The Colorado Buffaloes welcomed Air Force into the Coors Events Center on Wednesday night and had a serving of roasted bird a day early, defeating the Falcons 81-70.
"Overall I'm pretty pleased with the way our guys played," head coach Tad Boyle said after the game. "I think we can be a more consistent team. One of the challenges that we laid out for the guy for this game was, 'Let's play 40 minutes of Colorado Basketball,' I thought, for the most part, we played that way for about 37 minutes."
The Falcons jumped out to an early 9-2 lead behind some hot shooting, but the Buffaloes promptly put together a 17-5 run and really controlled the game from there on out, opening up a lead as large as 21 points before letting off the gas late.
Josh Scott lead the way for the Buffaloes with 21 points and seven rebounds, his fellow Josh, Fortune added 18 points including five threes and six rebounds of his own. The two complimenting each other was a clinic of how Tad Boyle wants to see his team play offense.
"I thought we did a great job of playing inside-out which is something we always talk about doing," the head coach said after the game. "We want to get our post guys involved. Even if they don't get shots, which they didn't early because Air Force was doubling, but we need to kick the ball back out and penetrate the second time and look for some open threes, which we knocked down. That's a strength of this team, having guys that can knock down shots."
On the night, the team shot 13-25 from behind the arc, including three more from George King and even one from Brett Brady, who played in the first half for the second game in a row.
"Brett's, quite frankly, one of our better shooters and while they were in a zone we thought, 'hey let's steal a couple of minutes and put Brett in there,'" Boyle said. "I'm really proud of him for being ready... I've got a lot of faith in him.
"One of the things I love about this team," Boyle added. "Is Josh Scott went to Brett and told him to be aggressive. Our guys know how good of a shooter Brett is."
Scott echoed that sentiment.
"Brett can shoot, he's a shooter," told the senior leader. "In years past, you'd have to coax Brett into shooting in games, but in practice, boy he'd be lighting us up. For him to get in there and shoot the ball and play aggressively is big time for us, it gets our team going."
For Colorado, it was the fourth consecutive game scoring over 80 points, but Tad Boyle still wasn't ready to compare their firepower to that of his 2010-11 squad.
"Oooooh, I wouldn't go as far as to say this team has more firepower," he said with a smile. "I think it's the second best offensive team we've had during my time here. I mean, Cory Higgins was one of the all-time leading scorers here, Alec Burks was a lottery pick, Austin Dufault could shoot it from the five, [Marcus] Relphorde could shoot it from the four and Levi [Knutson] came off the bench. No, I'm not going to go there with this team, that team was explosive, but we're certainly better than the last couple of years."
When all was said in done, the game was just another opportunity for the Buffaloes to get better.
"We're getting better in certain areas," Boyle told. "This is a coachable team of tremendous young men and the ceiling is high. That's the good thing, we're not playing anywhere near our ceiling. That both excites me and frustrates me as a coach because I want us to play up to that ceiling. We're going to need to play near that ceiling as we move through the season."
Josh Scott improved to 4-0 against the alma mater of his parents and the team he grew up cheering for. His 21 points led the team, as did his two blocks and his seven rebounds were just one short of Wesley Gordon for the team lead in that category. It's what Buffs fans have become accustomed to from their big man, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be appreciated.
While Josh admitted it was kind of sweet to go sweep the Falcons for his career, Air Force head coach Dave Pilipovich talked of the respect he has for Josh saying, "We're big fans of his when we don't play him."