Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Saturday, December 22, 2012

NAU wrap

While the Buffs were tipping off against Northern Arizona, I was making my way to DIA for a flight home to Chicago.  All along the ride across E-470, the wait in security, and the downtime at the gate, Mark Johnson and Chad Brown were my companions, neatly describing the nearly perfect CU performance.  It made the experience fly by (pun mostly unintended).
Too easy, Master Chief.  From: the BDC
While my trip to the airport was smooth and uneventful, the clash with NAU was even more so.  The Buffs came out of the tunnel red-hot, and never seemed challenged by the Lumberjacks en route to a breezy 98-51 victory.  I kind of felt bad for the Lumberjacks.  Playing their third game in five days, they were ill prepared to march into the CEC and pose any level of challenge to the Buffs, who had been on break for the last week.

This was the body-bag game CU had been looking for, more scrimmage than actual contest.  The blowout allowed Coach Boyle and crew to work on a few things in sore need of addressing, while still resting up for the start of Pac-12 play.

Askia Booker lead the way, scoring 10 of CU's first 12 points, before finishing up with 17.  Spencer Dinwiddie also had a spectacular game, dropping 15/6/5/4 in only 16 minutes of play.  The pair of sophomore guards combined to hit 14 of the 16 shots they took from the field, sparking the team to a 66.7% shooting night.  Imagine what they could've done with a full compliment of minutes against the underwhelming Lumberjacks...
Ski also found some time to welcome new football coach Mike MacIntyre to Boulder.  From: the BDC
The 47-point spread also allowed the bench to get involved in a way that they hadn't before.  Xavier Johnson notched a career high 17 points, including 3-of-3 from behind the arc, to easily lead the bench mob in scoring.  Jeremy Adams and Xavier Talton also had nice evenings, combining for 14 points.

The 10,034 in attendance saved many of their loudest cheers for seldom used reserves Beau Gamble and Ben Mills.  Each scored their first points of the season, adding some character to the laugher of a game.  Mills, who has become a cult-hero with the C-Unit (akin to Preston Slaughter and Billy Boidock from the Patton era), heard his name chanted early in the second half.  He obliged his adoring fans with two points and five rebounds, before fumbling away a last-second chance for the team to crack the century mark.  Such is life.
Oh my God!  It's Ben Mills!  On the court!  With the clock running!  From: the BDC
In the end, the best thing I can take away from the game is this quote from NAU guard DeWayne Russell:
This is a really good program, they're really well coached. You could just see the discipline, that was the biggest thing. You could just feel the discipline and how good they were on defense.   (-link)
Coming from Russell, who has now played, and lost to, three of the Pac-12's best teams (Arizona and Oregon are the others), that means something.

In the soccer world, they talk in terms of form and class.  Form is temporary, but class is permanent.  What Russell was talking about was the class of CU, rather than the form.  You can get caught up in the 66.7% shooting, or the impressive 24 assists the Buffs handed out, but those numbers are easily forgotten when playing against better competition.  Discipline, organization, good coaching... those are the things that will serve the team well going forward, and they were on display Friday night.

Onward and upward.

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