Buffs Wrap Costa Rica Trip With Rout of Grecia
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – The University of Colorado men's basketball team ended its four-game exhibition tour of Costa Rica with a 141-31 rout of Grecia, Monday night at Banco Nacional Arena in San Jose.
Colorado scored the first 21 points of the game and never stepped off the gas. The Buffaloes led 39-4 after the first quarter and had an 80-17 lead at the half against the overmatched Costa Ricans.
Seven players scored in double-digits led by Keeshawn Barthelemy's 23 points. K.J. Simpson and Nique Clifford each scored 21.
Colorado shot 69 percent from the field (57 of 83) including 82 percent (41-50) inside the 3-point arc. The Buffaloes scored 72 points in the paint and had a 63-2 advantage in points off turnovers.
"I think these kind of games challenge you mentally to stay disciplined, and stick to your principles, defensively," said assistant coach Bill Grier, taking the head coaching role for this one as Tad Boyle observed. "And then to play simple; move the ball and take great shots offensively.
Similar to Saturday's game, the senior incumbent starters – Eli Parquet and Evan Battey – sat this one out, allowing the eight healthy underclassmen, and senior walk-on Will Loughlin, all of the minutes and providing the coaching staff a glimpse of the future
"I think the one thing about this group, after watching them here four days, is I think we've done a really good job of sharing the ball. There's been multiple possessions with multiple passes. They're really unselfish. They play well together. And I think that was a really encouraging thing coming down here is seeing that part of the game from them as a group."
The Buffaloes had 30 assists, led by seven from Julian Hammond. Colorado also had 23 steals and 69 fast break points.
Colorado was considerably taller than its Costa Rican counterpart, so much so that the Buffaloes essentially were able to run a play off the opening tip. Lawson Lovering with a head-plus advantage over his opponent, was able to tip the ball to directly to Tristan da Silva at the free throw line who found a cutting Jabari Walker for a dunk just seconds into the game.
Barthelemy hit three 3-pointers in that opening sequence that led to a 21-0 Buffs advantage. He would finish a perfect 4 of 4 from the 3-point line with four assists and three steals.
Grecia finally got on the board on a layup by Frander Villalobos at the 5:14 mark of the first quarter. The Buffaloes then reeled off another 17-straight points, including five from Hammond before Grecia scored the last bucket to make it 39-4 after one.
The Buffaloes kept rolling in the second. Clifford had 10 points in the second quarter and da Silva added eight of his 13 as Colorado built its lead to 71-7 late in the half. Grecia had its best run of the night in the last two minutes of the second quarter scoring 10 points with six coming from Henry Sanchez.
With the game out of reach, Colorado kept its focus on the task at hand; getting minutes for its young team.
"I think is definitely helpful especially for us young guys who don't have as much time on the court, or who haven't had that experience yet," said Clifford, who hit 9 of 11 from the field with five steals. "Just to get out there and feel what it's like to play college basketball, especially those freshmen, and then also just having Eli and Evan on the sideline being able to coach us up and be there to support us, is going to help us a lot I think in the season."