BOULDER - It's something that we've become very used to over the past few years, the Buffaloes come out a bit flat against an inferior opponent, allow them to get hot from behind the arc and, consequently, that inferior team stays in the game much longer than Tad Boyle or any of the CU faithful would prefer.
After letting the Fort Lewis jump out to a 5-0 lead, the Buffs orchestrated a 17-5 run to open up a double-digit lead, but the Skyhawks answered right back, putting together a 16-4 run of their own shortly thereafter to tie the game at 21.
The teams largely went back and forth for the rest of the first half before the Buffs finally pulled away in the second, putting together a 49-23 run after being tied early in the half. In the end, it looked like a runaway victory for the Buffs, 95-71.
"It was a game of two halves tonight," head coach Tad Boyle said after the game. "You have to give Fort Lewis credit for that first half. We talked about it yesterday, this is their Super Bowl and these guys came in here loose and free, with nothing to lose and they played like it."
"I thought, defensively, we did a much better job getting around screens and being aware of the ball in the second half," Boyle added. "It was a hard-fought win but credit Fort Lewis, they played well."
The Skyhawks shot 7-of-13 from behind the arc in the first half, with five different players making threes, a big reason they only trailed by two at the break.
"Some of it was Fort Lewis making shots and some if it was us giving them open looks," Boyle said. "I think in the first half our alertness away from the ball wasn't very good and our pressure on the ball was non-existent."
"We're not going to get the five-second closely guarded calls since that rule is out the window," Boyle continued. "But what we can do is dictate and put more pressure on other team's offenses. There's room for improvement there, but we did improve in the second half."
They did improve on the defensive end, holding the Skyhawks to just 4-of-13 from behind the arc and 10-of-30 overall.
On the offensive end, it was mostly Josh Scott, who got whatever he wanted on the night, going for 24 points and 17 rebounds including six offensive boards. The 11-for-15 performance from the field was just another in a long line of highly efficient, highly effective games for the Buffaloes big man during their six-game winning streak.
Scott was one of four Buffs in double digits, along with Josh Fortune (17), Tre'Shaun Fletcher (13) and Tory Miller (10), the 91 points for Colorado continues their hot shooting, scoring more than 80 points in every game since their season-opening loss.
"It's our chemistry," Scott said of the offensive flow. "We're a pretty close group and we want each other to succeed. I think you're seeing that in how we're playing. We're having fun on offense."
"Number one is the unselfishness, the ball doesn't stick, it moves," Boyle said of the flow. "Number two is we're playing inside-out. We're posting the ball to our bigs and because Josh Scott, Tory [Miller] and Wesley [Gordon] are good post players who can operate down there, that's drawing a lot of attention and we can kick back out... There were a couple times tonight we passed up good shots to get great shots and when you have a team that's doing that, that's fun to watch and coach. We have to continue that offensively."
The Buffaloes will need to continue that offensive surge as they head up to Fort Collins on Sunday to take on A Colorado State team that has surprised thus far.
"It's going to be a raucous environment," Boyle said.
Scott put up an impressive 24 points and 17 rebounds on his way to becoming just the third Buff in history to tally 1300 points, 700 rebounds and 100 blocks. He joins Cliff Meely and David Harrison on the prestigious list.
Scott will be the engine that makes the Buffs go all season. If he is going Colorado has enough talent on the perimeter to play with anybody in the country.
The halftime whistle.
After taking just a two-point lead into the half, the Buffs came out with a different purpose in the second period of play, locking down on defense and locking down their sixth consecutive win.