The No. 25 University of Colorado Buffaloes men’s basketball team defeated the San Diego Toreros 71-53 in CU’s home-opener Saturday night at the CU Events Center. The Buffaloes got off to a slow start in the first half but put together an 18-0 scoring run in the second half to take control of the game.
CU faced off against the Toreros for the seventh time in school history and earned an important win after losing to a strong San Diego team the last two seasons.
“It was a workman-like win, if you will,” said head coach Tad Boyle. “Maybe in some respects an ugly win. But when you win by 18 at home and you have a little bit of a sense of disappointment or we didn’t play as well as we’re capable of playing, I think that’s a sign of progress to some degree.”
The Buffs were led by junior guard/forward Tyler Bey and junior guard D’Shawn Schwartz who combined to score 29 of the Buffs’ 71 points. Senior forward Lucas Siewert played well off of the bench, scoring 11 points on 4-7 shooting.
The starting five for CU consisted of sophomore guard Daylen Kountz, sophomore forward Evan Battey, junior guard McKinley Wright IV, Bey and Schwartz. Bey scored 14 points and set the tone with his defensive effort recording 10 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. The junior also converted on two three-pointers, a promising sign with his dedication to improving his long-range shot over the summer.
“This is just me staying in the gym,” Bey said. “I know a lot of us are going to the gym as much as we can. … We’ve just been in the gym and it’s making us confident in the shot.”
Schwartz led the Buffs in scoring with 15 points and had one of the most exciting plays of the first half with a two-handed dunk after a bounce pass from Wright. The first half consisted of several turnovers by both teams, but Colorado ended the half on a good note with junior guard Maddox Daniels’ hitting a three-pointer to give the Buffs a 30-27 lead.
Senior guard Shane Gatling was first off the bench for the Buffs and scored eight points on 2-of-5 shooting.
While sophomore guard Kountz didn’t have his best game, Boyle said that he has confidence in him and all his players moving forward.
“Defend and rebound, take care of the ball, take great shots,” Boyle said. “It’s as simple as that. If you do those things Daylen (Kountz), you’re going to be fine. … I got confidence in all our guys.”
Wright opened up the second half for CU with a two-point floater and scored 11 points in the Buffaloes’ win. He made his presence felt on the floor with a plus-23 rating and continued to show his ability to set his teammates up with five assists on the night.
The Buffaloes played much better in the second half, outscoring San Diego, 41-26. During their 18-0 run, the Buffs played hard on defense and shared the ball down low on the offensive end.
“One of the offensive keys was get the ball inside,” Boyle said. “The second offensive key was get the game in transition and the only way you get the game in transition is (to) get stops on defense so you can allow yourself to run and attack the basket because we got a lot of athletes on this team. We’ve got a lot of depth and quality depth and I think we got to wear teams down, especially in this building at home.”
Boyle and the Buffs will welcome another challenge Monday night against UC Irvine. CU will look to get out to a 3-0 start and continue to climb in the AP Top 25 rankings. Tip-off will be 7 p.m. MST at the CU Events Center.
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