Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Grab Bag: Basketball season is off and running

It's damn good to have basketball back in my life.  I spent all weekend on the couch, watching a myriad of games from across the nation.  Not all of it was perfect, in fact some of it was outright unwatchable, but I enjoyed every second, none-the-less.  Welcome back, basketball, you were sorely missed.


Today in the bag, I'm talking the Buffs' win over UT-Martin, basketball notes from around the nation, and the football team's big loss in Seattle.

Click below for the bag...

Buffs get on the board with win over UT-Martin - 

Colorado got their first win of 2013-14 through a stilted 91-65 victory over the UT-Martin Skyhawks yesterday afternoon at the CEC.  At times sloppy, at times awkward, the performance was far from great, but, as I always say, a win is a win, and there's no reason to look at 26-point romp in the mouth.
Askia Booker and the Buffs eventually soared over the Skyhawks,  From: the BDC
In front of a half-filled stadium (I hope everyone enjoyed the Broncos game), the Buffs sleep-walked through the opening minutes before turning on the gas halfway through the first half.  The team seemed to take another breather after halftime before an explosive timeout from Coach Boyle woke them up for the final push.  Out of the huddle, junior Askia Booker, who had struggled through a four-turnover first half, took charge, scoring twice and grabbing a steal to light the charge that put the game away.

As a team, Colorado shot just a tick under 60%, but turned it over 18 times.  Josh Scott lead Colorado in scoring for the second-straight game, adding 15/8 to power the CU attack.  In support, three other Buffs - Spencer Dinwiddie, Wes Gordon, and Xavier Johnson - also notched double-digit scoring performances.  With the rotation still developing, true freshmen Dustin Thomas, Tre'Shaun Fletcher, and Jaron Hopkins chipped in a large number of minutes off the bench, and combined for 23/9.  Thomas, especially, played well, keying the first half run that saw the Buffs take their first lead of the season.
Josh Scott continue to lead the way in the early going.  From: the BDC
Even though it took CU eight minutes to take the lead, at no point did I ever feel the ultimate outcome was in doubt.  Tennessee-Martin was knocking down open looks from deep, but they struggled to get anything else going.  Still, the point from Friday remains: the Buffs need their established leadership to play with a sense of urgency.  Returning starters Dinwiddie, Booker, and Johnson have had slow starts to the season, and CU isn't going anywhere without them at their best.  I'm happy with the performance of the freshmen, now all that is needed is a little execution from the vets.

Elsewhere in the world of college basketball - 

Oregon 82 - Georgetown 75

The marquee game of the weekend took place in South Korea, where the Oregon Ducks broke out their fresh haul of transfers to beat the Georgetown Hoyas.  Newcomers Joseph Young and Mike Moser looked as good as advertised, and Oregon looks like a dangerous challenger at the top of the Pac-12. Additionally, with starting UO point guard Dominic Artis out due to a suspension, reserve Johnathan Lloyd put on a show, dishing out seven assists, and leading a fast, efficient Duck offense.
The Ducks looked real good in the season opener.

Coppin St 78 - Oregon St 73 -

Roberto Nelson dropped a career-high 36 points, but it wasn't enough as the Beavers took an embarrassing home loss to the small-conference Coppin St Eagles.  I'm really worried about OSU.  Without Eric Moreland, who has been suspended for much of the season, they're going to struggle in non-conference play. For RPI purposes, CU needs them to break through, and avoid any more losses like the one they took last night.

UCLA 72 - Drexel 67Utah St 78 - USC 65 - 

There were decidedly different outcomes in the coaching debuts of UCLA's Steve Alford and USC's Andy Enfield.  The Bruins held off a furious end-of-game charge from the Drexel Dragons behind the do-it-all play of point guard/power forward Kyle Anderson.  I'm still not sold on the #22 Bruins, but they're in a much better situation than the Trojans, who dropped their opener at the Utah St Aggies.  Any trip to Logan, UT is going to be fraught with peril, but this game served as a warning that the turnaround in University Park won't happen overnight.
Adams and the Bruins got the Alford era off to a winning start.  From: YahooSports
Kentucky 89 - UNC Ashville 57, Kentucky 93, Northern Kentucky 63

The competition wasn't impressive, but Kentucky super-freshman Julius Randle sure as hell was.  One of the nation's best incoming recruits strutted his stuff over the weekend, notching 45/29 over two double-double performances to kick-start his only collegiate campaign.  Kentucky started the year as the national #1, and should stay there for a while if Randle continues to live up to the hype.

Oh, yeah, football - 

I afforded the sport of football about 15 minutes of my time over the weekend, as I watched part of the first quarter of the CU vs Washington game.  It turns out, it was 15 minutes too many, as the Buffs were woefully outmanned and under-prepared in Seattle.
Nope, not even close.  From: the BDC
Other than a brief flicker of life, when the magnificent Paul Richardson got loose for yet another touchdown haul of over 50 yards, Colorado had nothing to give against the Huskies.  UW put up over 600 yards of offense, scored 49 unanswered points, and had CU put to bed well before halftime.  The result: another humiliating Pac-12 loss.  This time, a 59-7 thumping.  New score, same story.

Starting late in the second quarter, with Washington up 24-7, and the game quickly getting out of hand, CU put up this succession of offensive drives: missed 51-yard field goal on 4th-and-1, pick-six from the UW 23-yard line, interception on another 4th-and-1, fumble-six from inside Washington territory, and, finally, another missed field goal after a false start botched yet another 4th-and-1.  In all, about 20 minutes of the most lack-luster football I've ever seen.  The Buffs were their own worst enemy, and killed any hope of a competitive effort.

I had thought Colorado had turned a corner.  Their competitive match last week against UCLA had me thinking that we'd see a heartbeat down the stretch.  But a series of mistakes, both on the field and on the coaching line, dropped CU past the point of competitiveness far too early this weekend.
Outside of the Richardson grab, there was little to smile about for the Buffs. From: the BDC
Moving on, a winnable home game with Cal looms this week, but I'm toeing the line of not giving a damn. Thankfully, basketball season is upon us, and we won't have to put up with this garbage for much longer.

Happy Monday!

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