Buffaloes Officially Tip Off Tuesday With Montana State
BROADCAST NOTE: Tuesday's game will air on Pac-12 Mountain. The Pac-12 is opening up access via the Pac-12 Now app and on Pac-12.com for all 12 games to ALL fans, with more than 10 hours of basketball available for free. The Pac-12 Now app is free to download and available via iOS, Android, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.
THE SEASON: Colorado officially opens the 119th season of varsity men's basketball by hosting Montana State on Tuesday, Nov. 9.
FOR OPENERS: Colorado is 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 are to 94-24 all-time in home openers and have won their last 13, making Tad Boyle a perfect 11-0 in home openers. The Buffaloes have won 19 of their last 20.
NONCONFERENCE NUMBERS: Colorado is 102-32 (.761) in nonconference regular season games under head coach Tad Boyle including a 55-15 mark (.786) since the beginning of the 2014-15 season.
Colorado is 76-5 in nonconference home games under Boyle, a record which includes a perfect 6-0 mark in postseason action.
NOVEMBER 'REIGN': Over the last three years few programs have had more success in the month of November than Colorado. In fact, it's one.
Best Record In November (NCAA I, Since 2017-18)
Team W L Pct.
1. Virginia 22 1 .957
2. Colorado 18 1 .947
3. Duke 23 2 .925
Michigan 23 2 .925
Gonzaga 23 2 .925
6. TCU 20 2 .909
7. Florida State 19 2 .905
8. Kansas 18 2 .900
EXHIBITION SPLIT: Colorado was 1-1 in its two exhibitions. The Buffaloes rolled to a 78-48 home win over the Colorado School of Mines on Oct. 27 and fell in a charity exhibition at Nebraska, 82-67 on Oct. 31.
Eleven Buffaloes scored in the win over Mines led by 12 points from freshman K.J. Simpson. Classmate Lawson Lovering, nearly had a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Senior Evan Battey pitched in 10 points.
Colorado played in front of a CU Events Center crowd without limitations for the first time since Feburary 2020. The announced crowd of 2,406, while just over 20 percent capacity, was modest for an exhibition but a wonderful sight for a team that saw only a handful of home games last year with a limited number of friends and family capped at 100.
There were some jitters, understandably, for a group Ð aside from seniors Battey and Elijah Parquet Ð that haven't played in front of a collegiate crowd. Colorado struggled offensively from the outside Ð only 2 of 17 from 3-point range Ð but the Buffaloes evened it out with a solid defensive performance.
Colorado outrebounded the Orediggers by 20 (56-36) and forced 15 turnovers. Mines shot just 28 percent for the game
Colorado also helped themselves getting to the line. The second-best free throw shooting team in the nation a season ago, Colorado made 20 of 26 from the line.
Against Nebraska, the Huskers used a barrage of 3-pointers to build an early lead in Colorado's first trip to Lincoln since leaving the Big 12 Conference in 2011. Nebraska drained 12 3-pointers and hit 44 percent from long range. Colorado struggled to defend the outside shot early, leaving the Huskers with wide open looks.
Sophomore Nique Clifford led Colorado with 12 points and eight rebounds, sharing the team lead in both categories. Keeshawn Barthelemy had 12 points while Luke O'Brien pitched in 11. Battey had eight rebounds.
Colorado continued its exhibition season struggle from the 3-point arc. The Buffaloes missed their first eight attempts and finished 3 of 19. Colorado was 2 of 17 in its exhibition against Mines.
Against Mines Colorado made up for their 3-point drought with stout defense and scoring at will in the paint. Against Nebraska, neither of those materialized.
Colorado had its opportunities. The Buffaloes outrebounded Nebraska by 10 (47-37) and had 23 offensive rebounds, resulting in 19 second chance points. Colorado still scored 36 points in the paint, but overall shot just 32 percent for the game (23 of 71).
Proceeds from the Nebraska charity exhibition went toward three Lincoln-area organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: the TeamMates mentoring program; the YWCA of Lincoln for its Employ402 program and the Nebraska Greats Foundation.
Nebraska is scheduled to return the trip to Colorado for an exhibition in 2022 to benefit organizations in the Boulder area.
ABOUT THE BOBCATS: Montana State begins its season regular season after a couple lopsided exhibition wins. The Bobcats routed NAIA Providence (Mont.) 108-63 on Oct. 25 and Yellowstone Christian (Mont.) 116-42 on Nov. 3.
Montana State returns all five starters and eight letterwinners from a team that finished 13-10 in 2020-21 and tied for fourth in the Big Sky Conference at 8-6. The Bobcats came within in one game of the NCAA Tournament last season, losing to Eastern Washington in the Big Sky Tournament final.
Senior guard Xavier Bishop and junior forward Jubrile Belo were named to the Big Sky's Preseason All-Conference Team. Bishop averaged 13.9 points, 3.9 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game last season, earning second team all-conference honors. Belo averaged 14.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 2020-21, ranking second on the team in both categories. Senior guard Amin Adamu led the Bobcats in scoring last year at 14.7 points per game.
THE SERIES: This will be the eighth meeting between Colorado and Montana State with the Bobcats holding a 6-1 advantage. Montana State has won the last six, with the last coming in an 85-82 overtime decision in Boulder on Nov. 18, 2008. Only three of those all-time encounters have taken place in the last 91 years. Colorado's lone win was the first meeting, a 25-19 decision in Boulder on Feb. 13, 1924.
Tad Boyle is 4-4 as a head coach against Montana State, all coming while he was at Northern Colorado.
BATTEY MILESTONES: Senior forward Evan Battey, Colorado's active leader in scoring and rebounding, enters his senior season at 899 points, good for 44th on CU's all-time list.
With 101 points, Battey would become the 38th Colorado player to reach 1,000 career points. Additionally, he would be the fourth member of the 2017 signing class to reach that milestone. McKinley Wright IV (2017-21) leads that group at sixth overall at 1,857. Tyler Bey (2017-20) is 29th at 1,113 while D'Shawn Schwartz (2017-21) is tied for 34th at 1,026.
Battey is 32nd in career rebounds at 513, needing 16 to jump into CU's top 30.