Sunday, November 17, 2019

No. 25 Colorado 71, San Diego 53: Buffaloes pull away in the second half led by Bey and Schwartz

Photo Credit: Adam Chalifoux

By: Adam Chalifoux
Twitter: @FantasticMrFoux

BOULDER, CO— The San Diego Toreros (2-3) visited the No. 25 Colorado Buffaloes (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12) looking to extend their win streak against the Buffaloes to three games after defeating CU the last two seasons. The Toreros’ bid came up short as the Buffaloes pulled away with the 71-53 win at the CU Events Center.

While their offense struggled in the first half, Colorado’s consistently active defense was a little too much for the Toreros to handle. The Buffaloes forced 10 turnovers, seven of them coming off Colorado steals through the first 20 minutes. The extra possessions proved to be crucial for Colorado who shot 11-of-32 from the floor in the first half. With nine more attempts than the Toreros, the Buffaloes was able to head to the tunnel with a narrow three-point lead and a lot of adjustments to be made, especially on the offensive end.

CU’s first half numbers were abysmal; 34 percent from three-point range, 3-for-7 from the free-throw line and plenty of missed opportunities by way of poor ball movement.

“In the first half, our motion offense was atrocious,” said Colorado head coach Tad Boyle, “We stood around, we didn’t cut, we didn’t move the ball.” 

The Buffaloes switched late in the first half to a ball-screen attacking offense that set up ample opportunities from deep and kept the Toreros on their heels. 

“At half time we figured it out,” said sophomore guard D’Shawn Schwartz, Honestly, I think we just played as a team, helped each other on back cuts, and we were just there for each other in the second half.” 

After shooting 39.1 percent from the field the Toreros were limited to just 31.3 percent in the second half as the CU defense sparked their struggling offense to a roaring blaze. Colorado shot a 50 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from the 3-point line, outscoring the Toreros 41-26 in the final 20 minutes.

The biggest turning point in the game came just under half way through the second half. After seemingly smelling blood in the water after as the crowd began to turn up the volume and the offense began to come alive, Tad Boyle put his men into a vicious full-court press that ultimately helped seal the game. 

Up 46-42, the Buffaloes held the Toreros scoreless for almost six minutes of game time while pouring in 18 points of their own. 

“I told our players look, it’s really simple in terms of what I expect from every player on our team. I don’t care if you’re coming off the bench. It makes no difference to me. But defensively, you got to play your tail off and rebound the basketball on defense. Offensively, take care of the ball and take great shots. It’s that simple,” said Boyle.  

With McKinley Wright struggling from the field, Tyler Bey and Schwartz stepped up to carry the load. Bey scored 14 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, and blocked three shots. Schwartz led all scorers with to 15.

It will be a quick turnaround for Colorado as they prepare to host UC Irvine on Monday. 

“I’m telling you guys, the game Monday night is going to be a battle extraordinaire, said Boyle. “We are playing a well-coached, well disciplined, tough team that last year won 31 games, won an NCAA Tournament game, they’ve got three starters back on that team.”

The UC Irvine Anteaters and the Colorado Buffaloes will do battle at 7 p.m. MT at the CU Events Center. Be sure to check back in with College Sports Overload for what should be an exciting game.