Buffs Set For Home Opener (Finally)
Gametime: 7 p.m. MST
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THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 2-1 overall, dropping its first game of the season in a 56-47 setback at No. 12/16 ranked Tennessee on Dec. 8.
After averaging 80 points over the first two games, the Buffaloes were held to just 47 at Tennessee, their fewest points since scoring 33 at Wyoming on Nov. 22, 2014.
Colorado's defense has remained solid, allowing opponents 58.3 points per game on 37.5 percent shooting. The Buffaloes' scoring defense ranks 28th in the nation and second in the Pac-12. CU's field goal defense is the 38th best in NCAA Division I.
Colorado opened the 2020-21 season with a pair of wins at the Little Apple Classic in Manhattan, Kan. Colorado cruised to an 84-61 win over South Dakota on Nov. 25 and then downed former Big Eight/Big 12 rival Kansas State, 76-58 on Nov. 27. It marked the first time since 1960-61, that the Buffs started 2-0 with both games being away from Boulder. That season started with three straight wins away from Boulder beginning with back-to-back wins at Arizona and a third at New Mexico.
The Buffaloes have been exceptional from the line, hitting 42 of 48 attempts on the season (.875). Only Detroit Mercy, at 88.3 percent, has a better early season mark in NCAA Division I.
All-Pac-12 senior guard McKinley Wright IV leads the Buffaloes at 17.3 points and 4.7 assists per game. Wright has made 58.3 percent from the field through three games and pulled down 5.0 rebounds per contest.
Wright earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors on Nov. 30 after averaging 22.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals at the Little Apple Classic. He shot a blistering 64.3 percent from the field (18 of 28), including 43 percent from 3-point range (3 of 7).
The Pac-12 Player of the Week honor is Wright's third; earned once as a freshman (Jan. 8, 2018) and once as a junior (Jan. 6, 2020). He is one of only three Buffaloes – joining Chauncey Billups and Askia Booker – to earn three conference Player of the Week honors in his career.
Against South Dakota, Wright scored 20 points on 8 of 12 shooting with 5 assists, 3 rebounds and two steals.
In the win over Kansas State, Wright had a game-high 24 points with 5 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal in 39 minutes. He tied his career high with 10 made field goals – on just 16 attempts – becoming the 13th Buffalo to reach 1,400 career points.
Wright is the first Buffalo to score 20-plus points in back-to-back games to open a season since Alec Burks scored 20-plus in the first five contests of 2010-11. Colorado started a season 2-0 – with both games away from Boulder – for the first time in 60 years (1960-61).
Graduate transfer Jeriah Horne is averaging 11.7 points and leading the Buffaloes in rebounding at 7.0 per game and 3-point field goals with seven. He had 15 points and 11 rebounds at Tennessee, recording his first Colorado double-double and the third overall in his career. His previous two double-doubles came at Tulsa.
Freshman guard Keeshawn Barthelemy made his first career start in the loss to Tennessee finishing with seven points and a pair of assists. Barthelemy is third on the team in scoring at 9.0 points per game while also averaging 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists over his first two contests. Barthelemy scored 11 points and co-led the Buffaloes in rebounding with seven against South Dakota.
Junior Eli Parquet averaged 8.5 points, hitting 4 of 7 from 3-point range over his first two games. He had a career-high nine points against Kansas State. Parquet hit a pair of 3-point field goals, matching a personal best. He has six 3-point field goals in his last four games dating back to last year; he had just 16 in his first 52 career games.
Dallas Walton is averaging 6.3 points and 3.3 rebounds while hitting 70 percent from the field. He had eight points and seven rebounds vs. South Dakota, logging his best numbers in those categories since February 2018. His eight points matches his output at Washington on Feb. 17, 2018 and his seven rebounds are his most since matching that number vs. UCLA on Feb. 25, 2018.
Senior Maddox Daniels is averaging 7.3 points and 4.0 rebounds. He scored a CU personal-best 10 points against Kansas State. Daniels was a perfect 4 of 4 from the line the first two games. He had made just 5 of 12 attempts all of last season.
FOR OPENERS: The Buffaloes are 93-24 all-time in home openers and have won their last 12, making Boyle a perfect 10-0 in home openers. The Buffaloes have won 17 of their last 18.
With the win over South Dakota, Colorado improved to 83-35 (.703) in all-time season openers and has won its last five. The Buffaloes are 9-2 under head coach Tad Boyle and 36-5 in overall season openers since 1980-81.
The Buffaloes began with a neutral site game for the second-straight season and third time in five years. Colorado defeated Arizona State, 81-71, in last year's Pac-12 China Game in Shanghai. In 2015-16, the eventual NCAA Tournament bound Buffaloes dropped a 68-62 decision to Iowa State in Sioux Falls, S.D.
NONCONFERENCE NUMBERS: Colorado is 98-32 (.754) in nonconference regular season games under head coach Tad Boyle including a 51-15 mark (.773) since the beginning of the 2014-15 season.
Colorado is 74-5 in nonconference home games under Boyle, a record which includes a perfect 6-0 mark in postseason action.
SCHEDULE NOTES: With the coronavirus pandemic delaying, and thus shortening, the 2020-21 season, several scheduling rarities dot the Colorado schedule.
The season, starting two weeks later than originally planned, was shortened to a maximum of 27 games. Add in the Pac-12 Conference expanding to a 20-game schedule, a move announced in December 2019, left the Buffaloes with seven nonconference games.
Colorado's Dec. 14 game against Northern Colorado will be its latest home opener since hosting Michigan on Dec. 17, 1948.
Colorado's two home nonconference games will be its fewest since 1955-56, when Iowa was the lone non-Big Seven opponent to visit Boulder. The Buffaloes' 12 scheduled home regular season games will be their fewest since having 11 for the 1988-89 season.
During the Pac-12 schedule, the Buffaloes will experience a four-game home stretch (between Jan. 6-17) and a four-game road stretch (between Feb. 10-21).
It will be the first time Colorado has played four-straight conference road games since 1946-47, the Buffaloes final year in the Mountain States Conference, prior to moving to the Big Seven. Colorado will have four-straight home contests for the first time in 60 years (1960-61).
ABOUT THE BEARS: Northern Colorado is 2-0, opening with a pair of home wins over regional NCAA Division II foes Colorado Christian (87-62) and Regis (83-58). The Bears, who have had three games canceled, have shot well hitting 54.4 percent from the field. Defensively, the Bears held their first two opponents to 38 percent from the field and enjoyed a plus-18.5 rebound margin. UNC, which finished 22-9 last season, was picked to finish third in the Big Sky Preseason Media Poll, and fifth by the coaches.
Junior guard Bodie Hume has led the Bears through the first two games averaging 22.5 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 61 percent from the field. Junior guard Daylen Kountz, a transfer from Colorado, is averaging 15 points and three assists. Matt Johnson is averaging 11.5 points and has hit 53 percent of his shots. Forward Kur Jockuch is averaging 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 40th meeting between Colorado and Northern Colorado in a series that dates back to 1918. The Buffaloes hold a 21-18 edge. This is just the seventh meeting since 1937, with Colorado winning all previous six.
RIGHT AT HOME: Colorado has won 28 of its last 33, 40 of 48, 61 of 73 and 71 of 84 in the friendly confines of the CU Events Center. In the Tad Boyle era, Colorado is a sparkling 141-27 at the CU Events Center (.839). The Buffaloes are 454-178 (.718) all-time at the CEC. The Buffaloes, who finished 13-3 at home in 2019-20, have won at least 10 games at home each of the last 11 seasons.