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Started By PointGuard, Nov 08, 2017 01:43 AM

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#421

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RECRUITING SUMMARY

Incoming Recruits:

SF Rick Coffey, 6-7 HS Sr, 980 SAT, Mt. Vernon, SD; 18.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 5.2 rpg, 2.8 spg, 1.8 bpg; Excellent shooter and scorer from both inside and outside, very good passing skills, very athletic, top 5 at Houston Classic Camp, hard worker, not a leader but doesn’t cause problems, rarely misses practice, primarily a jump shooter, comfortable stepping out to shoot a 3, avoids post; ranked as #57 recruit nationally, B overall rating.

SF Kenton Dunn, 6-6 HS Sr, 1050 SAT, Cheyenne, WY; 17.1 ppg, 3.5 apg, 5.2 rpg, 2.0 spg, 1.8 bpg; Excellent shooter and scorer from both inside and outside, strong defender, athletic, top 25 at Indy Elite Camp, avoids post, not a leader but doesn’t cause problems, tremendous work ethic, stand-still player rather than slasher, knows 2-2-1 zone defense, rarely puts up a jumper; ranked as #73 recruit nationally, B overall rating.

PF Shawn Owes, 6-8 HS Sr, 1050 SAT, Arvada, CO; 18.8 ppg, 2.8 apg, 4.2 rpg, 2.2 spg, 2.1 bpg; Excellent inside shot, strong scorer, hard worker, some attitude and discipline problems, knows 1-2-2 zone attack offense, tries to drive to basketball occasionally, knows half-court trap, avoids post, knows 5-out offense; ranked as #135 recruit nationally, C overall rating.

Those 3 players along with the 5 transfer players who will become eligible will be an upgrade over the 2 scholarship players and 2 walkons who graduated this year and should make our team much stronger this coming season.

When the recruit class ratings came out, we had the 30th best recruiting class in Division 1. Pretty good, but seven Pac 12 teams are rated as having better recruiting classes: Arizona (2), UCLA (6), California (11), Utah (13), Washington (19), USC (22), and Oregon (24). So that means they will continue to be extremely tough competition for us this season.



#422

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Miscellaneous Summer and Fall Notes:

Meeting with the AD:

Jake Meacolm, Colorado’s Athletic Director, expressed his concerned since I failed to meet any of his goals (which were ridiculous given the roster that was left when the last coach was fired). So my job security is down. Such is life. I will keep the same staff that I set up at the beginning of this season. They did the best they could with the players we had.
Meacolm set my goals for next season, growling “We’ve had 4 crappy seasons in a row and our prestige has dropped each of those years. It’s time to turn things around here.” Rather than respond that he was in charge all four of those years, I just let him lay out what he wants. The goals are the same as they were for this past season: Finish above .500, Finish in top half of conference, Qualify for NIT Tournament, Improve school prestige. This time I think they MAY be possible to accomplish, at least some of them. While we’ll not be at a point to compete with the top 3 or 4 teams in the Pac 12, I think we may be able to finish somewhere in the middle of the conference standings. If so that would give us a good chance of accomplishing the other 3 goals.

On the marriage front:

A few days after meeting with Meacolm, Jacky and I spend a week in Hawaii. While I can’t say I never thought about the team at all, we kept busy so that kept me from obsessing about it. Jacky and I actually got along quite well and enjoyed our stay in the tropics. But still no commitment from her regarding a move to Colorado, so it looks like we will continue a long-distance relationship for the foreseeable future.

Recruiting:

We have no seniors on the team this coming season we did no formal recruiting. Instead Ivoree Snoddy, my 3rd assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, spent time scouting younger high school talent and making contacts with high school and JC coaches.

Roster: 

Last season we had a very short bench with very little depth. This season we have a lot of competition for every position. It’s going to make it difficult to settle on a starting lineup, but since there are at least 2 players of pretty equal talent at each position, we’ll be able to keep fresh legs on the court.

PG—There is a pretty tight competition between Chris Smith, who is returning after a strong season for us, and transfer sophomore Matt Conley. While those 2 are our only true PG’s, SG’s Steve Jackson and Camah Griffin can also fill in at the point.
SG—Not only do we have transfers Steve Jackson and Camah Griffin fighting for time, but freshman Kenton Dunn who is a SF also has played well at SG and could win the starting position.
SF—Charles Maors, another transfer player, looks to have the inside edge to start, but Kenton Dunn and Rick Coffey, another freshman, look good at SF.
PF—Vefa Kurtbek returns after starting last season and probably will start again this season, but Mat Hunter, Primoz Pohek and Jacob Anderson, who all got extensive playing time last season, have shown improvement. Freshman Shawn Owes will also get a chance to prove himself, although he may need some maturing before he is able to contribute consistently.
C—Ryan Erickson, another transfer player, has mainly played PF in the past, but we’ll likely move him over to C as our starter. Nathan Hampton and R.J. Reis, both of whom are junior walk-ons, will back up at C. Vefa Kurtbek might also see time at C in some games.

Practices:

Pre-season practice was, shall I say, contentious? I think that’s because the entire starting lineup was up for grabs. At most of the positions the talent of 2 or more players is pretty close to being equal. So guys were scrapping to become starters and gain on-court minutes. Rather than tamp things down, I let it all play out. But I’ve let the entire team know that when the season starts there needs to be teamwork and support for each other and that if I see elsewise there will be hell to pay.

