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In Topic: The Town Crier

14 minutes ago

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.

In Topic: The Town Crier

Yesterday, 01:12 PM

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.

In Topic: The Town Crier

June 22, 2019 - 03:38 PM

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.

In Topic: The Town Crier

June 22, 2019 - 03:36 PM

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.

In Topic: The Town Crier

June 20, 2019 - 07:47 PM

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.