Buffs Return From Finals To Host CSU Bakersfield Saturday
ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 8-3 overall and 1-1 in the Pac-12 Conference, returning to the hardwood after an eight-day break for finals. The Buffaloes were last in action on Dec. 10, claiming a 65-54 decision over Milwaukee at the CU Events Center.
Colorado is set to play its fourth of five-straight home games to end the nonconference schedule. The Buffaloes opened the Pac-12 schedule with an 80-76 win over Stanford on Nov. 28 - the earliest conference game in the nation this season. Colorado resumes Pac-12 play at the end of the month.
Colorado has won 31 of its last 43 games dating back to the beginning of the 2020-21 season. With the win over Eastern Washington, the Buffaloes bounced back from just their second two-game losing streak in the last two seasons, and now has won their last two and five of seven overall.
The Buffaloes have fared well in tight contests. Eight of Colorado's 11 games have been within six points - or two possessions - with four minutes or less remaining in the game. The Buffaloes are 7-1 in those contests.
Colorado is averaging 72.0 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the field. The Buffaloes lead the Pac-12 Conference, and rank in the Top 20 nationally, in free throws made and attempted. Colorado's 179 free throws made rank 13th in NCAA Division I while its 247 attempts are 16th.
While the Buffaloes are among the top teams in the nation at getting to the line, they also have a recent trend of keeping their opponents off it. Milwaukee shot just 11 free throws on Dec. 10, making seven. Two days earlier, Eastern Washington attempted only seven free throws. CU's opponents are just 18 of 27 from the line the last three games.
Defensively, the Buffaloes have allowed 66.9 points per game while opponents have shot 42 percent. Colorado's defense has tightened the last two games, allowing just 55.5 points. In both those games, the Buffaloes reached one of their Boyle era Ògold standardsÓ of holding opponents to 40 percent of less from the field and least a plus-8 rebound advantage. Colorado improved to 76-5 in those games after holding Milwaukee to 36.4 percent and winning the rebounding battle by nine (39-30).
Sophomore forward Jabari Walker leads the Buffaloes at 14.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. He had 14 points against Milwaukee and is the only Buffalo to have scored in double-figures in all 11 games.
Walker has a team-best six double-doubles, five of which have come in the last seven games. He had a string of four-straight double-doubles earlier in the preseason, highlighted by a season-high 22 points and 11 rebounds at UCLA. Walker's four-straight double-doubles are the longest such streak by a Buffalo since Tyler Bey had five in a row in the final five games of the 2018-19 Pac-12 schedule. During that four-game span, he averaged 14.3 points and 12.0 rebounds an outing.
On the Pac-12 charts, Walker is third in overall rebounds and defensive boards (6.4 drpg) and eighth in offensive rebounds (2.5 orpg) and scoring.
Senior forward Evan Battey is averaging 13.1 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting a team-best 55.4 percent from the field. He had a game-high 15 points in the win over Milwaukee. Battey shot 6 of 8 from the field against the Panthers, breaking out of a mini shooting slump that saw him hit just 9 of 28 over the previous three games (.321).
Battey had a career-high 22 points, hitting all four 3-point attempts, in the conference opener against Stanford.
Battey was named to the Paradise Jam All-Tournament Team leading the Buffaloes at 15.3 points per game while shooting 53 percent from the field. He had a team-high 18 points against Duquesne along with a career-best three steals. Battey rounded out the Paradise Jam with a game-high 16 points and five rebounds against Brown.
On the Pac-12 charts, Battey is sixth in overall shooting and 16th in scoring.
Sophomore guard Keeshawn Barthelemy leads Colorado in assists (31) and 3-point field goals made and attempted (12 of 37) while ranking third on the team in scoring at 11.0 points per game.
Barthelemy's 31 assists have come with just 16 turnovers (1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio). Over the last nine games he has dished out 23 assists while turning it over just seven times (3.3 a-t). He has just two turnovers with 16 assists over the last five (8.0 a-t).
On the Pac-12 charts, Barthelemy ranks 11th in free throw percentage (.794) and 14th in assists (2.8 apg).
Sophomore Tristan da Silva is averaging 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 46 percent. He has scored in double digits four times this season - all coming in the last eight games. He is third on the team in assists with 19.
Senior guard Elijah Parquet is averaging 7.6 points and 2.5 rebounds while shooting 48 percent overall. Parquet had 11 points and tied a career best with five rebounds against Milwaukee. He was 3 of 4 from the field and hit all four free throw attempts. Parquet has made 12 of his last 19 from the field (.632).