Scheduling:

I let Jack Meacolm, our AD, work out our schedule with little to no input from me. So here’s our pre-conference schedule:

@ Tulane
AUSTIN PEAY
SOUTH CAROLINA ST.
Palmetto Shootout (1st game against LSU)
GEORGE MASON
SOUTHERN MISS.
ST. MARY’S
TEXAS A&M
CAL-RIVERSIDE

Playing all those home games not only gives us a home-court advantage, but if we’re successful will build our fan base and attendance. I look at our game on a neutral court against LSU as a real test of where we are this season.



#423

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2024-2025 Season Begins

Game #1: Colorado Buffaloes (0-0) at Tulane Green Wave (0-0)

Here’s our starting lineup for our season opener:

PG-Matt Conley, 6-2 Sophomore from Belcourt, NC; Transfer from Oklahoma, averaged 2.3 ppg in 4.3 mpg as a freshman at Oklahoma. (It’s really a toss-up between Conley and last year’s starter Chris Smith. Both will get pretty equal playing time and we’ll see who works out best.)
SG-Kenton Dunn, 6-6 Freshman from Cheyenne, WY.
SF-Charles Maors, 6-8 Sophomore from Dexter, NM; Transfer from Washington, averaged 7.4 ppg in 16.0 mpg as a freshman at Washington.
PF-Vefa Kurtbek, 6-6 Junior from Turkey; averaged 6.5 ppg in 25.8 mpg as a sophomore.
C-Ryan Erickson, 6-7 Junior from Canada; Transfer from Colgate, averaged 8.7 ppg in 17.0 mpg as a sophomore at Colgate.

I don’t think we have one stand-out player and therefore anticipate that different players will lead out team each game. But we do have a much deeper and more talented team this season. We aren’t likely to challenge for the upper reaches of the Pac-12 conference but If they play up to their potential, we will be in the mix for the next rung and could pull of an upset here and there.

Game Results:

There were 10 lead changes and 7 ties in the initial 10 minutes of the first half, but we then hit a cold spell and Tulane pulled ahead by 9 points. We closed the gap a little toward the end of the half but still trailed 38-33 at the break. We were outshot 48% to 36%. PG Kenton Dunn scored 9 to lead us offensively. Tulane’s SG Erick Young scored 12 and C Kerry Schwab tossed in 10 points.

We fell behind by 10 early in the 2nd half and my mid flashed back to last season, but then the guys fought back to narrow the Green Wave’s lead to 64-61 with 6:07 remaining. Then with 3-1/2 minutes to go, Kenton Dunn picked off a pass and hit Matt Conley streaking down court. Conley laid it in and was fouled. He sunk the free throw to put us ahead 68-67. After a Tulane shot-clock violation, SG Steve “Stonefall” Jackson dropped in a long 3 that put us up by 4 points with 2-1/2 minutes left. The Green Way threw the ball away on their next possession. Kenton Dunn was fouled and he hit both shots to give us a 73-67 lead with 2:02 on the clock. Tulane then dropped in a pair of free throws. After a miss by us, Tulane missed a 3 but were fouled on the putback attempt. They made one free throw to narrow our lead to 73-70. PF Primoz “Primetime” Pohek scored on an 8 foot jumper giving us a 5 point cushion with 59 seconds to go. Tulane worked the ball inside and scored making it 75-72. We missed a shot and Tulane rebounded. We fouled on a drive into the key and Tulane hit both free throws to cut our lead to a single point with 27 seconds remaining. The Green Wave intentionally fouled. PG Chris “Smitty” Smith dropped in both shots and we led 77-74 with 21 seconds to play. Tulane’s 3 point attempt rimmed out and we rebounded. They fouled with 4 seconds on the clock. Smith iced the game by hitting the 2 free throws. We came away with a 79-74 victory on the road. We were outshot 46% to 40% and out-rebounded 37-29, but the big difference for us was a 16-7 turnover advantage.

SG Kenton Dunn scored 21 and dished out 5 assists. PG Matt Conley hit for 16 points plus had 6 assists. C Ryan Erickson scored 8 and had 9 rebounds. For Tulane, SG Eric Young dropped in 20 points.

I didn’t want to jinx our team so I didn’t mention before the game…but we were favored to win this game. I believe that’s the first time we’ve been favored to win ANY game since I got here.



#424

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Game #2: Austin-Peay Governors (1-0) at Colorado Buffaloes (1-0)

We held the Governors scoreless for the first 6-1/2 minutes of the game. With 6:18 remaining in the first half we led 20-5 primarily due to Austin-Peay turning the ball over 12 times at that point. We were hitting less that 30% of our shots or the point differential would even have been greater. When the half ended we were on top 39-18. We held a 13-2 turnover advantage. PF Vee Kurtbek and SG Kenton Dunn led our scoring with 8 points apiece. 

We kept the Governors from making a serious run in the 2nd half and cruised to a 75-53 beatdown of Austin-Peay. We led in all team stats and our made just 5 turnovers to 20 by the Governors.

SF Rick Coffey had a great game scoring 14 points in his 18 minutes of court time coming in off the bench. SG Kenton Dunn scored 13 and PF Vee Kurtbek dropped in 10. PG’s Matt Conley and Chris Smith combined to hand out 11 assists.

