BOULDER — Colorado put six players in double figures Tuesday and the Buffaloes celebrated their No. 25 national ranking with a 106-79 win over Milwaukee at the CU Events Center.

Tad Boyle‘s Buffs improved to 3-0 while Milwaukee dropped to 1-2.

Colorado was dominant from the outset, building a double-digit lead four minutes in and extending the cushion to 20 by halftime. The Buffs then hit their first 10 shots of the second half to bump the edge to 30 and they led by as much as 38 down the stretch.

Guard KJ Simpson led Colorado with 23 points on 7-for-9 shooting and a game-high six assists while freshman Cody Williams scored 17 points to go with five rebounds and four assists. Eddie Lampkin Jr.had his first double-double as a Buff with 14 points and 12 rebounds, Tristan da Silva tallied 17 points, Julian Hammond III chipped in 14 and RJ Smith scored 11.

Zach Howell led Milwaukee with 15 points, all on 3-pointers.

Colorado surpassed the 20-assist mark for the third straight game, finishing with 25, and the Buffs shot 59 percent from the floor (37-63), including 13-for-20 from long range. Colorado has hit 31 of its 60 3-point tries thus far this season.

CU held Milwaukee to 37 percent shooting (27-for-73), but the Panthers did hit 11 of their 34 3-point tries. The Panthers also had 19 offensive rebounds for 18 second-chance points.

“We obviously shot the ball well — offensively we were as good as we’ve been all year tonight,” Boyle said. “(But) with that being said, we still have a lot of room for improvement. Nineteen offensive rebounds given up is something that’s not acceptable and we gave  up 11 threes against a team that we knew was a good shooting team … Those are the two areas  I’m dialing in on because what I’ve got to do with these guys is make them understand that we can maybe get away with some things early in the season with our schedule that we’re not going to be able to get away with as we move forward.”

HOW IT HAPPENED: On this night the Buffs got away with just about everything they wanted. CU took control early and the Panthers were on the ropes for the rest of the evening.

Williams, CU’s highly touted freshman, came back from missing Colorado’s last game with an injury to score seven points in an early CU surge that gave the Buffs a 17-4 lead less than four minutes. Da Silva had two 3-pointers in the burst, including one that sparked a 10-0 run that finished with a thunderous Williams dunk.

CU also held Milwaukee scoreless for 3 minutes in the stretch.

“Our whole thing is getting stops defensively and getting out in transition,” said Williams, who is already looking quite comfortable at the Power Five level. “It’s a fun way to play and a recipe for success.”

Milwaukee did manage to temporarily narrow the deficit back to single digits but Colorado responded with another double-digit run.  CU held the Panthers scoreless for another 3 minute stretch, Lampkin sparked an 11-0 surge with four straight points and Colorado pushed its lead to 20.

Four consecutive points from Simpson gave the Buffs a 37-17 edge midway through the half and the Panthers never seriously threatened again. Colorado kept the pressure on down the stretch and the Buffs took a 53-33 lead into the break.

Williams led CU with 13 points in the first half and Simpson added 11. Colorado shot almost 63 percent (20-for-32) in the half, including 7-for-11 from long range. The Buffs also had 12 assists — three each from Simpson and Williams — and Lampkin had five rebounds.

“This is the best passing team we’ve had since I’ve been here, without a doubt,” Boyle said. “The strength of this team is our depth and our quality depth. Twenty-five assists is fantastic.”

The Buffs picked up in the second half where they left off in the first as Colorado hit its first 10 shots of the half to build its lead into the 30s. A Simpson 3-pointer seven minutes into the period gave the Buffs an 80-48 lead and they pushed the cushion to as much as 38 down the stretch.

CU hit the century mark with 5:29 still to play when an RJ Smith 3-pointer gave Colorado a 100-63 lead.

Boyle, though, knows the road gets tougher. Colorado leaves home for the first time next week for two games in the second and third rounds of the Sunshine Slam in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Tuesday’s game was the first round of the tournament.) CU plays Richmond on Monday, then faces either Florida State or UNLV on Tuesday.

“We know the price of poker is going up as we go through our season, even in our preseason,” Boyle said. “Richmond is playing really well early. Florida State and UNLV are very talented teams. Colorado State is playing well and Miami, a Final Four team, is on the docket. We’ve got a lot of teams that are going to be better and bigger than the ones we’ve played.That’s why we have to have the attention to detail. It has to be rock solid.”

TURNING POINT: A 10-0 Colorado run early gave the Buffs a 17-4 edge less than four minutes in and the Panthers never really threatened again.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Buffs should keep their top 25 ranking in the next poll and they’ll take plenty of confidence with them to Florida.

KEY STATISTICS: Colorado surpassed the 20-assist mark for the third straight game, finishing with 25 … The Buffs shot 59 percent from the floor (37-63), including 13-for-20 from long range.

NEXT UP: The Buffs head to Daytona Beach, Fla., next Monday and Tuesday for the second and third rounds of the Sunshine Slam. The Buffs will face Richmond on Monday at 6 p.m. (CBSSN), then either Florida State or UNLV on Tuesday.


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