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

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#481

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Game #3: DePaul Blue Demons (2-1) @ Colorado Buffaloes (2-0)

We hit 66% of our shots and out-rebounded the Blue Demons 19-7 in the first half and ran away to a 52-30 halftime lead. C Ryan Erickson scored 13, SF Rick Coffey hit for 12 points plus had 3 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks, and SG Kenton Dunn tossed in 11 points.

The second half was much like the first. We crushed the Blue Demons 80-59 as we outshot DePaul 48% to 40% an controlled the boards 39-24. 

SG Kenton Dunn topped our scoring with 19 points. C Ryan Erickson had 15 points and 8 rebounds. SF Rick Coffey finished with 12 points.

In other games for Pac-12 teams, Arizona which has dropped to #18 in the polls, had another close call, edging Toledo 70-68 in round 1 of the Heroes Memorial Tournament, Stanford which is now #15 in the polls dropped San Jose 79-64, Utah which is ranked #23 topped Colgate 77-64, and #4 ranked Oregon annihilated Chattanooga 84-41. On the following two nights, Arizona topped Florida State 75-67 and Georgia 74-58 to win the tournament. A day later, #4 ranked Oregon stomped #2 ranked North Carolina 88-56.



#482

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More team discord:

One of my assistant coaches mentioned how Matt Hunter and Camah Griffin were arguing before practice. Their argument wasn’t extensive and both seemed to put things aside once practice started. Man, the team is doing well and these two yayhoos gotta keep sniping at each other. Rather than hollering at them or suspending them again, I decided to take no action about this at this time since the argument appeared not to be to severe and didn’t extend beyond the short period when they were arguing. But I intend to keep track of how they behave toward each other and their teammates and if they can’t get their act together, I’m ready to take whatever action is necessary.



#483

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Game #4 (round 1 of Alaskan Classic Tournament): 6th seed Colorado Buffaloes (3-0) vs 3rd seed Memphis Tigers (3-0) 

Memphis runs a slow-paced offense and has held opponents to the 3rd lowest scoring average in Division I basketball this season.

The Tigers’ defense kept us off balance and prevented our players from taking good shots. With 9 minutes left if the first half we trailed 18-11 and had hit just 20% of our shots. Then PG Chris Smith shook us out of our doldrums offensively and our defense clamped down. We tied the game at 22-22 with 5-1/2 minutes remaining in the half. C Jacob Anderson was fouled as he tried to put back an offensive rebound and sunk both free throws with 5 minutes on the clock to give us a 24-22 lead. We then ground our way to a 37-26 halftime advantage. We held Memphis’ shooting to 36% while raising our shooting percentage to 42% and we forced the Tigers into 13 turnovers while making 8 ourselves. PG Chris Smith knocked down 5 of 7 FG’s including 3 of 5 from 3 point land and finished the half with 14 points.

SG Kenton Dunn who had been on the bench most of the first half due to foul trouble, took charge of our offense in the 2nd half. Our defense continued to stymie the Tigers and with 9:16 to play we had jumped out to a 58-37 lead. From there we held on to win convincingly 73-56. We did well by scoring more than 20 points than their previous opponents had been averaging and scoring 62 points in the last 30 minutes of the game.

SG Kenton Dunn topped our scoring with 16 points with PG Chris Smith adding 14.



#484

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Game #5 (Semifinals of Alaskan Classic Tournament): 6th seed Colorado Buffaloes (4-0) vs 2nd seed Texas Longhorns (3-0)

Texas edged Tennessee 76-69 in the opening round of this tournament. We’ll see how we do against their 1-3-1 zone defense. Since Rick Coffey has not been shooting well, I decide to start Kenton Dunn at the 3 and Steve Jackson at the 2 and start Charles Maors at the 4 hoping he will hit some shots from the corners.

We had 5 fouls called against us in the first 3 minutes of play. We trailed in the game until PG Chris Smith hit a 3 with 7 minutes remaining in the first half to put us on top 30-27. Defenses be damned the rest of the half! Both teams peppered the basket with Texas sporting a slim 48-46 lead at the break. Texas hit 59% of their shots and we put 52% of ours in the basket. SG Kenton Dunn scored 17 points in the half for us. Texas’ C Terrance Nesland scored 12 and their PG Adam Burton hit for 10.

Texas maintained a small lead until Kenton Dunn worked his way inside and put in a six foot jumper on which he was fouled. He converted the 3 point play to put us ahead 60-58 with 10:45 left in the game. The lead shifted back and forth over the next 7 minutes but was more in favor of Texas than us. With 3:39 remaining we tied the game at 77-77 when PG Chris Smith sunk 2 free throws. Trailing by 4 points, Rick Coffey chipped in a 3 from the left corner to make the score 82-81 in favor of Texas with 37 seconds to play. We tried forcing a turnover but had to foul with 12 seconds to go. Texas missed the first of a one-and-one and we rebounded. We brought it up court and called a time out. On the ensuing play Chris Smith cut around a screen and the key from where he put up a shot from 8 feet even though he was double teamed. His shot went off the front of the rim but he was fouled on the shot. With 3 seconds on the clock, Chris made the first to tie the game. Pandemonium reigned as he toed the line for his 2nd shot. Smith lofted the free throw and the ball seemed to hang in the air…before dropping cleaning through the net. We led by a single point. Texas called a time out and I put my best defenders on the court. We deployed a full court man-to-man press. The Longhorns still got just past half court and put up a 3 as the buzzer was about to sound. The shot was long, hitting the backboard but then bounding down toward the basket and hitting the front lip before bouncing back and away. We had escaped with an extremely hard-fought, come-from-behind 83-82 victory. During the game there were 17 lead changes and 8 ties. 