I’m concerned that we’ve only hit 40% and 41% of our FG attempts in the firdst 2 games. But I think we are better scorers than that and hope to see that jump up in our upcoming games.

Reserve PF Shawn Owes came down with soreness in his calf. We’ll keep him out of practice the next few days but he should be ready should we need him in our next game.



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Game #3: South Carolina State Bulldogs (1-1) at Colorado Buffaloes (2-0)

The Bulldogs’ PG Matt Smith is averaging 24.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg. Either we throttle him or let him do what he will and keep the rest of the lineup in check.

We started Rick Coffey at SF to reward his outstanding effort in the last game. He didn’t disappoint, scoring 7 points in the first 5 minutes of play. We pulled away to a 25-13 lead after 9 minutes of play. After complaining about our team not shooting well in our first two contests, I was ecstatic to see them hit 51% of their FG attempts and 56% of their 3’s enroute to a comfortable 45-25 lead at the break. PG Matt Conley dropped in 10 points and dished out 4 assists.

Rick Coffey scored our first 8 points in the 2nd half, but South Carolina State scored 14 to cut our lead to 53-39. We recover and pound the Bulldogs to the tune of 89-65. We outshot South Carolina State 51% to 36% and held a 14-5 turnover advantage.

SF Rick Coffey hit 9 of 13 shots to score 19, PG Chris Smith chipped in 16, SG Kenton Dunn scored 14, PG Matt Conley added 10, and C Ryan Erickson scored 8 plus pulled down 14 rebounds.



#426

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Game #4: #7 seed Colorado Buffaloes (3-0) vs #2 seed LSU Tigers (2-0) in round 1 of the Palmetto Shootout

LSU presents a challenge similar to what we will incur when we start Pac-12 Conference play. The Tigers are heavily favored to beat us. They’re led by C Kelvin Dixon (20.5 ppg and 10.0 rpg) and PG Seth Waltman (14.5 ppg and 5.5 apg) with PF Jeremy Deeter averaging 13.0 ppg and 10.5 rpg.

We score the first 7 points in the game. 5-1/2 minutes into the game, though, LSU came back and grabbed a small lead. The lead then shifted back-and-forth until the last 4 minutes of the half when our shooting went ice-cold and LSU spurted out to a 37-27 halftime lead. We were outshot 41% to 29%. C Ryan Erickson scored 7 points for us, while LSU was led by PG Seth Waltman’s 11 points.

Within the first 5 minutes of the 2nd half, we’d fought back to trail by only a 39-38 score. After both teams hit a basket, LSU went on a 12-0 run that put them ahead by 13 with 9:18 remaining. While we never fell further behind, we were unable to recover and lost 68-58.

C Ryan Erickson and SF Rick Coffey both scored 10 points and Erickson also had 12 rebounds. LSU’s PG Seth Waltman finished with 23 points.

Looks like we have some more work to do to be ready for prime time. Tonight we played well for portions of the game, but had extended periods in both halves during which we were impotent. Those torpedoed our effort to win this game.



#427

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Game #5: George Mason Patriots (1-3) at Colorado Buffaloes (3-1)

At the end of the first half which included 16 lead changes and 11 ties with neither team leading by more than 4 points, we took a narrow 36-34 lead to the locker room. SF Rick Coffey scored 11 while C Ryan Erickson had 10 points. The Patriots’ PG Shaun Schwab scored 10 in 7 minutes on the court. 

The 2nd half was pretty much a repeat of the first with neither team able to pull away and no lead greater than 5 points. With 48 seconds to go we led 65-62, but George Mason controlled the ball. I was upset when we fouled them with 39 seconds remaining, but they missed the first of a one-and-one and we controlled the rebound. We missed a shot and the Patriots then threw the ball away with 19 seconds on the clock. I called a time out and told the team to stall. George Mason intentionally fouled and Chris Smith sank both free throws to give us a 5 point lead with 15 seconds left. The Patriots hit a 3 from the corner but we ran out the final few seconds to escape with a 67-65 win. The team stats were as close as the game was. 

SF Rick Coffey scored 15 and had 8 rebounds. C Ryan Erickson also scored 15 while grabbing 6 boards and recording 4 steals. For George Mason SG Pavle Kostelic dropped in 20 points.

We had another poor shooting game, hitting just 37% of our FG attempts and 24% of our 3PA’s. I think my guys are better shooters than what they’ve shown thus far. We need to improve our shot selection. We’re moving the ball around pretty well but the guys often aren’t taking shots when they get free and then are taking shots when they don’t have a good look at the basket. We do have 2 guys who are shooting well though. Both SF Rick Coffey and SG Kenton Dunn are knocking down over 50% of their FGA’s and 40% of their 3PA’s. but we can only free those guys up so much.



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Ddevore65 wrote in the WolverineStudios forums: 

 

A win is a win, but.....a nail bitter against George Mason at home doesn’t bode well for conference play. 500 is going to still be tough in conference, but it is early and for a young and growing team like the Buffs, these type of games are a good learning experience. Hopefully the team continues to grow

My prediction is a 500 conference record, 18 wins overall including getting at least 1 conference tourney win on the first day and maybe stealing a second. NIT #4 seed, but I hope for better for Coach KD.”

