

Simpson has also scored in double figures every game thus far. But he is shooting 51 percent in CU victories (27-for-53) and 33 percent in Colorado losses (15-for-45).

The Buffs need more than just Simpson playing well. The return of J’Vonne Hadley to the floor was a boost against Yale. Junior forward Tristan da Silva had a season-best 20 points and six rebounds against the Bulldogs and big man Lawson Lovering continues to grow as a defensive presence.

But they will all need to be on their game against the Sun Devils. ASU has three players averaging at least 12 points per game, led by Illinois State transfer DJ Horne (13.1 points per game). The Sun Devils also have a 7-footer in the middle in Nevada transfer Warren Washington (8.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg).

But the stats that stand out the most so far for ASU have come on the defensive end. The Sun Devils are holding opponents to just 34 percent shooting this season — including just 22 percent (31-for-140) from 3-point range — and they are giving up an average of just 59.7 points per game.

While ASU has always been an aggressive defensive team under Hurley, Boyle said the difference this year is that the Sun Devils have a 7-footer in the middle. That allows defensive perimeter players to take more chances, knowing Washington has their backs if they make a mistake.

“We’ve got to be really, really strong with the ball,” Boyle said. “We have to have great spacing with everything that we do. And we have to be great decision makers in the paint and great finishers. That decision might be to kick it out for a three or try to get it all the way to the rim and finish. That’s what it’s going to take to be successful offensively against this team because their defensive numbers are crazy.”

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Game Notes …

ABOUT THE SUN DEVILS: Arizona State is 6-1 overall and has won its last four including a 87-62 win over then-No. 20 ranked Michigan to claim the Legends Classic title. Arizona State averages 74.0 points while shooting 44 percent from the field. Defensively, the Sun Devils are holding opponents to 59.7 points on 34 percent shooting, both numbers ranking second in the Pac-12.

Junior guard DJ Horne leads ASU at 13.1 points per game with a team-best 13 3-point field goals. Sophomore guard Frankie Collins averages 12.9 points and ranks fourth in the Pac-12 at 5.1 assists per game. Senior forward Warren Washington averages 8.3 points and leads the Sun Devils in rebounding (6.7 rpg) and blocked shots (2.0 bpg) while shooting 72 percent from the field.

SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 25th meeting between Colorado and Arizona State with the Buffaloes holding a 14-10 series lead. The Buffaloes have won seven of the last 10 meetings. Arizona State took the last battle, an 82-65 decision at the CU Events Center, giving the Sun Devils just their second win in 11 tries in Boulder.

CONFERENCE OPENERS: Colorado is 5-6 in Pac-12 openers and 49-61 all-time in conference openers. The Buffaloes have won their last five home conference openers.


6 Replies to “Colorado Basketball – December, 2022”

  1. Well no commits yet on the biggest recruiting weekend in Buff History.
    Pride is back in town so……………….

    Go Buffs.

    Note: First look. Gotta give em time to think about it. Cause the decision is huge.
    Note 2: I don’t need a commit until Wednesday………..signed, sealed and delivered

    Note 3: Now the age old question? How many secret commits/switches/etc are there out there?
    Note 4: Three days

    1. have a bloody mary and some menudo VK. This is the basketball article. You have made yourself abundantly clear already in other forums.
      You and earache should have the connections to fire Prime even before the first practice….maybe even pre buyout?

      1. Now ep,

        don’t get all cancel culture on me

        Too many windows open
        Menudo sucks
        Bloddy Marys Ok
        Not a basketball fan so I thought the BBB would like to know

  2. Looking forward to the AZ/Tenn game tomorrow when I finally realized the Buffs are the only team to beat Tenn….and they are ranked No 6!
    Even though it was against mediocre D’s the ball movement and security in the last 2 games is much improved. If Tad can find some way to get some ice in the their veins the sweet 16 should be a lock.

  3. didnt watch the game but the Buffs were doing what they were sipposed to do…..knocking over a tomato can…..leading by 20 plus in the last half the last half and still Quincy only gets a minute?
    Is his D really that bad?
    One of these games when the rest of the D is stinkin it up They may need his scoring and he probably wont be prepsred well enough.

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