The University of Colorado Buffaloes men’s basketball team cruised to a 82-58 victory over the South Dakota Coyotes at the CU Events Center on Tuesday evening.
The victory marked a milestone for the program, as it was the 1,300th win in the 116th season of Buffaloes basketball.
Sophomore guard/forward D’Shawn Schwartz and freshman Evan Battey led the way in points, each tallying 14 when all was said and done.
Battey, who has been a spark for the Buffaloes offense all season due to his size and ability to set screens, continued his growth tonight. He took just about every strong shot he could take and hit 8 of 10 free throws.
“I do whatever the team needs me to do,” Battey said. “If a guy’s open, I’m hitting him. That’s just the way I play…I’ve always been a good passer and [my teammates] know that. They cut, [and] they space out so I can hit them.”
The Buffs got off to a much welcomed fast start, leading 41-28 at halftime, not once relinquishing the lead throughout the contest.
It wasn’t until the second half when the Buff’s offense, and more importantly defense, really kicked it into gear.
“I don’t want to be a first half team, [and] I don’t want to be a second half team. I want to be a 40 minute team,” said head coach Tad Boyle. “We’ve got to execute, play with energy and effort, and those were the three things we asked of our guys tonight…the execution — we can still get better, both offensively and defensively. That’s the exciting part about this team. We’re young, we’re learning and we’re getting better.”
The Buffs forced 13 turnovers, resulting in 14 points. Aggressiveness played a key role in the Buffs’ win without a doubt.
South Dakota seemed to be over-matched for the most part, and when you are over-matched, fouling a drive to the hoop is about your only option.
On free cookie night for the fans at the CU Events Center, the Coyotes followed suit for the Buffs, allowing them 30 trips to the line and many eaten cookies.
Whether it was a guard or a big, Colorado consistently pushed the ball down low, scoring 36 of their 82 points in the paint.
“Against South Dakota, we knew the advantage for us was inside,” said Boyle. “They didn’t have much size. They had one big guy who came off the bench. The rest of their guys are undersized post guys…we’ve got to attack the matchups that give us the advantage, and tonight that was in the post.”
No Buffalo hit more than one three-pointer, but, fortunately for them, it wasn’t a necessary key to a game that was dominated by fast break and big man offense.
Sophomore guard McKinley Wright IV contributed to the success, leading the team with five assists. Surprisingly, during the first half, forward Battey looked like more of a guard, tallying four assists and surprising the Coyote defenders.
In total, five Buffaloes scored in the double digits, with sophomore guard/forward Tyler Bey (13) and junior guard Shane Gatling (11) contributing to the cause.
“It can be a different guy every night,” said Boyle. “If our guys can buy into that notion, certain guys on certain nights are going to be feeling it. We have to go to them. We always want to play inside out and keep finding each other. I thought our guys shared the ball well. I was pleased.”
On deck for the Buffaloes will be another home game against the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames Saturday at 4 p.m. MST.
(Gallery images by Nigel Amstock and Casey Paul)
Contact CU Independent Sports Staff Writer Jack Carlough at email@example.com