SG Kenton Dunn scored 22 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. PF/SF Charles Maors put in 14 points and C Jacob Anderson came off the bench to add 11 points.

Our comebacks in the first and second halves and then in the final minute of this game showed that even when we go up against a team with highly talented players, we are hungry and scrappy enough to claw our way back and figure out ways to win.

After our win over Texas, we jump into the Top 25 in the polls…ranked #16 in the nation. This is rarefied ground for me since even though I had some good teams at Youngstown State, being n the Horizon League kept us from ever cracking into the Top 25.



#485

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Game #6 (Championship of the Alaskan Classic Tournament): 6th seed #16 ranked Colorado Buffaloes (5-0) vs 1st seed #10 ranked Virginia Cavaliers (5-0)

Virginia runs a fast-paced offense and is a high scoring team (11th highest scoring average nationally at 83.8 ppg) with beefy interior players who dominate the boards and get lots of blocks. Whereas we needed to speed up the tempo against Memphis in the first round of the tourney, we need to do the opposite in this game. The Cavaliers starting guards, Kevin Harrell and Johnnie Stokes, are averaging 22.0 and 15.2 ppg, respectively. Shutting down their outside game will be tough.

Turnovers and fouls are our nemesis in the first half. 11 turnovers and sending the Cavaliers to the line 14 times where they converted 13 free throws resulted in Virginia holding a 38-30 halftime lead. Following his one game demotion from the starting lineup, SF Rick Coffey returned to lead our scoring with 10 points. 

Virginia has a tough time scoring against our defense in the 2nd half, and even though our shooting isn’t all that great, we narrow the Cavaliers’ lead to 54-53 with 10-1/2 minutes to play. Virginia then goes on a run that opens an 11 point lead with 8 minutes left. But with 5-3/4 minutes on the clock we have come back to trail by only a 2 at 68-66. With 3:34 to go we’re still down by just 2, and the crowd is backing us as the underdog. Then with 2:17 on the clock, PG Matt Conley calmly sinks two free throws to tie it at 74-74. After falling behind by 2 again, we call a time out with a minute to go and set up a pick and roll on which Matt Dunn is able to score on a 12 foot jumper to again tie the game. Virginia misses and we rebound. Rick Coffey’s shot is blocked but Chris Smith recovers the ball and Kenton Dunn puts up a shot that rims out. Vefa Kurtbak pulls down a huge offensive rebound with 20 seconds remaining. I try to call a time out, but Kurtbak swings the ball out to Dunn who puts it right back up and it goes in off the backboard. With 14 seconds we’re on top 78-76 and Virginia calls a time out. The Cavaliers move the ball around trying to find an open shot and then kick it way out to their PG Johnnie Stokes who puts up a 30 foot shot as time expires. Agonizingly the ball floats up and then down through hoop with the buzzer sounding to send us to an agonizing 79-78 defeat . So we get a taste of what Texas experienced at our hands the previous night, and yes, it’s bitter.

We really cleaned up our act in the 2nd half, making just 2 turnovers. Even though it would have been great to be champions, overall we had a very successful tournament. I’m proud of how our guys did against some strong teams.

SF Rick Coffey and SG Kenton Dunn both scored 14 with Coffey grabbing 7 rebounds and getting 3 assists, a steal and a block and Dunn hauling down 5 boards and having a steal and 2 blocks. PF Vefa Kurtbek had 11 points and PF/SF Charles Maors added 10 points. PG Johnnie Stokes finished with 20 points for Virginia, but we held SG Kevin Harrell to just 6 points. The Cavaliers’ C Wu-han Dai scored 13 and had 12 rebounds.

In the Palmetto Shootout, 4th seed #20 ranked California bested Butler 77-51, knocked off 1st seed #9 ranked Florida 64-53, and took care of 2nd seed #14 ranked Pittsburgh 73-62 to be crowned champions.



#486

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Game #7: Bradley Braves (1-2) at #16 Colorado Buffaloes (5-1)

Bradley’s two losses have been on the road to Louisville and 5th ranked Indiana, so their record isn’t necessarily indicative of their capabilities and their 85.3 ppg that’s been averaged by opponents is skewed by the quality of the teams they’ve played. SG Jonte Lee, who has averaged 20.0 ppg, sustained a sprained wrist in the last game and is unlikely to play against us. 

Our offense clicked and we pulled away to a 24-13 lead midway through the first half. We continue to build out lead by the end of the half we’re in control by a 42-22 score. We hit 50% of our shots, scored 16 points on fast breaks, and held a 14-5 turnover advantage. SG Kenton Dunn was on fire, scoring 12 points, pulling down 7 rebounds, and getting 2 assists and 3 steals. The Braves SG Calvin Frederick scored 10 points.

Our defense went to sleep in the 2nd half and we let Bradley get within 12 points but still won the game by a final score of 84-70.

SG Kenton Dunn finished with 24 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and a block. SF Rick Coffey put 16 points on the board, and PF/SF Charles Maors scored 11. For Bradley, C Marcus Hanavan scored 19 while also grabbing 7 rebounds.

Elsewhere within the Pac-12, #2 Oregon romped to an 81-57 stomping of Western Carolina, #17 Utah whipped Wisconsin 86-74, and #21 Stanford knocked off South Dakota 71-61. #6 ranked Arizona travelled to Gainesville and lost to #9 Florida 64-63 when the Gators scored the last 4 points of the game.

