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Maybe it was the new gold jerseys.
“They’re okay,” senior guard Richard Roby said. “We’re 1-0.”
It could have been the new offense first-year coach Jeff Bzdelik brought to CU.
“We didn’t have faith in (our offense) late on in the shot clock,” senior guard Marcus Hall said.
There was a good chance it had something to do with the Buffs’ all-around defensive effort. Even more so, it probably had something to do with the freshman duo that carried the Buffs offensively through a defensive first half, scoring a combined 14 of the Buffs’ 25 points, a low number that still gave the team a halftime lead.
“I’m getting to the point where I can compete every night,” freshman guard Cory Higgins said.
Higgins led the Buffs with 13 points at the end of their 55-51 defeat of Nebraska Tuesday night at the Coors Events Center.
The freshman has started in all of CU’s games and averages eight points a game. He was two shy of his average at the end of the first half.
Fellow freshman Levi Knutson came off the bench averaging six points a game. While he only played 10 of the 20 minutes in the first half, he led the Buffs in scoring with eight points.
While the Buffs held a small but steady lead through a majority of the first half and much of the second, NU’s Paul Velander hit a three with one minute left to bring it back to a one-possession game, 49-51.
CU’s leading point scorer, Roby, took over for the Buffs. He ran through the Nebraska defense that had allowed few points in the paint and scored a lay-up to put the Buffs up by four with 27 seconds left.
“I wanted it in my hands,” Roby said. “I told Marcus to give me the ball.”
While the Buffs came away with a win, coach Bzdelik said they are not yet to the point where he wants them to be.
“I wanted a little more pop on offense,” Bzdelik said.
In Colorado’s loss to No. 10 Texas A&M on Saturday, the Buffs shot 62 percent from the field. On Tuesday, they shot 39 percent.
The defense was much closer to where Bzdelik wants it to be, though, and he said it had something to do with the performance grades he has given each athlete after the past five games.
“It forces them to become students of the game,” Bzdelik said.
The head coach said he has also made practices shorter so that the starters will be able to play harder for longer in games.
Bzdelik said the next step is to pull together a strong defensive game, like this one against Nebraska, as well as a strong offensive game, like the one against Texas A&M. As a new coach bringing in new schemes, Bzdelik said it is a process.
“We are getting there,” Bzdelik said.
The Buffs will travel to Texas on Saturday to look for their second conference victory.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Margot Schneider at email@example.com