BOULDER — From the very beginning Friday night, the Colorado Buffaloes made it clear they wouldn’t set themselves up for another upset at the hands of Grambling State.

Instead, the Buffs avenged last year’s loss at GSU with a dominating 95-63 win over the Tigers at the CU Events Center.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffs improved to 2-0 while Grambling State dropped to 1-1.

A year ago, the Tigers shocked the Buffs with an 83-74 win in Grambling.

Friday, Colorado left no doubt that another upset wasn’t in the cards. The Buffs built a 10-point lead six minutes in, extended it to 20 midway through the first half and had a 30-point cushion at the break, 50-20.

The second half proved to be more of the same. The Buffs extended their edge to as much as 34 early in the second half and GSU never came closer than 25 again.

Colorado put six players in double figures, led by 21 points from senior Tristan da Silva. J’Vonne Hadley added 17 points, Julian Hammond III scored 14, KJ Simpson had 12 points and Luke O’Brienand Eddie Lampkin Jr. each tallied 10. Hadley and Lampkin each had eight rebounds for Colorado and Simpson had a career-high eight assists and just one turnover while Hammond tied his career high with six assists.

Tra’Michael Moton led GSU with 26 points.

The Buffs dominated virtually every statistical category. CU shot 55.6 percent from the floor (35-for-63) while holding GSU to 38.9 percent from the floor (21-for-54). CU also finished with 28 assists and held a 41-24 rebound edge. Colorado is now 86-6 in the Boyle era when holding an opponent to 40 percent shooting or less and having at least a plus-8 rebound edge.

“I was pleased with everything except for the second half defense,” said Boyle, whose Buffs outscored Grambling 45-43 after the break. “I thought we got a little soft.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: The Buffs were in control from the outset. CU jumped out to a 14-2 lead after six minutes, then bumped the margin to 20 when a Hadley three-point play gave the Buffs a 30-10 cushion with just under eight minutes to play in the half.

 By halftime, Colorado’s lead had been extended to 30 as the Buffs put three players in double figures en route to building a 50-20 edge at the break. Da Silva led CU in the first half with 16 points, Hammond — who hit his first three 3-point tries — added 11 and Hadley had 10.

The Buffs also delivered a clinic on sharing the ball and making the extra pass in the first 20 minutes. CU finished with 17 assists on 21 baskets in the opening half as Hadley and Hammond each had four assists. The Buffs also dominated the boards, finishing the half with a 25-11 rebound edge as da Silva and Lampkin each hauled down five boards.

J’Vonne Hadley, I can’t say enough good things,” Boyle said of his do-everything wing, “His grit, his toughness, his hustle. He handles the ball, he passes the ball, he’s just doing so many good things.”

Defensively, the Buffs forced two four-minute scoring droughts from the Tigers in the first half and the offense took advantage.

Colorado continued the onslaught early in the second half, building the edge to as much as 34 and the Tigers never cut the deficit below 25 again.

Simpson, who scored 22 points in CU’s opening win, turned his attention to making plays for his teammates and had five of his eight assists in the second half.

“KJ had eight assists and one turnover — that’s phenomenal,” Boyle said. “I talked to KJ before the season. There’s gonna be some nights where you need to distribute the ball rather than score the ball and tonight was one of those nights. He made a lot of plays.”

Da Silva’s 21 points came on efficient 8-for-12 shooting and he also had seven rebounds and three assists.

BUFFS BITS: Freshman Assane Diop scored his first points as a Buff, finishing with four points … Freshman Bangot Dak had a pair of rebounds … Ten Buffs saw action but freshman Cody Williams did not play because of a minor injury … The Buffs shot 10-for-23 from 3-point range and are now 18-for-40 from long distance (45 percent) from beyond the arc this season.

TURNING POINT: This one was over early as Colorado built a double-digit lead six minutes in and extended the margin to 20 and then 30 before halftime.

WHAT IT MEANS: Colorado’s defense and rebounding have been outstanding thus far, two foundational aspects of Boyle’s program. If CU can continue that trend the Buffs will have a great chance to enjoy a solid non-conference portion of their schedule before hitting Pac-12 play.

KEY STATISTICS: CU shot 55.6 percent from the floor (35-for-63) while holding GSU to 38.9 percent from the floor (21-for-54) … CU finished with 28 assists … Colorado is now 86-6 in the Boyle era when holding an opponent to 40 percent shooting or less and having at least a plus-8 rebound edge.

NEXT UP: The Buffs play host to Milwaukee at 7 p.m. next Tuesday at the CU Events Center in the opening round of the Sunshine Slam. CU will then face Richmond in the second round on Nov. 20 in Daytona Beach, Fla.


Story by Neill Woelk, Contributing Editor for Content courtesy of the University of Colorado at Boulder.