In our tune-up for Pac-12 play, our next 4 games include games against teams from the ACC, Southeastern Conference, Big 10, and Big Twelve teams. Those 4 teams have a combined 18-4 record thus far so should be good challenges for us.



#487

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Game #8: Auburn Tigers (3-2) at #16 Colorado Buffaloes (6-1)

Auburn likes a slow pace of play. They have a win against Iowa (which was ranked #19 at that time and is unranked now) and a loss to Arizona (which was ranked #18 at that time and is now ranked #6 in the country). Points for the Tigers are dispersed amongst not only their starting 5 but also 6 reserves with no player averaging in double figures. 

Auburn’s SF Harold Avery hit two 3-pointers from nearly identical spots on the floor to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead in less than a minute of play. Fortunately he picked up his 2nd personal foul with 16:19 left in the first half. But by them we were down 8-0. We finally scored 7 seconds later. Matt Conley found Kenton Dunn open outside and he hit the 3 to tie the game at 13-13 with 9:45 left in the half. Charles Maors hit a running baseline jumper 30 seconds later to give us our first lead at 15-13. 3 minutes later we completed a 14-0 run that left us ahead by 9 points. Our dominance continued and by the end of the half we were ahead 33-18. We outshot Auburn 46% to 20%. SG Kenton Dunn scored 12 points and SF Rick Coffey had 6 points and 9 rebounds.

Both teams had mini runs in the 2nd half. Midway through the half we opened a 20 point lead but then let the Tigers chip away and with 2:42 remaining, Auburn trailed by just 6 points. We then shut the Tigers down and came away with a 73-62 victory. 

PG Matt Conley topped our scoring with 17 points and also handed out 7 assists. SG Kenton Dunn scored 17 plus had 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. SF Rick Coffee had a double-double (12 points and 13 rebounds). SG Steve Jackson hit for 11 points.

Our ranking edged up to 15th in the polls and our RPI is now 9th highest in the country. We’re averaging 79.5 ppg while our opponents have averaged 67.6 ppg.



#488

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Steve Porter: Boosting Coach Durst

For a guy who never lived outside Youngstown, getting used to a new city hasn’t been entirely easy even though Boulder isn’t all that big. But I’ve been here a little over a month now and the area is beginning to feel more like home all the time. I did cross-country skiing in Ohio, but have now tried downhill skiing and it’s a rush!

I’m very grateful to Coach Durst for helping me get this job with the athletic department. I’ve been working on developing the basis for a national story that might be picked up by Sports Illustrated about how Coach Durst is a turn-around guru. Their record thus far is providing a good basis for the piece, particularly since their only loss was by a single point to Virginia, which is now ranked #6 in the polls. I’m still putting it all together but want to hold back trying to get it picked up to see how things go for the Buffaloes early in conference play.



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Game #9: Florida State Seminoles (6-1) at #15-ranked Colorado Buffaloes (7-1)

Florida State comes into this game as a slight favorite. Their only loss was to #5-ranked Arizona, but the Seminoles beat #22-ranked Temple.

Sloppy play early caused a bunch of turnovers by both teams. Neither team could pull away, but when Chris Smith drove down the key between defenders and scored on an underhanded layup that eluded the arms of two defenders putting us ahead 11-10, our home crowd went crazy forcing Florida State to call a time out with 12:38 remaining in the first half. While offensive continued to falter, our defense sizzled. With 5 minutes left in the half we led 21-12. When the half ends, our lead is 27-19. Both teams hit less than 30% of their shots. PF/SF Charles Maors and SF Rick Coffey both scored 6 points.

With 16:57 on the clock in the 2nd half and us leading 30-23, Steve Jones, Florida State’s head coach, got tagged with a technical. But we only hit 1 of 2 shots so didn’t gain much from it. But fortunately it didn’t light a fire under the Seminoles. We subsequently opened a 12 point lead. By the mid point of the hall, we led 49-27. Steve Jones got called for a 2nd T at the 3:41 mark which sent him to the locker room with the Seminoles trailing 59-38. His action spurred his team to cut our lead to 13 before we stopped their comeback. We finished with a 68-50 thrashing of Florida State. Our biggest advantage was our 43-32 control of the boards.

C Ryan Erickson scored 13 and grabbed 9 rebounds. SF Rick Coffey finished with 12 points and 8 boards.

INJURY: SG Kenton Dunn sustained a strained knee and is likely to be out of action for a week.

Two big games for Pac-12 teams today: 

#5 ranked Arizona journeyed to take on #3 ranked North Carolina and came away with an impressive 69-59 victory over the Tar Heels.
Unranked Arizona State was on the road to take on #6 ranked Virginia and after trailing by as much as 12 points, pulled close at the end of the game. The Sun Devils dropped in a 15 foot jumper just before the buzzer sounded ending the game, thus scoring a surprising 78-77 upset.

We only played one game this week, but that win didn’t keep us from dropping one spot in the polls to #16. I think it’s still probably higher than we should be ranked. Other ranked Pac-12 teams are: Oregon-#2, Arizona-#3, California-#9, UCLA-#14, and Utah-#18.



#490

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Game #10: Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-1) @ #16-ranked Colorado Buffaloes (8-1)

Steve Jackson will start at SG in place of injured Kenton Dunn. 

We started well and our crowd got into it early. That forced Minnesota to call a time out after just 5 minutes of play when we had an 11-5 lead. We maintained our lead and with 6 minutes remaining in the half we were on top by 11 at 30-19. When the half ended we led 40-30 even though we only hit 35% of our FG attempts. Leading our scoring were SG Chris Smith with 11 points and PF/SF Charles Maors with 10 points. Minnesota’s C Rasheed Goulsby scored 10 points.

