Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thoughts on the Georgia win

Last night, CU took on an athletic Georgia squad, and came away with a much needed 70-68 win; it's always good to enter the middle of the week fresh off of victory!  With the 2-point win last night, CU is now 2-0 in the first two games of their toughest stretch of non-conference play, and have now won 26-straight non-conference home games in the CEC.

The squad was lead by exceptional performances from freshmen Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie.  The two combined for 30 points and 11 rebounds, but it was more than that.  They provided an energy that the rest of the team seemed to be lacking, and they continually attacked the ball and the rim when afford the opportunity.  Additionally, on a night where their more experienced teammates were struggling from the free throw line, the pair shot a combined 13-16 from the stripe.  Without them, this is a blowout home loss.  The two have been improving every game this season, and seem to have very bright futures.
Dinwiddie, and fellow freshman Askia Booker, were the difference last night.  From: the BDC
The rest of the team was buoyed by yet another double-double performance from 'Dre, his 4th in six chances this season.  The kid is amazing, and I suggest you check him out while you still can.

While I'm excited about the win, there are some cracks in the foundation that may keep this team from living up to my preseason expectation of a mid-table finish, even in the weak-ass Pac-12 conference.  This team seems incapable of making things easy.  What should've been a 10-15 point win was turned into to a 2-point squeaker through poor first half defense, and a continued inability to hit free throws.

The defensive struggles mostly pertained to poor pick-defense through the first half, allowing Georgia to create open shots early and often.  The Bulldogs shot near 50% in the first frame, well over their season average, as a result.  The Buffs buckled down after halftime, and Georgia was only able to muster 34% shooting after the break.  This was obviously a key focus during halftime adjustments, and, thankfully, it worked.

The missed free throw issue is no longer a matter for derisive chuckling.  The 22-37 showing last night, besides giving me an ulcer and letting Georgia back into a game they had no business being in, also dropped the season free throw shooting percentage to just under 64%.  That's 14 percentage points under where it was last year.  That kind of performance will cost the team wins down the road.
A win is a win, but Coach Boyle has to make sure his team understands that they're not 'there' yet.  From: the BDC
Yes, it was still a win, but it wasn't the performance I had hoped to see.  Combined with the win via theft against Air Force, and CU is more lucky than good right now.  With a month of Centennial State based play ahead, hopefully they can work out the kinks before conference play arrives.  While the Pac-12 is 'down' this season, we can't head into games with our new conference mates missing free throws and allowing easy looks off of basic pick plays.


I was also disappointed by the crowd.  1,500 fewer came to see the Buffs take on a power conference opponent, and the biggest 'name' opponent on home portion of the non-con schedule, then did to see the Ft Lewis game.  Even the student section was on the half-assed side. 

I know the holidays and end of semester make for a tough time, but don't neglect your duty to the program.  We need butts in those seats!  I hope to see attendance figures back near 8,000 for next Wednesday's game against Fresno St.

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