Buffs Notes: Defense, 3-pointers, First Look At Seminoles
INDIANAPOLIS — While Colorado put together one of its most complete performances of the season in Saturday's 96-73 win over Georgetown in their NCAA Tournament opener, Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle still saw room for improvement.
In particular, Boyle thought his Buffs might have become a little lackadaisical on the defensive end in the second half.
Of course, the Buffs had a 30-point lead at the time — and while the Hoyas did manage to shave the margin down to 18, they never made a serious run.
Still, as Boyle noted, the Buffs can't count on shooting 64 percent from 3-point range every night. There will come a time in the tournament — maybe as soon as Monday's game against Florida State — that Colorado will need its defense to carry the moment.
"On the offensive end, it's as good as we can play," said Boyle, whose team shot 61 percent from the field and 64 percent from 3-point range. "Defensively we can do a better job of not fouling and we can't give up 50 points in the second half. But you score 90-some points and you shoot the way we shot tonight, again, it makes up for a lot … What we have to really understand as a group is that on Monday, if we're not making shots, we'd better be guarding better than we did in the second half."
RAINING THREES: Colorado put together its best overall 3-point shooting game of the season Saturday, hitting 16-for-25 from long range (64 percent) — the most 3-pointers by the Buffs this year and their best shooting percentage from long range.
But making CU's numbers even more astounding was the fact that Colorado's leading 3-point shooter, senior Jeriah Horne, finished 0-for-4 from long distance. The game marked only the fifth time this season Horne did not have at least one 3-pointer, and it made him 0-for-9 in his last two games.
Still, seven different Buffs made at least one 3-pointer.
"When we're attacking the rim and finishing at the rim like we did tonight and we're kicking out for threes and making threes, we're a really, really hard team to guard," Boyle said. "You think about as good as we were offensively tonight and Jeriah Horne really wasn't a big part of that, and we know how good of a shooter Jeriah is and how he stretches the defense. Jabari (Walker, 5-for-5 from 3-point range) was feeling it tonight. D'Shawn (Schwartz, 5-for-7) made some big threes. Eli (Parquet) made a couple of them. But we're going to get Jeriah going and hopefully we'll be even harder to guard."
BOYLE ON GEORGETOWN: Boyle opened his post-game press conference by saying how much respect he had for Georgetown and coach Patrick Ewing. He also noted that the NCAA's gift bag for team traveling parties included the autobiography of late Georgetown coach John Thompson, one of the giants of the game.
"What Georgetown University represents and the basketball tradition that they have and really the man that John Thompson was, I think it's important that we recognize that, acknowledge it, and I would encourage anybody listening to get a copy of that book and read it," Boyle said. "He was a special man, and I know he changed a lot of lives, Patrick Ewing's was one of them, and Patrick admits that. I just want to tip my hat to Georgetown."
PARQUET SOLID: Colorado junior guard Eli Parquet had another "quiet" outstanding game. On the defensive end, he played a big part in helping hold Hoyas guard Jahvon Blair to five points — 10 under his season average — on 2-for-6 shooting.
On the offensive end, he finished with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
YOUNGSTERS SHOW UP: Colorado freshman Jabari Walker no doubt introduced himself to the nation with his 24-point effort on 9-for-10 shooting, including a 5-for-5 day from 3-point range.
But thanks to the blowout win, the Buffs also got the chance to play some of their other youngsters — and several had some big moments.
Freshman Luke O'Brien had four points and a rebound and freshman Nique Clifford had his second 3-pointer of the season and a rebound.
Redshirt freshman point guard Keeshawn Barthelemy, meanwhile, had six points and four assists.
FIRST LOOK FSU: Florida State, the No. 4 seed in the East, hung on to defeat UNC Greensboro, 64-54, in another first-round game Saturday.
Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles won despite going 0-for-9 from 3-point range, as forward RaiQuan Gray scored 17 points. FSU led by just one, 51-50, late in the game but put together a closing 13-4 run to seal the win.
Colorado fans may remember Hamilton from the old Big Eight, when he coached at Oklahoma State from 1986-90.
FSU (17-6 overall, 11-4 ACC) finished second in the ACC regular season standings, then lost to Georgia Tech, 80-75, in the ACC tourney championship game.
The 6-8, 260-pound Gray is the Seminoles' second-leading scorer (12.2 ppg) and leading rebounder (6.6 rpg). Guard M.J. Walker leads FSU in scoring (12.5 ppg) and the Seminoles have five players averaging at least nine points per game.
Florida State averaged 78.3 points per game this season while holding opponents to 69.6 per game. The Seminoles averaged nearly eight 3-pointers per game this year while shooting 38 percent from long range, and they outrebounded opponents by nearly five per game, averaging 37.4 boards per contest.
Hamilton, who has led FSU to the Elite Eight and Sweet 16 in the previous two NCAA tourneys, is nursing a ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered before the tournament began.