Minnesota hit 3’s on their first 3 possessions of the 2nd half to cut our lead to 42-39. With 9 minutes remaining our lead was a single point. With a 2 point lead with 3 minutes remaining, we went on an 8-0 run in the next 90 seconds that gave us some breathing room. We came away with a 75-68 victory. The Golden Gophers outshot us 44% to 36%, but we held an 18-8 turnover advantage. But an unimpressive as it was, a win is a win.

SF Rick Coffey bailed us out in the 2nd half and finished with 21 points. PG/SG Matt Conley hit for 17, PG Chris Smith scored 13, and PF/SF Charles Maors dropped in 12.

SG Chris Smith’s back was sore after the game. He’s going to sit out practices but we expect him to be ready for our next game. SG Kenton Dunn should be available to play as well, but the play time for both players may be limited.

We continued to win, but for a second straight week, DESCEND in the polls, dropping to #19.



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Game #11: Missouri Tigers (5-2) at #19 Colorado Buffaloes (9-1)

The Tigers are the 3rd highest scoring team in the nation, averaging 83.4 ppg and outscoring their opponents by an average of nearly 15 ppg. Four of their starters are averaging in double figures. They also are averaging just 10.2 turnovers a game, which is the 2nd fewest by any team in Division I play and have forced their opponents to turn the ball over 17.9 a game.

Kenton Dunn and Chris Smith are healthy once again and will both start at the guard positions for us.

Missouri’s C Russell Horan scores their first 9 points while our C Ryan Erickson scores our first 6 points and the Tigers lead us 9-6 after just 3 minutes of play. An 8-0 run puts us on top 28-17 with 6:40 remaining in the first half. Hot shooting allows us to quickly expand our lead to 40-23 with 3-1/2 minutes left to the break. We continue to shred the silk and finish the half with a commanding 52-27 lead. We outshot the Tigers 56% to 30% and out-rebounded them 22-12. C Ryan Erickson and SG Steve Jackson both score 15 for us.

The tide turns in the 2nd half as Missouri catches fire to reduce our lead to just 5 at 62-57 with 9-1/2 minutes to play. With 4-1/2 minutes remaining we’re up by just 3 points. Missouri takes a 75-74 lead with 2:25 on the clock. Then they cash in on a 3 with 2 minutes left to go ahead 78-74. We call a timeout and get the ball inside to Ryan Erickson for a reverse layup that cuts the Tigers lead to 2. On our next possession Erickson is fouled but can only make 1 of 2 so we trail 78-77 with 1:22 on the clock. After both teams miss shots, Erickson partially blocks a shot and we recover the ball and call a time out with 15 seconds to play. Our designed play is broken up but Chris Smith gets the ball inside to Erickson who again puts the ball in the hoop to put us ahead 79-78 with 11 seconds to go. The Tigers call a time out and we put our best defenders on the court. Missouri brings the ball up court quickly and puts up a jumper from the free throw line, but Charles Maors tips the shot away and Vefa Kurtbek recovers the ball as time expires. In a game we seemed to have sewn up at the half, we are totally outplayed in the 2nd half and barely escape with a 79-78 win. We turn the ball over 20 times while Missouri has 14 turnovers. Making up for our turnover problems, we have a 40-34 rebounding advantage and a 47% to 41% shooting advantage.

Topping our scoring is SG Steve Smith with 21 points while C Ryan Erickson has 20 and PG Chris Smith adds 12 points and 7 assists. Even though, like the rest of our team, Ryan Erickson didn’t play well throughout most of the 2nd half, he came up big and saved our bacon in the final two minutes, scoring all 5 points for us and blocking a shot.

We’re going to have a team meeting tomorrow to impress upon our guys that even when they have a big lead, they can’t just call it in during the 2nd half and have a total let-down like happened tonight. With the momentum the Tigers built up, we were lucky to be able to pull this one out. After letting Missouri score 51 points in the first 18 minutes of the 2nd half, we finally woke up defensively to hold them scoreless in the final 2 minutes.

In other games for Pac-12 teams, Arizona took their #3 ranking to Syracuse to take on the #7 ranked Orange. The Wildcats came out on the short end of a 87-79 score when they let Syracuse hit 50% of their FG attempts including 55% of their 3’s. All 5 Syracuse starters scored in double figures. #6 ranked UCLA hosted #21 ranked Ohio State and crushed the Buckeyes 81-53. UCLA’s C Jamal Magloire scored 39 and had 16 rebounds. #17 ranked Utah dropped a 74-63 decision when they journeyed to take on unranked Purdue. Cal which is 14th ranked hosted and clobbered San Jose State 84-52. #2 ranked Oregon traveled to take on Kentucky and maintained their unbeaten record with a slim 70-69 victory.

Later in the week, Arizona and Utah reversed their fortunes with Arizona stomping Gonzaga 80-48 and Utah blasting Alabama A&M 87-62. #24 ranked and previously unbeaten Washington won 2 games this week but then picked up their first loss when then traveled to take on Temple and lost 84-74.



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Conference Play Begins


We finish pre-conference play with a 10-1 record. We’re ranked #20 in the Media Poll and #22 in the Coaches Poll and have a totally unrealistic #2 RPI ranking. Other Pac-12 teams ranked in the Media Poll are: Oregon which is #1, UCLA ranked #4, Arizona at #5, California which is #14, Utah which is in the #17 position, and Washington ranked #24. The brutal Pac-12 schedule will likely drop some of these teama out of the top 25. While we’re #2 in the RPI rankings, UCLA is #1, Oregon is #3 , Arizona is #5, and California is #7.

