BOULDER - Team Colorado, the No. 1 seed in their region, breezed past their first two opponents and are on their way to the Super 16 of The Basketball Tournament. Their dream of a $2 million prize is four wins away.
There were moments in each games' first halves where the thought of losing might have crossed some fans' minds but Team Colorado’s immense talent was able to come out on top. The second opponent, Broad Street Brawlers, was filled with former Division I players whereas their first opponent’s best player was a former JUCO standout. That led to an early adjustment period for Team Colorado where they figured out they had to pick it up a little bit after their walk through against Kimchi Express.
“Intensity,” head coach Dwight Thorne said when asked by BSN Denver over the phone on what changed from game one to game two. “Our intensity and sense of urgency was exponentially better the second game. You know it’s human nature when you play that you see and think there’s no way imaginable that they could beat you and that’s what happened to us yesterday. You know our guys didn’t think that there would be any way that they could beat us so we came out and our sense of urgency wasn’t as crisp.”
Marcus Hall, a member of the all-tournament team in 2016, and Chris Copeland, a five-year NBA veteran that was recruited to play this year, led the way for Team Colorado scoring 102 out of the team’s 211 total points. Hall has picked up right where he left off last years with marks of 26 and 30 points in the two contests. Copeland struggled from long range during the first game but was able to get hot in the second one, going 8-for-12 from deep. That led to a team high 31 points for Copeland in the second game.
“What I saw out of Chris today is that he’s a former NBA player,” Thorne remarked after Sunday’s game. “Guys play in the NBA for a reason and just because a guy is no longer in the NBA doesn’t mean he doesn’t have NBA skill. He has NBA skill, that’s his shooting, and we needed it. Him and Marcus Hall played a great two man game and as a coach, I sit back and let them do it and they carried to us to a victory. It’s great to have him, he rebounded well for us, he was a good presence in the paint so it was a good fun game.”
Even though it didn’t look like their best in their first two games, it might be because their best isn’t quite on the team. Xavier Silas, a man with NBA experience, Josh Scott, arguably the best player in CU program history, and Richard Roby, the Buffs co-all-time leading scorer, all didn’t play in the first two games in Vegas for various reasons. They are expected to join the team Saturday in Brooklyn.
“They’ll make a tremendous impact on talent level,” Thorne said. “But they are going to have to come in and raise their effort level. If they can assimilate with us with their effort level then their talent will take over and it’ll be a smooth transition.”
They’ll definitely make an impact offensively and hopefully, take some of the load off the shoulders of Hall and Copeland. Silas is a new addition who had previously played for TBT semi-finalist City of Gods. Silas played in the D-league last year for the Northern Arizona Suns averaging more than 15 points per game and shooting over 40 percent from the three point line.
In the round of 16, Team Colorado will be taking on Armored Athlete, the No. 4 seed in the West region.
“We play against an Armor Athlete team that has good size, good players so we have to have high intensity and a high sense of urgency to compete,” Thorne said. “In this type of environment, you can’t worry about what the other teams do, you have to worry about yourself, getting your guys ready to play.”That game will be taking place on Saturday, July 22, in Brooklyn at 2 p.m. MT and will be televised on ESPN2.