 

My response:

 

Your comments and evaluation of my team are pretty much on target, I think. Had we been able to beat LSU, I'd be feeling pretty good about our chances in the Pac-12 (particularly since playing them they LSU is now 7-0 and ranked #19 in the polls) but by losing to them on a neutral court and barely beating George Mason (who two days later hosted Arizona State and lost 87-71), shows we are going to have a real challenge in conference play.

I'd be very happy if we come away with 18 wins this season and think we will be hard-pressed to win half our games in the conference. But you're right...we'll see how the team coalesces during its final 4 pre-conference games. Most all of my players had never played together before this season began, so I'm not expecting miracles.

Positives are that we're rebounding well, not turning the ball over too much (most games), and playing pretty good defense. Of course, the quality of our opposition hasn't been too great. Presently six Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 25 (Arizona, Cal, Utah, Oregon, UCLA and USC).

I'm concerned that Vefa Kurtbek isn't playing at all well at PF. Thus far he's regressed from how he played last season (lower scoring, rebounding, assists, shooting (FG and FT) stats than he had as a sophomore) and he sometimes just simply disappears when on court, but no one has been able to step in and play consistently well at PF so he remains my starter. I'm cautiously optimistic about how we're doing at the other 4 positions.

 

 

devore65 wrote in the WolverineStudios forums:

 

With the conference schedule of 18 and 11 opponents, which teams do you not play twice. Maybe the scheduling gods have given you WSU and OSU twice and left off most of those 6 top 25 teams. Depending on how you schedule breaks will be key between 9-10 conference wins or 6-7. Hoping for the solid 9-9 record as that should get you a winnable pac-12 tourney game.”

 

My response:

 

LOL...not really favorable that way. Play everyone twice except Washington, Washington State, Stanford, and UCLA. Play UW and Stanford away and WSU and UCLA at home. Play 5 of the 6 teams that are in Top 25 (thus far) twice.



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Game #6: Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (2-2) at Colorado Buffaloes (4-1)

The Golden Eagles are shooting much better than us (52% to 41% for FG% and 44% to 29% for 3P%), so we need to try to narrow that deficit. But they have a lot of turnovers (16.5 per game) so we need to capitalize on that. On paper we’re also a better rebounding team so we need to attack the boards to make that apparent advantage a reality. SG Jason Duckrey is averaging 17.8 ppg and hitting a very high percentage of his shots and will be difficult to keep in check. Since both of Southern Mississippi’s losses have been on the road, hopefully we can keep them winless in that category, but we’ll need to up our level of play from how we played against George Mason.

There’s so little difference in the stats our two PG’s (Matt Conley and Chris Smith) are posting that choosing between the two is pretty much a coin toss. But I’m going with Smitty to start tonight since he is hitting his 3’s better than Matt. It probably doesn’t really matter all that much since (unless one of them gets really hot) both will probably get about the same number of minutes on the court.

We again came out with cold shooting and with the Golden Eagles hitting their shots fell behind early. Midway through the first stanza we were trailing 22-13. We then scored the next 9 points in less than a 2 minute span to draw into a tie. A minute later SF Charles Maors drove into the key and buried a short jumper on which he was fouled. He converted the 3 point play to give us our first lead of the night at 25-24. We continued to control the game and came away with a 37-31 lead at the end of the half. Our primary advantage in the first half was that we controlled the boards 24-13. PF Vee Kurtbek and SF Rick Coffey both scored 7 to lead us offensively. I was pleased that my imploring Vee during practices the previous two days to attack the basket more seemed to have made an impact on him.

With 16:41 to go in the game, we spurted ahead by double figures at 44-34. From there we gradually extended our lead to come away with a solid 75-59 victory. We executed our game plan pretty well, forcing the Golden Eagles to turn the ball over 17 times, out-rebounding them 38-28 and out-shooting them 44% to 40%. But we continued to be ineffective from beyond the arc, hitting just 21% of our 3’s.

Leading our scoring was SF Rick Coffey with 17 points, followed by SG Kenton Dunn’s 15 points. Coffey also had 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block. PG’s Chris Smith and Matt Conley split the available on court time and had similar stats but combined to score 11, dish out 8 assists, pull down 4 rebounds, and have 3 steals and 2 blocks while only having 4 turnovers. Defensively they were outstanding holding Southern Mississippi’s PG’s shooting to 3 of 14 from the field and limiting them to only 2 assists. PF Vee Kurtbek finished with 9 points which was a step forward. 

Southern Mississippi was led by SG Jason Duckrey’s 20 points and C Charles Prescott’s 18 and combined to hit 15 of 25 of their field goal attempts. The remaining players on the Golden Eagles only hit 6 of 27 shots from the field though so overall our defense was rock solid. And C Charles Prescott pulled down no rebounds during his 30 minutes of play (while not a great rebounder, he'd been averaging 5 rpg)...so have to give a big pat-on-the-back to our C Ryan Erickson for blocking him out.



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Game #7: St. Mary’s Gaels (3-2) at Colorado Buffaloes (5-1)

St. Mary’s is a dangerous foe. They have four starters averaging between 11.6 and 15.4 ppg, led by C Marco Arthurs who not only is averaging 15.4 ppg but also 11.4 rpg and 1.6 bpg. Their SG and SF, Brent and Brad Smith, are brothers and both are playing very well with Brent doing damage from outside while Brad is strong inside. Their coach likes to keep the two on the court at the same time as they feed off each other. The Gaels have a very controlled offense and a disciplined 2-3 zone defense. We’ve had troubles with a 2-3 zone thus far. The Gaels enter the game against us as slight favorites.