Here are Pac-12 team records thus far:


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Our conference schedule has more home games early and more away games late, so we have to get off to a good start if we are to hope we can finish in the top half of the standings.

Colorado Buffaloes player stats thus far:


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#493

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Game #12: Oregon State Beavers (5-4, 0-0) @ #20 Colorado Buffaloes (10-1, 0-0)

The Beavers have a plodding offense and have been most successful when they can control the tempo and slow down their opponent. We will try to speed things up to keep them off-balance.

Oregon State took a 10-8 lead with their SG Jamaal Darden scoring 8 of those points, but he then got tagged with his 2nd personal foul. We then went on a 12-2 run. We shot well (59%) and cruised to a 46-32 halftime advantage. SG Kenton Dunn scored 11 and C Ryan Erickson had 10 for us.

The Beavers quickly trimmed our lead to 9 points early in the 2nd half and then with 6-1/2 minutes to play got within 5 at 62-57. We responded with a scoring outburst that put us ahead 74-59 with 3:43 to play. We then closed out with an 80-68 triumph. We hit 54% of our FG’s while Oregon State shot 41%. We also held a 14-8 turnover advantage. So while overall we played well, our play was inconsistent against one of the weaker teams in the conference.

PG Chris Smith and C Ryan Erickson both scored 14. SG Steve Jackson continued to be the sparkplug we need coming off the bench as he scored 12 points. SG Kenton Dunn and SF Rick Coffey both hit for 11 points with Coffey grabbing 9 rebounds and Dunn getting 6 boards and 4 assists as well as 2 steals and a block. PF/SF Charles Maors added 10 points. Four Beavers scored 11 points each and another scored 10.

Results of other Pac-12 games:

#5 Arizona (89) @ Washington St. (49)
#4 UCLA (90) @ Arizona St. (82) (OT)
#14 California (82) @ #1 Oregon (68)—whoa! huge upset by Cal on the road to pin first loss on the Ducks!
USC (69) @ Stanford (83)
#24 Washington (93) @ #17 Utah (69)—big upset by the Huskies on the road



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Game #13: #14 California Golden Bears (10-2, 1-0) @ #20 Colorado Buffaloes (11-1, 1-0)

A second straight home game, but the level of the competition increased exponentially. So much so that we are rated as distinct underdogs against the Golden Bears. Cal is very strong defensively. They’re opponents are averaging just 61.1 ppg while the Golden Bears have been scoring 72.9 ppg thus far this season. After being on probation for recruiting violations, Cal is still on probation and can not participate in post-season tournaments for 2 more seasons and can not recruit for 3 more seasons. So doing well in Pac-12 play is their entire focus. Their only losses this year have been on the road to #15 ranked North Carolina and #2 ranked Kansas. They’ve defeated #1 ranked Oregon (a road game for Cal earlier this week which they won 82-68), #12 ranked Pittsburgh, #13 ranked Florida, and #22 ranked Oklahoma State. SG Mario Burleston is concluding his outstanding collegiate career by averaging 17.0 ppg. SF Jesse Hebert has been a mainstay for the team the past 3 seasons and is averaging 12.7 ppg and 5.8 rpg. The Coors Events Center will be filled to the rafters for this game including a sizeable contingent of Cal fans.

SG Kenton Dunn scored our first 7 points and we sprinted out to a 12-3 lead in the first 4 minutes of play. But with 8:44 left in the half, Cal had overtaken us by a 19-13 score. We tied the game at 19-19 with 2 minutes later. Cal’s quickness gave us fits and we slipped behind again. We rallied late in the half to trail by just a 36-34 score at the end of the half. Our starting guards, Chris Smith and Kenton Dunn both scored 7 points. SG Mario Burleston scored 11 and SF Jesse Herbert added 10 for the Golden Bears. We only hit 33% of our shots, so needed to improve on that in the 2nd half.

Burleston and Hebert spurred Cal to a 12 point lead after 4 minutes of play in the 2nd half. Then Vefa Kurtbek and Kenton Dunn got us back in the game. With 13:08 to go we were within 3 at 49-46. The Golden Bears moved ahead by 8 but we reeled them back in and Chris Smith hit a 12 foot baseline jumper and the subsequent free throw to make the score 58-57 in favor of Cal with 8:49 remaining. Kenton Dunn then rattled down a shot with 8 minutes left to lift us into a 59-58 lead. The Golden Bears took a small lead. But SF Rick Coffey and SG Steve Jackson hit consecutive 3’s and PF Charles Maors dropped in a contested baseline shot and was fouled and made the shot as we surged to a 78-69 lead with 1:21 to go. The rattled Golden Bears then threw the ball away and we hit 3 of 4 free throws to expand our lead to 12 with just a minute left. We went on to upset California 84-71. We hit 60% of our shots in the 2nd half and ended up dominating the boards 41-29.

PG Chris Smith popped in 19 points, PF/SF Charles Maors hit for 15 with Maors and also grabbed 10 rebounds, SG Kenton Dunn finished with 13 points, PF Vefa Kurtbek and SG Steve Jackson both scored 11, C Ryan Erickson had 7 points and 11 rebouinds, and SF Rick Coffey scored 8 and pulled down 10 boards. SG Mario Burleston led all scorers with 20 points for California and he also had 3 steals and 5 blocks.

The way we out-played California in the final 10 minutes of the game was impressive. Our guys were just not to be denied.

