University of Colorado Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle has repeatedly stressed that his team has a tendency to not want to show up and play a full 40 minutes for the games against lesser teams. Sloppy defense, too many missed or forced shots, inadequate ball movement and more are familiar themes of the Buffs not showing up.
Boyle, frank as always, got straight to the point regarding his thoughts on the win after the game Saturday afternoon.
“This team has two things going for it right now,” Boyle said. “Number one, they own the most disappointing loss in [the] seven-year span [I’ve coached here], the Colorado State game a few weeks ago. Now they can also add to that they own the most disappointing win, which is the Fort Hays State game here today.”
Harsh. Boyle’s standards for the Buffs’ performance rise quite high against lesser opponents. A win’s always a win, but the Buffaloes let Fort Hays linger around in the second half, allowing the Tigers 49 points in the final 20 minutes. Colorado mustered 42.
“Coach was telling us we didn’t put 40 minutes together — we put 20 minutes together,” said George King, junior guard, after the win. King called the win an “eye-opener,” and Boyle said that Colorado’s second half effort was “atrocious.”
The Buffs held the Tigers to just 7 of 32 field goals in the first half. FHSU also did not score a single point in the paint in the first 20 minutes of play.
“It’s hard for me to look at the first half vs. Fort Hays and be positive because I look at the second half and I’m so damn mad I can barely see straight,” Boyle said.
A spread-out performance by the Buffs in the first half led to a 39-22 score in their favor with both teams heading to the locker rooms. King and senior guard Josh Fortune both put up seven, while senior guard Derrick White and senior guard-forward Xavier Johnson dropped six apiece.
Colorado got to the charity line quite a bit through 20 minutes, converting 13 of 18 free throws.
Free throws would be a major source of points for the Buffs in the game. Colorado scored more than a third of its points from the free throw line, going 31-of-41 overall.
The Buffs won the game 81-71, but the Tigers managed to stay in competition, clawing their way back from large deficits. Fort Hays was good from long range, making 10 shots from beyond the arch compared to CU’s six.
Three Buffaloes dropped 15 in the win: Fortune, Johnson and freshman guard Deleon Brown. Brown went 3-of-5 from deep in the win and played just 19 minutes.
Colorado was weak on possession changes. Fort Hays scored 12 fast-break points compared to the Buffs’ four, and the Tigers were able to nab 11 second-chance points, again compared to CU’s four.
The Tigers’ Rob Davis dropped 29 in the win, a season high by a Buffaloes opponent. Davis made all of his shots in the second half, establishing a new Coors Events Center record for most points in a half. He was lethal from long range, making seven baskets from downtown.
“Thank God Davis didn’t play very well in the first half, because he would have had 50 on us,” Boyle said.
On the day, the Buffs shot 43 percent from the floor. Rebounding was an area of mediocrity for Colorado; The Buffs had 40 boards but allowed 36 to the Tigers.
The Buffs are running out of non-conference games. A road matchup against Air Force lingers, and shortly after that, conference play will begin. Things will become do-or-die for CU, a team that needs every win it can get.
“Air Force is disciplined and tough,” Boyle said. “When this Colorado basketball team plays against teams that are disciplined and are tough, we struggle,” Boyle said. “Right now, with this team, I’m disgusted.”
The Buffs travel to Colorado Springs to play Air Force on Monday night. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Head Sports Editor Justin Guerriero at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo.