Colorado men’s basketball (3-3) beat The Texas-Pan American Broncs (2-6) 83-64 Tuesday night at Coors Events Center in Boulder.
“For the most part, we played pretty hard today,” said senior guard Levi Knutson. “We played unselfishly, played as a team. That’s what we were looking for.”
Broncs senior guard Perry Petty led all scorers with 23 points, shooting 8-of-23 from the field and 2-of-6 from behind the 3 point line. Knutson scored 18 for the Buffs, going 7-of-10 from the field, and senior guard Marcus Relphorde had 16 points.
The Broncs were the better team in the beginning, opening a 9-4 lead early in the first half. The Buffs picked up their intensity on both sides of the court and went on a 15-0 run to go up 19-9. Texas-Pan Am managed to get some rhythm back to end the half, and the team went into the locker room with 34-19 Colorado lead.
Practice seemed to pay off with Colorado’s strong, first-half defensive effort.
“At practice, and the whole season, we’ve been trying to play harder on defense,” Relphorde said. “We were finally able to string together a bunch of defensive stops which is what we’ve been trying to do.”
The first half was not without troubles for the Buffs, as starting junior point guard Nate Tomlinson picked up a neck injury after a hard screen and had to be replaced by freshman guard Shannon Sharpe.
Relphorde was the lead scorer in the first half with 13 points, shooting 4-of-6. Alec Burks and Shannon Sharpe both lead the Buffs with four rebounds apiece. Junior guard Brandon Provost led the Broncs with six points in the half and senior forward Matt Mierzycki was the first half rebound leader with five.
Colorado kept the intensity up on the offensive side and looked comfortable throughout the second half, despite giving up 45 points. The Buffs stretched their lead to as much as 22 points, and scored 24 in the paint to seal the win.
Colorado head coach Tad Boyle said he was not happy with the amount of points his team allowed in the second half.
“The second half defense was probably the most disappointing part of tonight’s game,” Boyle said. “They shot 56 percent, and that’s not good enough, and our guys know that.”
After losing on the road to Harvard, the players were relieved to get a win. Yet after three straight road losses, questions have been raised.
The players feel they need to have a better mentality on the road, Relphorde said.
“It’s the same game,” he said. “We just have control more as a team, be more patient on the offensive end and get some stops on the defensive end. We just have to come together and play more as a team on the road.”
The Buffs will remain home for the next game, when they take on the Oregon State Beavers Saturday at 8 p.m.
Boyle said he believes Oregon State will be a good test to see where his team is, heading into Big 12 conference play
“I’m glad we have three days to prepare for it,” he said. “[Oregon State] is a good team, and it’s a preview for our fans to see what the Pac-12 will be like. It will be a good measuring stick.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Mark McNeillie at Mark.firstname.lastname@example.org.