Results of other Pac-12 games:

#5 ranked Arizona-95, #17 ranked Utah-76
Arizona State-67, USC-57
#4 ranked UCLA-76, Washington State-37
#1 ranked Oregon-73, #24 ranked Washington-59
Stanford-86, Oregon State-56

Following the first week of conference play in the Media Poll Oregon is #2, UCLA is #4, Arizona is #6, Cal is #13, Colorado is #19, Utah is #22, Washington is #23, and Stanford is #25.



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Game #14: #19 Colorado Buffaloes (12-1, 2-0) @ USC Trojans (5-6, 0-2)

We’ll be up against a 2-3 zone when we take on the Trojans. USC’s leading scorer is SG Brendan Trilli who is averaging 13.6 ppg while PG Dennis Evans averages 11.0 ppg. While USC’s record is unimpressive, we still have to elevate our game if we want to come away with a win on the road.

Our defense was sound early in the first half, but during the middle portion of the half we let the Trojans score from all over the court. With 7 minutes remaining, USC led 32-18 and had hit over 60% of their shots. At that point, the refs had yet to call a foul on the Trojans while 6 fouls had been assessed against us. Although we were able to reduce their FG% to 52%, we only connected on 31% of our shots so could make no headway and ended up trailing 41-27 at the break. PG Matt Conley led our scoring with 8 points. USC’s scoring was topped by SG Brendan Trilli with 11 points.

In the 2nd half, we continually cut a little into the Trojans’ lead but could never made a serious run because our shooting was so poor. With the refs continuing to send the Trojans to the line and not call fouls on them, my protestations final resulted in a technical foul being called on me. We reduced USC’s shooting percentage for the game to 44% but we hit just 39%. And the Trojans scored 17 more points at the line. We ended up with a disappointing 82-66 loss. So ultimately, those 17 extra points at the line were the difference in the game.

Our leading scorer was SG Kenton Dunn with 16 points. SG Steve Jackson peppered the basket for 15. SF Rick Coffey hit for 13. For USC, SG Brendan Trilli finished with 24 points and 8 rebounds and PG Dennis Evans added 17.

Steve Jackson mouthed off after the game, complaining that he wasn’t getting enough playing time because the coaches favored Kenton Dunn too much. Steve HAS been our most prolific scorer when he’s been on the court. So rather than tear into him as I like to do, I sit down with him and listen to his concerns and let him know that I’ll try to get him more playing time but that his scoring coming off the bench is important for us. Then I tell him that complaining to others will do him no good and will result in disciplinary action if it continues. My feeling is that he’s still not happy, but we’ll see if he can keep from repeating his mistake.

Other Pac-12 results tonight:

#13 California-82, #6 Arizona-68
#22 Utah-85, Arizona State-77
#23 Washington-76, #25 Stanford-64
#4 UCLA-72, Oregon State-60
#2 Oregon-66, Washington State-60

Now only UCLA is undefeated in conference play, so our 2-1 record ties us with 5 other teams for 2nd place.



#496

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Game #15: Arizona State Sun Devils (8-4, 1-2) @ #19 Colorado Buffaloes (12-2, 2-1)

Arizona State likes using a 3-2 zone. Whereas we lost to #12 ranked Virginia by a point, the Sun Devils beat Virginia by a point. PG Travis Hawkins is averaging 16.2 ppg, but C Jeremy Totten who is averaging 12.8 ppg has shot extremely well, so I’d like to limit his scoring chances. During my tenure at Colorado, we have only won 1 of 5 games against Arizona State. Time to turn that around! We’ll be without the services of PG Matt Conley who fell in practice and has a sore wrist.

It took the Sun Devils 4 minutes to score their first basket but we only had 5 points by that time. We out-rebounded Arizona State 19-12 in the half. By doing so we were able to achieve a 34-25 advantage in the score at the break even though we only hit 41% of our shots. SG Kenton Dunn dropped in 12 points.

Our double digit lead was cut to 7 with 12 minutes to play. We then went on a sustained run throughout the remainder of the game. We finished with a 78-55 beatdown of Arizona State to remain in a tie for 2nd place in the Pac-12.

SG Kenton Dunn scored 14, C Ryan Erickson had 13, PG Chris Smith added 12, and coming off the bench SG Steve Jackson scored 10 and Camah Griffin, filling in at PG, added 9. Four of our players (SF Rick Coffey, PF Vefa Kurtbek, C Ryan Erickson, and PF/SF Charles Maors) had 7 rebounds each. C Ryan Erickson blocked 5 shots. PG Travis Hawkins scored 22 points for Arizona State.

In other Pac-12 contests today:

#13 California-70, #22 Utah-54
#6 Arizona-67, USC-44
#2 Oregon-109, #25 Stanford-100 (OT)
Washington State-71, Oregon State-63
#4 UCLA-82, #23 Washington -62

We’re now ranked #18 in the country and our RPI is #7.



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Game #16: #25 Utah Utes (10-5, 2-2) @ #18 Colorado Buffaloes (13-2, 3-1)

Utah is rather similar to us with possibly a little more overall talent. They’re a little more oriented to scoring inside than us with their two big men starters, Mark Wall and Jeff Odle, scoring 16.5 and 12.1 ppg, respectively and backup Marc Fife averaging 8.3 ppg. PF Matt Hunter sprained his wrist so will miss this game and one or two more.

Defensively, Utah kicked our butts early in the first half. After 16 minutes of play we were hitting just 17% of our shots and trailed 29-18. But we finished the half with a 16-0 run that left us a with a 34-29 halftime lead. Even with our offensive explosion in the final 4 minutes we still were hitting just 35% of out FG attempts. But we had reduced the Utes’ shooting to 37%. C Ryan Erickson topped our scoring with 8 points. While SF Rick Coffey had been held scoreless, defensively he had a steal and 4 blocks.

