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Colorado men’s basketball beat the Idaho State Bengals 88-80 in their season opener and head coach Tad Boyle’s debut, at the Coors Events Center Friday.
“Its always nice to get a win,” said senior guard Cory Higgins. “We’re disappointed in our play, but a win’s a win.”
Idaho State freshman guard Broderick Gilchrest led all scorers with 39 points and sophomore guard Alec Burks led Colorado with 20 points. Higgins and senior guard Levi Knutson had 16 points, and senior forward Marcus Relphorde had 12 points. Freshman forward guard Andre Roberson came of the bench and had 11 rebounds in 21 minutes.
Colorado shot 48.3 percent from the field, and went 26-of-33 from the foul line. The Bengals scored 80 percent of their free throws, and shot 31-of-56 for the game.
Most of the first half was back and forth. Knutson led the Buffs with ten points off the bench, while Burks led the starters with eight points in the first half. Knutson was 4-for-4 shooting. Gilchrest scored 20 points for Idaho State, and went 4-for-4 from behind the 3 point line in the first half.
Knutson says that they should have defended Gilchrest better.
“Gilchrest gave it to us for a little while there,” Knutson said. “[The game] was a good start, but we’ve got a lot of things to improve on.”
As the half came to a close, the Buffs began to stretch their lead. With two minutes left, Higgins picked up a loose ball, and then fed it to Burks on the break. From there he threw down a spectacular dunk to give the Buffs an eight point lead.
At the half, the Buffs led 45-38.
The Bengals came out on fire to start the second half and managed to take a 48-47 lead at 16:58. The Buffs managed to get the edge back, retaking the lead by hitting clutch free-throws down the stretch. Back-to-back three pointers from Higgins and junior forward Austin Dufault sealed the victory for Colorado.
Boyle says he was proud of the way his team played in the finals minutes.
“I’m proud of our guys for gutting it out and make free throws, and finishing,” Boyle said.
Despite the win, Higgins says he was disappointed in the way the team defended throughout the game.
“We gave up 80 points, and we’re going to see a lot better teams than that,” Higgins said. “We just have a long way to go on defense.”
Boyle says the crowd was a huge reason for the Buffs‘ victory.
“[The crowd] was terrific tonight, not just the student section, but the community,” Boyle said. “We’re going to need them this year.”
Colorado will travel to Georgia on Tuesday to take on the Bulldogs in Athens at 5 p.m.
Contact Staff Writer Mark McNeillie at Mark.email@example.com.