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Buffs Look to Bounce Back at Denver

Dec 7, 2020

Game Notes

DENVER – Colorado returned Boulder late Sunday night and got right back to work on Monday, following its sour start to the Pac-12 season. The Buffaloes will look to get back into the win column at in-state rival Denver on Tuesday (6 p.m. MT).

Colorado got off to the earliest start to a conference season in program history, having played just two games before having to go onto the road in conference play. The Buffs opened with No. 10 Oregon and No. 17 Oregon State last weekend, playing one of the toughest road trips in the nation, under any circumstances. 

In a normal season, head coach JR Payne and her staff have 10 or 11 non-conference games to get a feel for the team. This season's schedule featured Western Colorado and Air Force as early opponents for the Buffs before getting thrown right into the thick of the Pac-12. 

"Normally, throughout your preseason you spend a lot of time and effort throughout those 10 or 11 games in trying to figure out your best rotation," Payne said after the Oregon game. "It's been very difficult this year because we don't have any practice players, and everyone is always on the court. I can't really move people around to different lineups and different groups and see how they gel and who plays well together."

The Buffs get one more opportunity in non-conference play against Denver, before spending the rest of the season positioning themselves in the Pac-12. 

"We just need to put the focus back on us," Payne commented. "We have to be prepared, but when we start trying to adjust game plans and what we are doing and who we are to our opponent – I don't think that's a real positive for us this early. We just need to focus on being able to play with great energy and do our jobs to the very best of our ability."

The Buffs were within eight points of both Oregon and Oregon State at halftime, playing to an identical 34-26 score. Third-quarter runs were the difference for both the Ducks and the Beavers, gaining leads that proved difficult to recover from. 

"We need to maintain focus when we're going on a run or when our opponent is going on a run," Payne added. "We just need to keep that focus [during those runs]. I think that is important for us as we continue to get better."

Colorado will look to get back to its bread and butter against Denver. The Buffs averaged 54.0 points in the paint in their two wins this season. Over the weekend, CU scored just 24.0 points in the paint, instead settling for more outside shots. CU combined to shoot just over 40 percent against Western Colorado and Air Force. Colorado went just 30.6 percent against the Ducks and Beavers and was a lowly 18.4 percent from 3-point range.   

"We don't want to shoot as many 3's," Payne noted after the Oregon State. "Our best output this year was a game where we only took six [Air Force\ and we shot over 60 percent from the floor. We don't want to be shooting as many 3's. We want to move the ball and get inside. We can go inside-out certainly, but we don't' want to just be jacking 3's."

Tip-off against Denver is set for 6 p.m. MT. The game will be lived streamed and can be found at CUBuffs.com/WatchWBB. Cory Lopez and Carol Callan will have the call on AM 630 locally and across the Colorado Radio Network on the TuneIn app.