Back to back 3’s by Charles Maors and Rick Coffey gave us a 42-32 cushion with 17:15 to play and forced Utah to call a timeout. But it was an uncomfortable cushion as Utah cut our lead to 4 with 13 minutes to go as our shooting woes continued. Then with 4:27 remaining, Utah closed to within 56-53. With 30 seconds to go we led 65-61 but Utah was forced to foul and Charles Maors drilled both free throws to put us up by 6. We were able to hold on for a 69-63 win. Even though we held a 17-9 turnover advantage, Utah controlled the boards 38-30 and outshot us 41% to 35%. Had it not been for the refs calling a boatload of fouls against Utah so that we scored 21 more points on free throws that Utah, our miserable offensive effort would have led to a defeat. I was surprised that Brian Cunningham, the Utah head coach, didn’t get called for a technical given that the refs called 28 fouls on the Utes and only 10 on us. Rest assured that I never said one thing to the refs the entire game.

SG Steve Jackson came off the bench to contribute 15 points. PF/SF Charles Maors had 14, SG Kenton Dunn scored 12, C Ryan Erickson hit for 10, and SF Rick Coffey finished with 7 points, 1 steal and 5 blocks.

Tonight’s other Pac-12 results:
#11 California-69, USC-53
#6 Arizona-79, Arizona State-68
#21 Washington-78, Oregon State-59
Stanford-77, Washington State-70
#3 Oregon-86, #2 UCLA-79 (OT)—First conference loss by UCLA dropped them into a tie for 1st place

We’re now in a 5 way tie for first place in the Pac-12, bunched together with #2 UCLA, #3 Oregon, #6 Arizona, and #11 California with #21 Washington a game behind.

I’ve been trying to control expectations with our fans. While what we’ve done so far this season is impressive, the rest of our schedule will be a real test. We now enter what I call “Hell Week-and-a-Half” when we play Oregon twice and Arizona once, 2 of the 3 best teams in the conference and nation (the other being UCLA which we don’t play until the end of the season).



#498

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Steve Porter

The success of our basketball program allowed me to put together a story about our basketball team and extolling the virtues of Coach KD Durst. While I got no by-line or recognition, the following article that ran in Basketball Illustrated Magazine was basically mine. I was just happy to be able to get it out and Scott Kraemer was happy to get a piece he could get published with little effort:

BUFFALO CHIPS NO LONGER
By Scott Kraemer

The Colorado Buffaloes basketball team had long been one of the weak sisters in the Pac-12. They consistently finished near or at the bottom of the conference standings. Other Pac-12 teams looked at games against the Buffaloes as a way of fattening their records and moving up in the conference standings. Defensively they were abysmal, and offensively they probably would have done better had they been lobbing up buffalo chips at the basket.

Then nearly 3 years ago they reached out to Ohio to pull Kendrick “KD” Durst away from Youngstown State University, a team that prior to Durst’s coming in as head coach had been as woeful as Colorado. Durst immediately began to create respectability for YSU Penguins basketball by extricating them from the depths of the Horizon League. His first two seasons were building years, but the team still was good enough to win about half their games. Then came 5 straight seasons of stellar play when the Penguins won well over 20 games each season and were at the top of the Horizon League standings each year. During those 5 outstanding seasons at Youngstown State, Durst compiled a 122-41 record and took the team to the NCAA tournament 3 times and the NIT tournament twice. The team won the NIT Tournament the final year Durst was with them.

When Colorado came courting, is it any wonder Durst opted to leave the rust belt and move to Boulder, a jewel of a college town at the foot of the Rockies? No matter how good a team he could construct in the Horizon League, there was little likelihood of much success once they got to the NCAA Tournament. Even though Colorado’s recruiting budget is far below almost all other Pac-12 programs, it still is lightyears beyond what Youngstown State could ever provide.

During his first season with Colorado, Durst had just nine players (including walkons) who were eligible to play. No one would be a miracle worker with what Durst inherited and the team finished with a 7-21 record. But last season Colorado moved up in the conference standings, was good enough to get a berth in the CIT Tournament, and finished with a 16-14 record. This season Durst’s team has made giant strides. They presently have a 14-2 overall record and are 4-1 in the Pac-12, which puts them in a tie for first place. Pac-12 team can no longer continue to look at them as patsies. The team is ranked 18th in both the Media Poll and the Coaches Poll and their RPI is 7th best in Division I.

Colorado University Athletic Director Jake Meacolm said, “I knew I was getting a head coach who could turn our previously moribund basketball program around. The Buffaloes are “movin’ on up”, so everybody just better watch out.”

Coach Durst was more sanguine, saying “I’m really pleased how our players have responded and ratcheted up their game. But we still have a long way to go. There are several teams in the Pac-12 that have far greater overall talent levels than do we. We have to get up for each and every game since any Pac-12 team is capable of inflicting a loss on us on any given night.”

No matter how the rest of the season goes for the Buffaloes, their trajectory is definitely upward. And it appears that their recruiting efforts this season have yielded some good future players for Colorado, thus portending even greater success in the future. Obviously, Coach KD Durst is developing a reputation as a coach who can quickly turn around programs and build them into perennial contenders. Colorado’s fans have certainly recognized this as attendance at home games continues to rise quickly as fans realize this Buffalo herd gives stompings rather than leaving buffalo chips.