As has become all too typical, we come out flat, hitting just 1 our first 13 shots and fall behind 5-0 and then 15-4 and 22-6. We brought on our subs and SF Charles Maors and PG Matt Conley ignited a comeback that narrowed St. Mary’s lead to 30-23 with 4 minutes to play in the half. We got within 2 points before finishing the half trailing 34-31. After an atrocious start shooting, we got our FG% up to 33%. C Ryan Erickson and SF Charles Maors led our scoring with 8 points apiece. Reserve PG Chris Fellers hit for 9 points for St. Mary’s.

In the locker room during the halftime intermission, PG Matt Conley spoke up to say he was pissed off that we were looked upon as underdogs against a team like St. Mary’s on our own floor and said it was time to kick butt. He backed that up when he hit a 3 on our 2nd possession of the 2nd half to tie the game at 34-34. SF Charles Maors knocked down a 3 that put us on top for the first time in the game at 37-36 with 17 minutes to play. St. Mary’s retook the lead but we hit a couple more 3’s and the game was tied at 49-49 with 12 minutes remaining. Conley sank a 3 to put us ahead 56-51 with 9-1/2 minutes to go. Our crowd really got into the game forcing the Gaels to call a couple time outs as our lead grew to 62-53. But St. Mary’s came back to cut the lead to 66-62 with 4:38 on the clock. Rick Coffey and Ryan Erickson put in 7 straight points to balloon our lead to 11 with 2 minutes left. That was enough to ice the game as we won by a score of 73-65. 

Our shooting improved dramatically in the 2nd half and by the end of the game our FG% had improved to 44% while our 3P% was also 44%. St. Mary’s controlled the boards 36-27 but that was more than offset by our 19-8 lead in turnovers. The Gaels’ five starters all played from 29 to 33 minutes each but only scored a combined total of 47 points, so we were able to keep them in control.

Uncharacteristically we had 4 players in double figures: SF Rick Coffey-17, PG Matt Conley-15, C Ryan Erickson-14, and SF Charles Maors-11. The stars of this game were Matt Conley and Charles Maors. They brought us back when we were in a deep hole in the first half and hit big buckets in the 2nd half when we needed them.



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Game #8: Texas A&M Aggies (3-3) at Colorado Buffaloes (6-1)

Sidenote: Our only loss this season has been to LSU which now has a 9-0 record and is ranked 5th in the polls. To notch their 9th win, the Tigers hosted Arizona State and ripped the Sun Devils 76-42 earlier today. Even though Arizona State had to meet them on the Tigers home court whereas we played LSU on a neutral court, our 10 point loss doesn’t look so bad now.

Thus far this season our bench has been much more productive than Texas A&M’s bench, so we need to wear down their starters.

After leading throughout most of the first half, we let the Aggies back into the game when our shooting went stone cold. Texas A&M took a 19-17 lead with 5 minutes remaining in the half. The lead flip-flopped the rest of the half. When the buzzer sounded we were on top 29-27 even though we only hit 27% of our shots. SG Kenton Dunn led our scoring with 7 points, but C Ryan Erickson scored 6 and hauled in 9 rebounds.

SF Rick Coffey tipped in a rebound and then PG Matt Conley intercepted a pass and hit C Ryan Erickson for an alley-oop throw down to put us ahead by 6 after just a minute of play in the 2nd half. We pressed and forced a 10-second violation. Erickson then pushed he way toward the basket and hit a 5 footer to put us ahead 35-27. With our fans turning up the volume and us ahead 39-32, Texas A&M called their 2nd time out of the 2nd half with 14:51 to go. This left them with just 1 remaining time out. During the time out, I instructed our players to turn up the defensive pressure to attempt to put the Aggies away. That strategy totally failed as Texas A&M tied the game at 46-46 six minutes later. Back-to-back-to back 3’s put us on top 55-48 with 5 minutes left. With 2-1/2 minutes to play, Matt Conley sunk a 3 to give us a 62-54 lead. Texas A&M was forced to foul which allowed us to expand our lead and win by a final score of 70-57. Again our shooting was a woefully poor 35% but we did hit 40% of our 3’s. But the main difference in the game was our 14-5 turnover advantage. 

C Ryan Erickson had a huge game with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Vee Kurtbek came on strong in the 2nd half and finished with 11 points.



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Game #9: UC-Riverside Highlanders (1-9) at Colorado Buffaloes (7-1)

We scored the first 10 points in the game even though we shot horribly. With 7-1/2 minutes left in the half we led 25-2 and still were only hitting 30% of our shots. We substituted freely but still held a commanding 37-19 lead at the break as we controlled the boards 26-11 and held a 12-5 turnover advantage. SG Kenton Dunn scored 11 points and C Ryan Erickson scored 6 plus had 10 rebounds.

We played everyone on our bench in the 2nd half and coasted to a 73-51 thrashing of the Highlanders. Our final rebounding advantage was 42-23. 
SG Kenton Dunn hit for 15, PG Chris Smith had 10, and C Ryan Erickson scored 10 while gathering in 13 rebounds.

I would have liked to have had a tougher opponent, but we were able to give all of our reserves extended play time so hopefully that pays dividends later this season. 

