The time when the Colorado faithful break out the old Chauncey Billups jerseys and roar in the C-Unit student section has returned. College basketball is back.
The Colorado Buffaloes basketball squad began an anticipated season against the Sacramento State Hornets in which they took care of business at Coors Events Center. The Buffs came out with a 90-53 victory against the team that finished 10th in the Big Sky Conference last season.
But from tonight, there is sheer evidence that this Buffaloes team as of right now doesn’t have a Russell Westbrook or James Harden. The team gets it done without the offense relying on one player.
The three-point shooting from the Buffaloes was superb, as the team collectively shot nearly 62 percent from beyond the arc. Seven different Buffs hit a three-pointer, the key marksman being junior guard Dominique Collier.
Collier, a Denver native, ranked second last season in three-point field goal percentage in the Pac-12 with 44 percent. His good form continued from last season as he went 4-of-6 from downtown and finished with a team-high 12 points.
“The thing that makes Dominique so dangerous off the ball is that we have sets where we’re setting ball screens for our guys off the ball, not just for our point guards,” said head coach Tad Boyle.
Two other Buffs scored in double digits; senior guard Josh Fortune had 11 and junior guard George King scored 10. Senior forward Xavier Johnson led the team with 25 minutes played. He scored six points in the win.
Collectively, the team went 32-0f-60 from the floor, good for a 53.3 conversion rate. It was an abysmal night for Sacramento State; the team made just 29.4 percent of its shots.
The scoring distribution Friday night from Colorado was a notable sign that this team has plenty of depth. The scoring from each player on Friday ranged from 6 points to 12 between 10 different players and none of the Buffs took over 10 field goal attempts.
“It’s the strength of our team without a doubt,” said Boyle. “The strength of this team is the balance of this team. The balance comes from depth and different guys being able to score. I loved our balance tonight. Nobody had double-digit shots, shots were well distributed with 20 assists.”
Colorado’s younger players played a big role in the win. Freshman guard Deleon Brown and freshman forward Lucas Siewert put up 9 points apiece. Sophomore guard Thomas Akyazili added 8 of his own. The Buffs were bolstered with 47 points scored off the bench on Friday night.
On the other end of the performance spectrum, the Buffaloes struggled in the rebounding department on the defensive end as they allowed a total of 17 offensive rebounds.
“Our rebounding on the defensive end has to get better,” remarked Boyle. “17 offensive rebounds is way too many. That was disappointing.”
The Buffaloes are back with a bang. But this team’s identity is something that is hard to come by in the game of basketball today. The ability to effectively spread the offensive wealth between a multitude of players is something that not all teams possess.
The dynamic and identity of this team could be seen as an unselfish one if they continue to share the ball and play games in an unselfish manner. Colorado has its whole season ahead of it; the team’s balance and depth will be tested in the weeks to come.
Contact CU Independent sports staff writer Drew Sharek at firstname.lastname@example.org