Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Thursday, December 1, 2011

CSU Wrap

65-64.  This team certainly never makes it easy.

Neither side exhibited an effusive or effortless performance, but someone had to win.  Unfortunately, I wake up this morning and find that big 'L' next to CU's name.  I wish I could blame the refs, who were particularly awful, or blame either of the combatants for the outcome, which was seemingly decided by fate rather than occurance.  Make absolutely no mistake, CU deserved to walk out of Ft Collins with a loss, I'm just not sure CSU deserved the win. 
The game had plenty of ugly in store for those of us willing to make the preposterous 6pm tip-off time.  From: the BDC
How the hell did that team allow CU within a mile of a victory... on their home court... with CU making mistakes left and right?  I just sit and shrug my shoulders and shoot a quizzical look in the direction of the basketball gods: what the hell did I just watch?

I watched CU shoot 45% from the stripe, missing a befuddling 16 freebies (remember, CU lost by 1).  Watching the Buffs take free throws is like helplessly watching someone slowly drive a stake into your shoulder.  It's not life threatening on it's own, but hurts like a bitch, and you sure would like it to stop before it ends up striking an artery or causing the loss of the limb.
That look of horror is appropriate here.  From: the Post.
I watched as CU shot a miserable 37% from the field, missing bunnies and tough shots equally.

I watched CU pound the offensive glass to the tune of a 16-5 advantage, all of which seemingly came on one series where CU tipped, and tipped, and tipped... but could not manage to put the ball in the hole.  Finishing at the rim is now officially an issue. 

I watched as a CSU squad, existing in a perpetually undersized state Wednesday night, was able to best CU in points-in-the-paint 26-22.  This was helped immeasurably by Austin Dufault being denied the entry pass after the opening minutes and 'Dre being held to only one point.  Yep, that's not an typo, 'Dre only had one point the entire game.  He can play offense, right?  I wasn't just imagining that, right?

Yet, despite all of that, with CU somehow finding themselves only down a point with just over 20 seconds to go, I watched Nate Tomlinson, who had been suffering through a basketball purgatory administered both by the CSU fan section and the three blind mice in striped shirts, steal the inbounds pass and miraculously, improbably sink a basket with only 15 seconds left to put CU back on top.  Wait, what?  The Buffs were within reach of blatantly stealing another one?  At this point I almost dialed 911, 'cause there was a robbery in progress.
Wait, what?  From: the Post
But it was not to be.  Wasting no time, CSU drove the length of the court to retake their tenuous 1-point lead.  Afforded the opportunity to draw up a play with only nine seconds on the clock, Coach Boyle put the ball in Nate's veteran grasp, drawing a simple pick-and-roll with Austin Dufault.  CSU, of course, spied the P&R, and forced Nate to back off with the clock winding down.  With no back-up plan, due to the slow-developing nature of the walk-up, Nate worked to find the only separation from his defender available, and heaved up an ugly last second shot.  It nicked on the rim just enough to send it spinning wildly away from the goal, and the CSU student section rushed the court, almost before the buzzer finished sounding.

Despite Good doing an estimable job trying to salvage victory from the jaws of defeat, Evil found a way to survive; this is real life, afterall.  CU was a centimeter a way from stealing yet another win in a hostile portion of the state they call home, yet stood miles a way from a solid performance.
I hate everything to do with this photo.  From: the Coloradan.
There is some good to take away from this, however.  That the Buffs continue to find a way back in ballgames, despite offensive performances that leave even the most accepting of observers wanting, is a good sign that this team has some serious backbone.  They did this Wednesday night, primarily, through some of the toughest on-ball defense I've seen in a while.  Coach Boyle put the emphasis on defense and rebounding, and so far so good.

But this team still has a long way to go before they're anywhere close to good, and Wednesday night only underscored the painful rebuilding process that the team must go through this season.  The missed shots, poor looks, and atrocious free throw shooting finally came back to bite them last night; hopefully they can bounce back because they have a long season ahead of them.


Eric said...

I hate the fact the turnaround from the Georgia game was so quick. Do we need to do that again this year?

RumblinBuff said...

I agree, I think a lot of the shooting woes stemmed from tired legs due to the quick turnaround.

Next week we have another quick turnaround on Wed/Fri. This may have been an intentional scheduling decision to prepare us for Pac-12 scheduling where games are played Thurs/Sat.

Eric said...

Gotcha. For some reason I thought pac-12 scheduling as Thurs/Sun.