We finished pre-conference play with an 8-1 record, but now will take on much tougher competition as conference play begins next week. Our RPI is 21st best in the country, but that just means the computer isn’t adequately taking into account the quality of our opponents. Next season we need to upgrade the competitive level in our pre-conference schedule.



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Player Stats:

PPG: SF Rick Coffey-12.3, SG Kenton Dunn-11.8, C Ryan Erickson-10.7, PG Matt Conley-8.4, PG Chris Smith-6.3, PF Vefa Kurtbek-6.2, SF Charles Maors-6.1, SG Camah Griffin-3.9, PF Mat Hunter-2.9, PF Jacob Anderson-2.4, SG Steve Jackson-1.7, PF Primoz Pohek-0.9, C Nathan Hampton-0.7, PF Shawn Owes-0.7, C R.J. Reis-0.0
RPG: C Ryan Erickson-9.1, PF Vefa Kurtbek-4.1, SF Rick Coffey-4.1, SF Charles Maors-3.6, PF Jacob Anderson-2.9, PG Matt Conley-2.8, SG Kenton Dunn-2.3, C Nathan Hampton-2.0, PG Chris Smith-1.9, SG Camah Griffin-1.8, PF Mat Hunter-1.8, PF Primoz Pohek-1.6, PF Shawn Owes-0.3, SG Steve Jackson-0.0, C R.J. Reis-0.0 (Erickson is tied for 5th best in the Pac 12)
APG: PG Matt Conley-4.7, PG Chris Smith-3.3, SG Kenton Dunn-2.3, C Ryan Erickson-1.8, SF Rick Coffey-1.7, PF Vefa Kurtbek-1.4, SF Charles Maors-1.0, SG Camah Griffin-1.0, PF Primoz Pohek-0.4, PF Mat Hunter-0.3, SG Steve Jackson-0.3, C Nathan Hampton-0.2, PF Jacob Anderson-0.1, PF Shawn Owes-0.0, C R.J. Reis-0.0 (Conley is 5th best in the Pac 12)
BPG: PG Matt Conley-1.2, SG Kenton Dunn-0.9, SF Rick Coffey-0.8, PG Chris Smith-0.7, C Ryan Erickson-0.6, PF Mat Hunter-0.6, PF Vefa Kurtbek-0.4, SF Rick Coffey-0.4, PF Jacob Anderson-0.3, SF Charles Maors-0.2, SG Steve Jackson-0.0, PF Primoz Pohek-0.0, PF Shawn Owes-0.0, C R.J. Reis-0.0
SPG: C Ryan Erickson-1.2, SG Kenton Dunn-1.0, SF Charles Maors-0.7, PF Vefa Kurtbek-0.7, PG Matt Conley-0.6, SF Rick Coffey-0.4, PF Jacob Anderson-0.4, SG Camah Griffin-0.3, PG Chris Smith-0.3, PF Primoz Pohek-0.3, C Nathan Hampton-0.2, SG Steve Jackson-0.1, PF Shawn Owes-0.0, PF Mat Hunter-0.0, C R.J. Reis-0.0

Team Stats: 

PPG: 73.2 (115th in nation)
APG: 18.3 (32nd in nation)
RPG: 36.3 (22nd in nation)
BPG: 6.0 (57th in nation)
SPG: 6.0 (243rd in nation)
TOPG: 9.1 (1st in nation)
Opponents PPG: 61.9 (22nd in nation)

Pac-12


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Pac-12 teams in Top 25: Arizona (1), California (6), UCLA (10), Oregon (11), USC (21). Utah was in the Top 25 until this last week when they lost in the 2nd round of the Hoops for Troops Tourney to unranked Georgia.

Comparison based upon pre-conference opponents that we also had:

Washington beat Southern Miss 65-52, Stanford beat Southern Miss 66-56, and we beat the Golden Eagles 75-59.
Arizona State beat George Mason 87-71 and we beat the Patriots 67-65.
Arizona State lost to LSU 76-42, Stanford lost to LSU 88-81, UCLA beat LSU 79-69, and we lost to the Tigers 68-58.
Arizona beat Tulane 97-54 and we beat the Green Wave 79-74.

The media has picked us to finish 8th in the Pac-12 this season.

Youngstown State Update:

Oh yeah… my old team, Youngstown State, finished pre-conference play with a 5-4 record with SG Doylan Anderson averaging 18 ppg. They’re expected to finish somewhere in the middle of the Summit League standings this season.



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Game #10: Colorado Buffaloes (8-1, 0-0) at Oregon State Beavers (6-3, 0-0)

The Beavers won 6 of their first 7 games (all at home) before losing to Marshall in a tournament game and #2 ranked North Carolina on the road. C Rudy Barker has been hot and cold, but when he’s hot, he can be devastating meaning we need to keep him in check.

Twice during the first half it seemed as though we might pull away but each time Oregon State reeled us back in and by the end of the half the Beavers were ahead 36-32. We turned the ball over too much (11 turnovers). SG Kenton Dunn led our scoring with 7 points. SF Ike Archie had 9 points for Oregon State.

