Young Buffs Take Care Of Business In Costa Rica
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – The young guns took center stage in a big way as the University of Colorado continued its tour of Costa Rica with a 104-46 win over Colegio de Abogados Saturday night at Banco Nacional Arena in San Jose.
Six players – all underclassmen - scored in double-digits led by Julian Hammond III's 19 points. Keeshawn Barthelemy had 17 points, Luke O'Brien had 16, Jabari Walker and Lawson Lovering each had 14 while K.J. Simpson rounded out the double figures at 13.
Colorado's eight healthy underclassmen accounted for all but seven minutes in the game, and those final seven went to walk-on forward Will Loughlin who scored a basket for the second straight game. Senior incumbent starters Eli Parquet and Evan Battey sat this one out, giving CU's young talented group some time on the floor together.
Colegio de Abogados did their part in giving the young Buffs some good situational work. The Costa Rican professionals through out a zone early in the game and put on a full court press coming out of the second half.
"It was a lot of fun for them, and you know that's kind of what this trip is about is those young guys," said Associate Head Coach Mike Rohn, who took over head coaching duties for this game as head coach Tad Boyle has done in the past with his staff on foreign tours.
"We did a lot of really good things; they really surprised us with a little zone, early in the game, we worked on it just a little bit in our camp, but they did a really good job with that. And so I was excited about it. And those guys are going to be good, they just got to keep learning."
Colorado had early success against the zone, both scoring and hitting the offensive glass on misses. After briefly falling behind 3-2, da Silva and Walker scored consecutive baskets on put-backs, helping to spark a 12-0 run that gave the Buffs a 14-3 lead.
Colegio de Abogado had its best answer of the game, reeling off the next eight to cut the Buffaloes lead to three at 14-11, but that would be as close as they would get. Lovering and O'Brien scored in the paint and Walker got another put-back to close out the first quarter at 20-11.
Colorado cranked up the defense in the second quarter. The duo of Hammond and Simpson caused havoc in the back court, combining for four of Colorado's seven steals in the period. The Buffaloes outscored Colegio de Abogado 20-6 in the second quarter for a 40-17 halftime lead.
"We played a lot of different lineups tonight," Rohn said "We had some small guys in and played quick. Our ball screen coverage, we were able to put in a couple different ones and practice those and the guys did a really good job with that but, we should have been able to pressure this team a little bit and we did. "It puts some pressure on our help side defense, which is good because it made us work on that. Overall was really pleased with the effort."
Colorado had little difficulty with the second-half press put on by the Costa Ricans, if anything it allowed the Buffaloes to get out and run. Colorado scored 64 second half points; 34 in the third quarter. Colorado shot 59.4 percent from the field and scored 58 points in the paint.
"I was just fun to get to (play with) everybody," O'Brien said. "Obviously, we played with Evan and Eli last year and they're great players, but it's cool to see all the young guys kind of get the PT and it was a good win."
Clifford led Colorado with eight rebounds. O'Brien and da Silva both dished out five assists each. Simpson finished with six steals.
Colorado returns to action on Sunday against Seleccion de Baloncesto, a select team with players from the Costa Rican professional league, at 6 p.m. MT at the Banco Nacional Arena.