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Game #17: #18 Colorado Buffaloes (14-2, 4-1) @ #6 Arizona Wildcats (13-3, 4-1)

Arizona is so stocked with outstandingly talented players that 7’0” C Cliff Rivera, who was the Wildcats starter as a freshman last season and who averaged 11.5 ppg and 8.8 apg, has been relegated to the bench to make way for freshman Antwan Minor. Arizona is actually led by three 5-star freshmen this season. Besides Minor who is averaging 16.0 ppg and 11.0 rpg, PG Lamont Nielsen is averaging 14.7 ppg and 4.7 apg and PF Curtis Grace averages 12.3 ppg and 7.4 rpg. Playing the Wildcats on their home court should be illegal. All 3 of the Wildcats’ losses have been on the road…to #14 Florida, #5 Syracuse, and #11 California. Their wins include #23 Georgia, #19 North Carolina, #7 Miami (FL), and #25 Utah. Arizona is averaging 75.8 ppg while their opponents have scored 64.0 ppg.

We fell behind by 8 points early but we gamely fought back and with 7 minutes remaining in the first half we were within 2 at 29-27. Then with 5:53 remaining, SG Steve Jackson banked a shot off the backboard and it rolled around the rim and settled through the silks to tie the game. PG Chris Smith then hit a 15 footer to put us on top 31-29. The half ended with Arizona holding a slim 43-42 lead. The Wildcats controlled the boards 20-10 but we held a 9-5 turnover advantage and outshot Arizona 59% to 48%. SG Kenton Dunn led our scoring with 12 points, while PF Curtis Grace had 11 points for the Wildcats.

The game remained extremely close, but we hit a dry spell to allow Arizona to creep ahead 55-51 with 11:37 to play. With 5-1/2 minutes remaining we trailed 74-66. At that point we simply fell apart and Arizona ran away to an 85-68 victory. After playing even with Wildcats for nearly 4/5 of the game, it was disappointing to give the game away in the final minutes. We only had 10 turnovers compared to 17 for Arizona, but the destroyed us on the boards 38-24 and hit 12 of 25 3’s while we could only hit on 2 of 14.

Leading our scoring was SG Kenton Dunn with 23 points. SF Rick Coffey and SG Steve Jackson both added 11. Arizona’s starting guards, Stephan Mitchell and Lamont Nielsen both scored well in the 2nd half and finished with 20 points apiece while PF Curtis Grace hit for 19.

The loss dropped us into a tie with Washington, a game behind 4 teams tied for first.

Scores of other Pac-12 teams:

#11 California-77, Arizona State-62
#25 Utah-78, USC-49
#3 Oregon-72, Oregon State-56
#2 UCLA-76, Stanford-54
#21 Washington-86, Washington State-77 (OT)

Youngstown State, where I previously coached, went 5-4 in pre-conference play but has run off 6 straight victories in their Horizon League schedule and sits atop the Horizon League standings 2 games ahead of their nearest competition. SG Doylan Anderson (who I recruited) is averaging 19.8 ppg.



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Game #18: #1 Oregon Ducks (17-1, 5-1) @ #18 Colorado Buffaloes (14-3, 4-2)

This is the first of back-to-back games against Oregon, which is now ranked #1 in the country. Oregon cleans up inside. Their starting C John Jones is averaging 15.7 ppg and 9.7 rpgc, Antawn Harper, who subs at C, is averaging 10.6 ppg and 6.6 rpg, and PF Matt Reeves is scoring 11.8 ppg and 6.5 rpg. Oregon is riding a 5-game win streak after losing their only game of the season in their Pac-12 opener against #9 California.

PF Matt Hunter’s will miss his 2nd straight game with a sprained wrist and could still be out for our next game as well.

Our 2-3 zone shut down Oregon early and we took an 11-4 lead. But a talented team like the Ducks finds ways to get things done and they came back to tie us at 11-11. We then countered their 7-0 run with one of our own. Oregon then had an 8 point run to take a 19-18 lead. But we then slowly pulled away to sport a 34-25 halftime lead. Our defense limited Oregon’s shooting to 31% and forced them to make 8 turnovers. SG Kenton Dunn and SF Rick Coffey each hit for 8 points.

After hitting just 2 of 12 three-pointers in the first half, the Ducks began to cook from outside in the 2nd half. They had made 6 of 8 in the first 10 minutes and our lead was down to 55-53. Since Oregon apparently had figured out our 2-3 zone, we then switched out defense to man-to-man and the Ducks made just 2 of their final 8 three’s. We gradually extended our lead and with 2:44 were ahead 75-64. We kept Oregon from making a final run and came away with our biggest win since my arrival at Colorado by defeating the #1-ranked Ducks 81-69. I was proud that our guys outshot Oregon 46% to 40% (and 47% to 36% from beyond the arc), held a 12-8 turnover advantage, and against the Ducks’s talented big men were able to hold our own on the boards with each team pulling down 31 rebounds.

SF Rick Coffey came up big with 20 points while SG Kenton Dunn tossed in 17, PF/SF Charles Maors scored 14, and PG Matt Conley added 12 and had a steal and 3 blocks. Oregon’s SF Jeff Woolfolk scored 19 and C John Jones had 16 points (but only hit 5 of 15 shots) and pulled down 10 rebounds.

Other Pac-12 results:

#5 Arizona-86, Stanford-67
#19 Washington-87, Arizona State-84
Washington State-72, #9 California-62 (big upset that knocks Cal out of a first place tie)
#2 UCLA-65, USC-36
Utah-88, Oregon State-80

Our win kept us tied for 2nd with 3 other teams, a game behind UCLA and Arizona. All six Pac-12 teams ranked in the polls are bunched together with either 6-1 or 5-2 conference records. The best conference record for an unranked team is 3-4.






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