After shooting well in the first half, we were undone in the 2nd half by poor shooting and more turnovers. With 8 minutes to play we trailed by 10. We cut into the lead and were down by just 4 when Mat Hunter was charged with a technical with 3:19 to go. The Beavers made one of the two free throws and then sunk a 3 on the possession they were awarded to put us down by 8. Oregon State then went on a 3 point binge but we cut their lead to 5 with 47seconds remaining and intentionally fouled their worst foul shooter. He made us pay by sinking both free throw shots. We called a time out to set up a 3 but the shot didn’t go down and we were forced to foul again. Two more successful foul shots put us down by 9. Another 3 point attempt wouldn’t fall for us. We tipped in a put-back but it was all too late and we lost 77-70. 

PG Matt Conley and SG Kenton Dunn both scored 11 points and C Ryan Erickson had 9 points and 8 rebounds for us. Oregon State’s SF Ike Archie topped all scorers with 16 points.

All Pac-12 home teams won their conference openers. The highlight was a 95-94 overtime victory by #6 ranked California over #11 ranked Oregon.

Following the game SG Steve Jackson mouthed off about his not playing enough and my favoring Kenton Dunn. He’d done something similar earlier this season, so I chewed him out and that I know he has a of talent, but he’s not been displaying it thus far this season so when he does he will play more. He apologized and said he’s try harder. We’ll see how it goes.



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Pictures in the Mail

I received an envelope in the mail that only contained pictures. The pictures were of Jacky and her boss, Tom Braswell, at restaurants and other public places with mutually adoring faces and hands all over each other. There was no letter or note and no return address, but the envelope was postmarked from Youngstown.

I guess I should say I was shocked and devastated and probably pissed as well, but for some reason I merely looked through them and pushed them into a drawer in my desk. And then I experienced a feeling of freedom and relief. It’s not something I’d ever express to anyone since when I ran that through my head it seemed wrong to feel that way. But I slept better that night that I had for a long time.



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Game #11: Colorado Buffaloes (8-2, 0-1) at #6 ranked California Golden Bears (12-1, 1-0)

Are the Golden Bears good? Hell yes they are! Cal has beaten #19 ranked Georgia Tech, #11 ranked Oregon and has twice beaten #3 ranked Maryland, and their only loss was to #2 ranked North Carolina. They have 4 players averaging in double figures led by SG Matt Landram’s 20.8 ppg. PG Mario Burleston scored 30 points against Oregon earlier this week. We’re huge underdogs against Cal.

We took a 7-0 lead and held a lead over the Golden Bears throughout the first half until just 35 seconds were left when they took a 35-34 lead. But we hit the final bucket of the half and went back on top 36-35 when the buzzer sounded. It was surprising since we had 10 turnovers in the first half and because of that Cal scored 16 fast break points, but our guys played gutsy ball. Our leading scorer was SG Kenton Dunn with 10 points. For the Golden Bears, PG Mario Burleston also had 10 points.

California scored the first 4 points in the second half. But we came back and tied the game at 42-42 and neither team could gain an advantage through the first 10 minutes, but then Cal hit back-to-back 3’s that put them ahead 53-47. The Golden Bears caught fire offensively late in the half and we fell behind by 8 but then cut the lead to 4 when PF Vee Kurtbek grabbed and offensive rebound and put the ball back up and in with 2:22 remaining. Then with 1:50 on the clock Kurtbek put in a baseline jumper to get us within 2 points. Cal hit a 3 but we came down and worked the ball around before SF Rick Coffey dropped in a long 3 with 1:23 to go to make it 71-69 in favor of the Golden Bears. Cal shot from the key missed and we rebounded. We called a time out and set up a screen but Kenton Dunn’s shot was off the rim and Cal pulled down the rebound. But the Golden Bears missed a 12 footer and we got control of the ball with 35 seconds left. Another time out for us only led to an errant pass that Cal picked off. We intentionally fouled with 21 seconds on the clock. Cal’s worst foul shooter, made the first of a one-and one but missed the 2nd. We rebounded and called a time out to set up a 3 point attempt. Rick Coffey’s shot hit the back rim and Cal controlled the ball and ran out the clock. A valiant effort on our part, but we lost 72-69. The only team stat that was significantly in Cal’s favor was turnovers where we had 15 turnovers to the Golden Bears’ 8. 

PF Vee Kurtbek scored 15 points and had 7 rebounds. SF Rick Coffey and SG Kenton Dunn both hit for 12 and C Ryan Erickson hit for 11 plus had 7 boards. SG Mario Burleston poured in 20 points for Cal.

I gave our team a big pat-on-the-back, but the loss made us 0-2 in conference play, but both losses were on the road.

In other Pac-12 games, Washington State upset #10 ranked UCLA 71-64, Washington topped #11 ranked Oregon 89-85, and surprisingly Oregon State went to 2-0 in conference play after knocking off Stanford 75-64.



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Game #12: #20 USC Trojans (12-1, 2-0) at Colorado Buffaloes (8-3, 0-2)

Great to be back home but we have to host USC, the #20 team in the country. The Trojans are led by Ryan Kincade who is averaging 18.2 ppg. After losing our first two conference games, our task is simple. Win this home game even though we’re playing a ranked team. We have two straight away games following this game against USC, so a win is even more necessary.

Our internal PG battle continues. There’s basically a dead heat between Chris Smith and Matt Conley in almost every statistical category. Today Chris Smith will start at PG and Mat Hunter will be our primary backup at PF and Jacob Anderson will be our principal sub at C. The latter two players have played well recently coming off the bench.

