The University of Colorado men’s basketball team secured its first victory of the season in Sunday’s home opener against the University of Tennessee Martin Skyhawks 91-65.
The Buffs trailed the Skyhawks early in the game, taking their first lead with seven minutes left in the first half. They never looked back, heading into halftime with a 10-point lead and growing that lead in the second half to as much as 27.
Offensively, the Buffs performed well, with four different players scoring 12 or more points. As a team, the Buffs shot 59.2 percent from the field and 82.4 percent from the free throw line. The Buffs pushed for 19 assists on 29 field goals, a significant improvement from Friday’s loss to No. 25 Baylor in which the Buffs had 10 assists on 22 field goals.
The Buffs utilized their size advantage over the Skyhawks by scoring in the paint, where the Buffs had 44 of their 91 points.
“Our advantage against UT Martin was inside,” Buffs Head Coach Tad Boyle said. “Wherever you have a competitive advantage you want to make sure you can exploit it the best you can.”
Sophomore forward Josh Scott led the team with 15 points while also pulling down eight rebounds.
The Buffs overcame an early barrage of three-pointers from the Skyhawks, who made 12 three-pointers in the game and six in the first half. Defensively, the Buffs saw improvement as the game went on, limiting the Skyhawks to 30 points in the second half.
Turnovers were a weak point for the Buffs, who had 18 by the game’s end.
“Guarding the ball has always got to be there,” Boyle said. “The better you do that the better your defense is.”
Junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie, last year’s leading scorer, had 13 points on only three shots from the field and five trips to the free throw line. “I’d like him to have seven to ten shots a game,” Boyle said. “But when you have 13 points on three shots that’s efficient.”
Freshmen forward Dustin Thomas and redshirt freshman forward Wesley Gordon both had strong outings, with Thomas’ nine points and Gordon’s 13 among the team leaders. The Buffs also saw significant minutes from the team’s other two freshman, Jaron Hopkins and Tre’Shaun Fletcher.
“There was a lot of energy in the stands,” Thomas said of his first time playing at the Coors Events Center. “It felt way different than our first game [in Dallas].”
The Buffs take on University of Wyoming at 7 p.m. Wednesday at home.
Contact CUIndependent Staff Writer Sam Routhier at Samuel.email@example.com.