Buffs Remain Undefeated, Roll Past Black Bears
BOULDER — Colorado's Keeshawn Barthelemy scored a career-high 22 points and the Buffaloes recovered from a slow start Monday night to roll to a 90-46 win over Maine at the CU Events Center.
Tad Boyle's Buffs improved to 3-0 while the Black Bears dropped to 1-2.
Barthelemy scored his 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting in 23 minutes on the floor. Jabari Walker had 15 points and six rebounds for CU and Nique Clifford added 10 points. Evan Battey and Lawson Lovering shared CU's rebounding lead with seven each.
Vukasin Masic led Maine with 11 points.
After falling behind early, the Buffs built a 46-29 lead at the half, then outscored Maine 44-17 in the second half.
Colorado dominated virtually every statistical category. The Buffs had a 45-23 edge on the boards and held Maine to only four offensive rebounds. Colorado finished with just 10 turnovers, including just one by Barthelemy, who had seven in last weekend's win over New Mexico, and forced 17 Maine turnovers, which CU converted into 25 points.
Colorado also held Maine to just 33 percent shooting from the floor (16-for-49) while the Buffs shot 54 percent (31-for-57).
"Not a nail-biter tonight, thank goodness," said Boyle, whose team went to overtime to win its opener over Montana State, then fought off New Mexico down the stretch for its second win. "I thought our guys took about eight minutes to kind of wake up and figure out that part of the game plan was defensive pressure and intensity. I was pretty pleased with that for 32 minutes, but we're still trying to figure out a 40-minute game … But overall, I'm pleased."
HOW IT HAPPENED: The Buffs were a bit sluggish out of the gate and the Black Bears took a 13-12 lead seven minutes in.
But Colorado finally turned up the defensive pressure with some full-court pressure, and that ignited the offense. A Barthelemy dunk with 8:39 left in the half broke a 15-15 tie and the Buffs never trailed again.
"Our defensive intensity from the get-go has to get better," Barthelemy said. "We just lacked energy and the press helped us get some stops and some steals and we got some baskets and that got us going."
Colorado pushed its lead to 25-17 before Maine cut the margin to 25-22, but CU responded with an 8-0 run to take control for good.
Clifford started the surge with a 3-pointer and Barthelemy followed with anothery trey. Tristan da Silva then rolled in a layup to give CU its first double-digit lead of the game, a 33-22 edge with 3:33 to play.
The Buffs continued to build their cushion, finally taking a 46-29 lead into intermission after outscoring the Black Bears 31-14 over the last nine minutes of the half.
The second half was all Colorado. After Maine opened the period with a 3-pointer, the Buffs put together a 14-0 run that saw CU record eight consecutive stops on the defensive end. Barthelemy had six points in the run, including the first four, and Elijah Parquet, Walker, Lovering and K.J. Simpson also scored as Colorado surged to a 60-32 lead.
Maine finally halted the run with a bucket at the 13:42 mark but the Buffs quickly answered again, and a Simpson layup with 12:51 to play pushed Colorado's margin to 30 points, 64-34.
The Buffs continued to build their lead down the stretch, expanding the cushion to as much as 45 in the final minutes.
"If our team will not play with an individual agenda, we have a chance to be pretty good," Boyle said. "One of our mantras has been to make plays for each other."
The rout enabled Boyle to get playing time for every player in uniform, with 14 Buffs seeing action.
Ten different Buffs played at least 14 minutes.
TURNING POINT: After Maine cut an eight-point CU lead to three late in the second half, the Buffs put together an 8-0 run to push their cushion to double digits, and they slowly built that margin the rest of the half.
WHAT IT MEANS: Colorado is now 21-1 in the month of November since the beginning of the 2017-18 season, the best record in the nation in November over that span.
KEY STATISTICS: The Buffs had a 45-23 edge on the boards and held Maine to only four offensive rebounds … Colorado finished with just 10 turnovers, and forced 17 Maine turnovers, which CU converted into 25 points ...CU held Maine to just 33 percent shooting from the floor (16-for-49) while the Buffs shot 54 percent (31-for-57).
NOTEWORTHY: Battey had a relatively quiet night on the offensive end with just four points, but he was 2-for-4 from the floor and is shooting 15-for-20 for the season … Walker now has 24 rebounds in three games … The Buffs are averaging 90.3 points per game thus far … The Buffs are 72-for-100 from the free throw line (72 percent), definitely not a bad percentage but still well below last year's record-setting 81.9 percent mark of a year ago … Getting his first playing time of the season was guard Julian Hammond III, who finished with eight points and four rebounds in 16 minutes on the floor.
NEXT UP: The Buffs travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands next weekend for the Paradise Jam, beginning with a 6 p.m. game against Southern Illinois on Friday (ESPN3). If the Buffs win, they will play the Northeastern-Duquesne winner Sunday a 6 p.m. If they lose, they will play the loser of that game Saturday at 3:45 p.m.