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Mavericks give Buffs all they can handle -
"Nebraska Omaha deserved to win this game. They outplayed us in a lot of different areas. We did what we had to do to win this thing – we really rebounded well – but without Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon tonight, I think we lose by 20 or 25 points" - Tad BoyleAs you can tell with the quote above, Coach Boyle was less than thrilled with CU's 87-82 Sunday afternoon win over Nebraska-Omaha. In his post-game presser, Boyle blasted everything from his team's overall effort, to the weak-ass perimeter defense displayed by his guards (17 layups), and the shockingly low assist total (nine on 24 made baskets), even going so far as to (jokingly) offer the fans in attendance a refund. The underlining thread was that this was a return to last year's malaise; not a welcome sight, at all. We can all take comfort in the fact that the Buffs did not, in fact, blow the two-foot putt, but it wasn't for lack of trying.
|It took a lot of interior defense to hold off the feisty Mavericks. From: USA Today|
Luckily, that run seemed to be the wake-up call that the snoozing Buffs were looking for. It started with Josh Scott stepping up, and asserting himself on both ends of the court. He was a defensive terror, clamping down on interior action (three blocks), and sealing off the boards (14 rebounds). Combined with front court mate Wes Gordon, it was the forwards, not the scoring wings, who bailed Colorado out of this one, as the pair linked up for a total line of 26/19/4/6. With the bigs leading the way, CU had evened up the score by the under-12 timeout, and made more than enough free throws down the stretch to keep the Mavs at arms length until the buzzer (34-46 overall). For the moment, at least, disaster averted.
|It was far too easy for Omaha to leave the Buffs scrambling at the perimeter. From: the Post.|
But, as Coach always says, it's easier to learn in the wake of a win than a loss. With the Thanksgiving break upon us, the coaching staff can have the team in the gym early and often. Expect them to do just that, as they try to get them to realize that they can't just take success against this lulling non-conference schedule lightly. Case-in-point, Wednesday's coming affair with Air Force. Skimp on prep for those guys, and they will execute you to death. Hopefully, the team takes those lessons to heart, and come out ready to play on Turkey Day Eve. I'll have a teaser up tomorrow.
Wazzou pummels Football Buffs in Pullman -
Down a starting quarterback, the Buffs turned to freshman QB Cade Apsay for the start of their season-ending road trip against #24 Washington State. The results were... well, they weren't very good. CU could only rack up 323 yards of offense on only 4.5 per snap, and Diego Gonzalez missed his first two field goal attempts when the game was still close. While the defense did some of what was required to stunt the vaunted Cougar attack, empty possession and empty possession from the offense stacked up, and kept Colorado from being legitimately competitive. The final, 27-3, tells you about all you really need to know about this one.
|Apsay wasn't bad in his first start, but the lack of offense really hurt. From: the Post|
Defensively, while Cougar QB Luke Falk put up very efficient numbers in the first half (21-23, 156 yards and a score), the Buffs were doing just enough good things to keep the team in the ball game. Despite all the misfires from the offense - missed field goals, blown fourth-and-goals, dropped passes, penalties - CU was only down 14-0 at halftime, and had plenty of opportunities to get into the game. Overall, not an awful effort, and one that, backed with a little offensive help, could've made for winning football. If you want nits to pick, however, don't look at Falk's numbers, look to the ground war where they got a little gashed; WSU back Gerard Wicks scampered for 123 yards on just 13 carries. Against the air raid, surrendering those kinds of numbers in the running game is an awful sign, as Wicks kept drives alive and the chains moving.
|CU Couldn't get anything going on the ground. From: dailyjournal.net|
#BananaStand comes up just short at nationals -
There's always championships in the #BananaStand, or at least there usually are. It seemed like such a foregone conclusion for the Colorado men's cross country team to win their third-consecutive national title this season, that I would've bet the farm on them doing just that if only Vegas took wagers on NCAA harrier results. But, in a stunning turn of events, it was the Syracuse Orange, not the Buffs, who took home men's team gold at this weekend's National Championships in Louisville, KY. Keeping with the Arrested Development theme, I think this calls for a good, old fashioned sad walk.
The men barely missed out on the crown, finishing just nine points behind the eventual champions. Pierce Murphy lead the attack for the Buffs, as he finished third overall behind the front-running pair of Oregon's Edward Cheserek and Villanova's Patrick Tiernan. The senior from Hawai'i charged down the final stretch, climbing past fading rivals, hoping to give the Buffs the low top-finisher they would need. Unfortunately, Syracuse was able to place three in the top-10, and CU didn't get another runner in the top-15. When the Orange's final two scorers were able to slip into the top-35, it was all over.
|Murphy ran a great race for the Buffs, but it just wasn't enough to get them the title. From: CUBuffs.com|
The women, not nearly as dominant on the national stage (yet), also came in second in Louisville. It's a really nice finish for the team, who finished 80 points behind eventual champions New Mexico. That may sound like a lot, and it is, but no one was catching the Lobos this weekend. They placed all five of their scorers in the top-20, and no other team had more than two. The Buffs were paced by junior Erin Clark, who finished 10th overall. These ladies could be set up for even greater things next fall, however, as they will return all but one of their runners from the weekend. Continuity, as with every collegiate sport, is key.