Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Pride restored

Spring is quickly approaching.  Conference tournaments start this week, brackets are just over the horizon, and actual baseball will start being played on Wednesday.  Forget bowl season, this is the most magical time on the sports calendar.  Bring it on!

Today in the bag, I'll recap the win over Cal, look into who that masked man is, and take a spin around the rest of the Pac-12.

Click below for the bag...


Sending the Golden Bears back into hibernation -

With the myth of #YouCantWinAtAltitude a little bruised post-Stanford, I was very worried about how the team would respond against Pac-12 Co-Leaders Cal.  In fact, the Buffs got back to basics Sunday afternoon, playing a crushing level of defense combined with a solid and efficient offense.  The result totaled to a brisk 70-57 win which keeps CU in contention for a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament.
The packed CEC has a lot to cheer about on Sunday.  From: the BDC
After the Thursday night debacle, it was good to see some competitive basketball again.  The Buffs came out hot, stayed in a nice groove, and I never felt they were that threatened by the league leading Golden Bears. CU out-shot (44%-38%), out-rebounded (39-30), and out-hustled Cal; all while only coughing up five turnovers.  It was probably the best all-around Colorado performance of the season, especially considering the caliber of the opponent.

The Buffs were lead by strong Senior Day performances from graduating stars Austin Dufault and Nate Tomlinson.  The pair combined for 26 points, six assists, and one lonely turnover on their Senior Day.  Fellow senior Carlon Brown continued to struggle with only six points on 2-7 shooting, while the fourth graduate, Trey Eckloff, didn't get any action due to his bout with Mono.
It's always nice to see the seniors play well in their final home game.  The '12 graduates didn't disappoint.  From: the BDC
Andre Roberson added 8/15 with three blocks in support, boosting his case for Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.  Additionally, freshman Spencer Dinwiddie chipped in 15 points, while holding conference POY candidate Jorge Gutierrez to a big fat goose egg on the score sheet.
An active 'Dre on defense means good things for the Buffs.  From: the BDC
Cal didn't seem to be the team playing for a conference title, looking sleepy and lost for most of the game.  Harried by the Buffs defense, they never seemed comfortable in their offensive sets, and often took the whole shot clock only to find desperation heaves.  With Gutierrez out of the mix offensively, Cal had no options down the stretch.

Who is that masked man? - 

On a day that featured a pregame playing of the Australian National Anthem (in honor of graduating senior Nate Tomlinson), Aussie Shane Harris-Tunks continued to look more than capable as a reserve forwardThe 6-11 post man, who had been pretty shaky for most of the season, provided a solid 4/3 in 12 minutes of action Sunday. 
The masked man has been playing some solid minutes lately.  From: the BDC
Shane looked very confident on offense, utilizing a nice hook shot to rack up his points.  While still limited athletically due to the ligament tear suffered prior to last season, he's beginning to find ways to make a positive impact on the game when he's on the court. 

Around the Pac-12 - 

Washington 59 - Washington St 55 - 

With the Cal loss, the Apple Cup win over rival WSU gives Washington the outright conference lead headed into the final week. 

Washignton St was in a great position to steal the win before Cougar head coach Ken Bone decided to drag ice cold reserve forward Patric Simon off the bench to take the final two shots.  Simon, a 37% shooter who had played 15 total minutes over the past four weeks, air-balled the potential game-winning shot after springing off the bench. 

Coaching 101 should include a notation next to "don't depend on a shooter who hasn't played all game."  How Coach Bone thought that was a good idea was beyond me.  The number of players who can sit on the sidelines for 39 minutes, and then hit the game winning jumper, are very limited

Oregon 74 - Oregon St 73 
 Arizona 65 - UCLA  63 

CU's primary competition for the last two conference tourney byes each held serve over the weekend.  Garrett Sim had 25 points on 10-14 shooting for the Ducks, who CU will face Thursday.  Arizona was saved by 32 trips to the stripe, including Josh Fogg's 10-13 from the line.

Utah 58 - Stanford 57 - 

The schadenfreude was delicious as the cocky Stanford Cardinal fell to one of the worst teams in the conference. Fresh off of their romp in Boulder, Stanford shot only 37% in Salt Lake City.  Maybe the Cardinal should've actually prepared for the Utes, who ambushed the mostly mediocre squad. They may have the Buffs number, but that doesn't matter for shit if you can't beat a bad team like Utah.

Happy Monday!

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