The Coppin State Eagles left the Coors Events Center with their heads held low after a 82-58 loss.
Within the first 15 minutes of Monday night’s men’s basketball game, the Colorado Buffaloes had a 30-6 advantage. Four of the six Eagles points came from the free-throw line.
The first half seemed as if the Eagles couldn’t stay away from the CU defense, and if they did have a chance to shoot, the Buffs were right under the net waiting for the rebound.
Sophomore guard Nate Tomlinson led the way for the Buffs as he nabbed seven rebounds.
As far as offense goes, the Buffs made it look easy.
Coppin State let Colorado run up and down the court with the ball in the first half. Dunks, lay-ups and three-pointers — the Buffs didn’t seem to have a preference of shooting, but found ways to get it through the basket.
Junior guard Cory Higgins led CU as he finished with a game-high 21 points.
In the second half, the Buffs slowed down a little bit and the Eagles tried to take advantage of it as much as they could.
The Buffs led by as much as 39 points midway through the second half, but the Eagles managed to condense the gap to 20.
Despite the huge victory, head coach Jeff Bzdelik said there is still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to the energy his team displayed in the second half.
“That’s where we have to show maturity,” Bzdelik said. “It was a little longer today than the game before, but we needed that. We need to sustain that for all 40 minutes. We’re not going to shoot the ball all the time like we started shooting tonight. The offense is a variable, but the defense and the effort has to be there for all 40 minutes.”
Senior guard Dwight Thorne II had a lighter response to his team’s slower second half.
“I think its just human nature to be up by such a big lead,” Thorne said. “It’s important for my team to get a good start.”
Thorne also said the team has become more confident compared to last season.
“We got a lot of guys scoring, a lot of guys playing,” Thorne said. “Everybody is involved and it boosts our confidence.”
In the victory over the Eagles, the senior captain said it was his teammates who made the big difference.
“Marcus [Relphorde] is a big difference, Nate [Tomlinson] I think has about seven rebounds a game,” Thorne said. “We are not a huge team, so I think it has to be a collective effort.”
Bzdelik said Relphorde is a huge asset, but he needs the whole team to perform.
“The thing about Marcus is that he’s been through five different systems in five years, so you know he is constantly adjusting and understanding the offense and defense, and the philosophy and the system and all that,” Bzdelik said. “But you know we need everybody playing as well as they can play. I’m really pleased with the way we share the ball, I’m really pleased with the shot distribution, you know we just need to keep improving and we’ll keep working at it.”
Freshman guard Alec Burks finished with 18 points and is said to be an up-and-coming Cory Higgins.
“I get called Cory all the time around here, so I think we play similar,” Burks said. “He likes to score, get to the free throw line and shoot. He likes to do it all.”
Bzdelik isn’t complaining.
“Well now Cory is not our only option, I think you can see that,” Bzdelik said.
The victory was humbly accepted and even though Bzdelik said his team needs improvement, he’s happy with what his squad has done so far.
“I’m just pleased with the attitude, the effort, the passion and the enthusiasm,” Bzdelik said. “Those are the things we can control, and we have a heck of a basketball game on Wednesday.”
The Buffs will host Texas Southern at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Coors Event Center.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Gina Yocom at Gina.firstname.lastname@example.org.