After defeating the Seattle Redhawks in a rough game earlier in the week, Colorado bounced back on Thursday night to decimate the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks in Boulder, 89-70.
The Buffaloes certainly came out on top during bird hunting season, as they improved TO 3-0 on the season.
Freshman point guard Bryce Peters made his Colorado basketball debut on Thursday night, and he quickly made sure that every fan would remember the name. Midway through the first half, after a mischievous steal on the defensive end, Peters rushed to the other side of the court and emphatically stuffed the ball into the nylon, one-handed.
Near the end of the second half, he did it again, this time with a behind-the-back dribble thrown into the mix. That rim’s going to be a little sore in the morning. He ended the game with nine points, three assists and three rebounds.
“Energy’s a key word with Bryce,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “He brings it on defense, he brings it on offense. He had three steals—he gets his hands on a lot of balls. He’s got a good feel for the game as well.”
Senior forward Wesley Gordon moved to eighth place all-time in the Colorado rebounding history books as he finished the night with nine boards. He now has 714 to his name.
From the start, the Buffs commanded control of the game as they showed a strong defensive presence and never relinquished that responsibility to the Warhawks. At the half, the Buffs led 48-23 as they held Louisiana Monroe to just 25 percent shooting.
By the end of the night, seniority took over as guard Josh Fortune (14 points), forward Xavier Johnson (14), guard Derrick White (12), redshirt junior George King (12) and junior forward Tory Miller (10) all lit up on offense for the Buffs. They aided in CU’s 40 percent shooting, which was actually less efficient than the Warhawks’ offense, technically.
Fortune’s 14 points came off just two field goals, but he went perfect at the charity stripe with 10 made free throws. The last time a Buff made that much of an impact from the foul line was in December, 2014 when Askia Booker made 14-of-14 against DePaul.
The Warhawks finished the night with 41 percent shooting, yet still lost by 19 points. Near the beginning of the second half, the Buffs amassed a 31-point lead, 58-27, before loosening up a bit on defense to allow ULM to get back in the game.
“There were seven different times in the first half that we got three stops in a row defensively,” Boyle said. “In second half, there were zero times that we got three consecutive stops, so obviously our defensive intensity and our defensive effort subsided.”
The Buffs eventually won out, 89-70, in their final matchup before heading into Brooklyn on Monday, Nov. 21 to take on Notre Dame, which is no doubt a daunting opponent for Boyle’s Buffaloes. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 5 p.m.
“It’s a big-time tournament coming up,” Miller said. “Notre Dame’s a really good team.”
Before the Buffs head to New York, however, they have some work to do.
“We’re not where we want to be. We got a lot of room for improvement, individually and collectively,” Miller said. “Right now we’re 3-0, which was our goal to start, so you just got to continue to improve.”