We shot poorly (35% FGA and 17% 3PA) in the first half but USC did worse (30% FGA and 14% 3PA). We ended the half ahead 33-28. SF Rick Coffey and PF Mat Hunter both scored 8 points for us. Hunter also pulled down 7 rebounds. 

We fell behind by 15 points midway through the second half as the result of combining horrible shooting together together with frequent turnovers. Nothing improved from there on and we took a depressing 75-60 loss. There’s no way to win when you only hit 31% of the FGA, 20% of your 3PA, and turn the ball over 17 times. To do that at home makes me sick, but USC is the best defensive team in the Pac-12. When the Trojans really clamped down defensively, we folded like a deck of cards during the first part of the 2nd half. 

SG Kenton Dunn scored 14 points and SF Rick Coffey added 13. USC’s C Courtney Sanders scored 16 while grabbing 10 rebounds.

So now we’re in a tie for last place with Stanford and Utah. Arizona, USC and Washington are tied for the lead with 3-0 records. Even though I've never had a migraine, I feel one coming on after this loss.



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Game #13: Colorado Buffaloes (8-4, 0-3) @ Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5, 1-2)

The Sun Devils are led by C Craig Jones who is averaging 19.3 ppg and 7.0 rpg. SG Travis Hawkins has scored 13.4 ppg. They’re the first team we’ve played this season who primarily employs a 3-2 zone, so we’ll see how we do against it.

We dropped behind by 13 early in the 2nd half and spent the rest of the half narrowing the deficit. Finally with 2-1/2 minutes left in the half PG Chris Smith cut around a screen and knocked down an 18 foot jumper that put us ahead 33-32. We then scored the final 7 points of the half so we had a 40-32 halftime advantage. Making 3 turnovers to Arizona State’s 10 factored into our moving into the lead. PG Matt Conley scored 11 points to lead all scorers.

We maintained a small lead throughout the 2nd half, but with 3 minutes remaining, Arizona State went ahead 61-60. Then after the Sun Devils picked off one of our passes and scored on a driving layup we trailed 65-62 with 2 minutes to play. After we called a timeout, SG Kenton Dunn sunk the 3 pointer that we set up and the game was tied. Arizona State countered with a 3 of their own with 1 minute left and then blocked our succeeding shot. Vee Kurtbek intercepted a pass and we called time out with 46 seconds on the clock. Our 3 point attempt was short but we rebounded and Mat Hunter hit a jumper from the free throw line to make it 68-67 in favor of the Sun Devils with just 35 seconds to go. We fouled but they converted both free throws to put us down by 3 with 26 seconds to play. We missed a 3 and Arizona State rebounded. We again fouled. They missed the first of a one-and-one but tipped in a rebound to put the game away and stick us with a 72-67 loss. We had our chances but couldn’t seal the deal. We, along with Stanford, remain winless in the Pac-12.

SG Kenton Dunn finished with 18 points, PF Mat Hunter had 13, and PG Matt Conley added 11. Arizona State’s SG Travis Hawkins scored 18 and C Craig Jones had 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Playing on the road, Utah edged #6 ranked California 73-69. #1 ranked Arizona travelled to Los Angeles and beat #19 ranked USC 80-68 and Washington knocked off #10 ranked UCLA so now just the Wildcats Huskies have won all their games in conference play.



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Surprise Visit Scheduled

 

Jacky has a conference to attend in Los Angeles so said she’d route her return through Denver so she could see me after the conference concludes.  To say I was overjoyed would be a lie.  I ran through a few different scenarios in my mind, but none stuck out as “THE” way to go, so I just decided I would play it by ear when the time comes.



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Game #14: Colorado Buffaloes (8-5, 0-4) @ Utah Utes (9-5, 1-3)

We held a very small lead throughout almost the entire first half but the Utes hit a couple late 3’s that gave them a 32-29 halftime edge. Leading our scoring was SF Charles Maors with 9 points. 

Utah expanded their lead to 10 points after just 3-3/4 minutes of play in the 2nd half. Dismal shooting on our part as well as a series of turnovers resulted in our dropping behind by 20 with 7-1/2 minutes to play. We never made a serious run and ended up with a lopsided 80-60 loss. 
SF Rick Coffey scored 12 points for us. 

Following the game, Camah Griffin complained that he should be playing more than Kenton Dunn. I spoke with Camah about it and he was defensive and then argumentative. I ended up suspending him for a week. Later I reflected on my actions and wondered if I would have been so quick to suspend a player for what Camah did or if I would have cut the player a little slack. Hopefully the pressure isn’t getting to me.

#13 Oregon travelled to Los Angeles and upset #9 UCLA 76-66. While Arizona continues to be on top of the conference standings, surprisingly Washington and Oregon State are tied for 2nd place with 4-1 conference records.

When we got back to Boulder, Jake Meacolm, our AD called me into his office and led off by saying, “Coach, not only are we winless but we’re dead last in the conference now and have a worse conference record that we had at this point last season. I’m not happy and the alumni are not happy. What’s the problem?” I responded that I still thought we had a better team than last season, but that I also was disappointed in our play thus far. But turning a team into a winner is a process, not a snap your fingers and things are better type of thing. His reply was, “That may be the case, but you need to speed up the process. We brought you in to fix a problem and we need to see progress.”

With #1 ranked Arizona visiting later this week and then back-to-back games against #13 Oregon, I have my doubts that he’s going to see immediate “progress”.






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