A member of the Pac-12 Conference's All-Defensive Team in 2020-21, Parquet had the game's biggest offensive moment against Montana State. Parquet's 3-pointer with 18 seconds left in regulation tied the game at 80 and sent it to overtime. He finished with 17 points, hitting 5 of 11 from the field and 6 of 9 from the free throw line - all career highs.
Nique Clifford is averaging 5.3 points and is third on the team in rebounding 4.5 per game. He tied a personal best with nine rebounds against Brown, matching his effort in the season opener against Montana State.
K.J. Simpson is averaging 6.6 points and 2.2 rebounds per game ranking second on the team in assists with 25 off the bench. He is Colorado's third leading scorer over the first two Pac-12 games, averaging 9.0 points while shooting 47 percent.
Luke O'Brien had one of the best games of his young career in his last outing, against Milwaukee, scoring a career-best nine points on 4 of 5 from the field. He is 6 of 8 from the field (.750) over the last three games.
ABOUT THE ROADRUNNERS: CSU Bakersfield is 4-3 overall, coming off a 69-59 setback at Abilene Christian on Dec. 15, snapping a three-game winning streak. The Roadrunners average 67.1 points per game, however that number drops by nearly 10 points against NCAA Division I competition (57.2 ppg). Defensively, Bakersfield is holding opponents to 64.1 points while allowing just 39.9 percent shooting. The Roadrunners lead the Big West Conference in offensive rebounds (12.4 orpg), turnover margin (+2.7) and turnovers forced (16.9 topg).
Bakersfield's balanced attack features four players averaging between nine and 10 points per game. Sophomore guard Kaleb Higgins has a team-best 69 points (9.9 ppg), one point ahead of senior guards Justin McCall and Justin Edler-Davis, each with 68 (9.7 ppg). The senior duo are not only tied in points, they share the team lead in rebounding at 4.7 per game. Sophomore guard Shaun Williams, who missed the game against Abilene Christian, averages 9.2 points with a team-best 15 assists.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be third meeting between Colorado and CSU Bakersfield with the programs hooking up for the first time in 10 years almost to the date. Colorado swept a home-and-home series in 2011. The Buffaloes took an 85-73 decision in Bakersfield on Jan. 2, 2011 and followed up the next season with a 70-64 win in Boulder on Dec. 19, 2011.
BATTEY MILESTONES: Senior forward Evan Battey, Colorado's active leader in scoring and rebounding, scored a career-high 22 points against Stanford to become the 38th member of the 1,000 point club.
He is 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 36th at 1,026.
Colorado Career Scoring:
Rk. Player Years Points
30. Jim Davis 1961-64 1,110
31. Larry Vaculik 1974-78 1,084
32. Austin Dufualt 2008-12 1,076
33. Evan Battey 2018- 1,043
Battey is 27th in career rebounds at 565; 79 away from entering Colorado's career Top 20.
Colorado Career Rebounding:
Rk. Player Years Rebounds
20. McKinley Wright IV 2017-21 644
Donnie Boyce 1991-95 644
22. Brian Johnson 1977-81 628
23. Randy Downs 1982-86 622
24. Wilky Gilmore 1959-62 591
25. Alex Stivrins 1983-85 583
26. Scott Wilke 1984-88 576
27. Evan Battey 2018- 565
NONCONFERENCE NUMBERS: Colorado is 109-34 (.762) in nonconference regular season games under head coach Tad Boyle including a 62-17 mark (.785) since the beginning of the 2014-15 season.
Colorado is 81-6 (.931) in nonconference home games under Boyle, a record which includes a perfect 6-0 mark in postseason action.
LEADERS OF THE PAC: Colorado has the most wins (64) and has the third-best winning percentage (.703) among Pac-12 teams since February 2019. Colorado was 12-4 over the final two months of the 2018-19 season, culminating in a spot in the NIT Quarterfinals. The Buffaloes were 21-11 in 2019-20, well in line for an NCAA Tournament bid before the season was shut down on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Colorado was 23-9 in 2020-21, tying for the third best win total in team history and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Pac-12 Overall Records Since Feb. 1, 2019 (through Dec. 16, 2021)
W L Pct.
Oregon 63 24 .724
USC 62 25 .713
Colorado 64 27 .703
Arizona 51 27 .654
UCLA 54 30 .643
Stanford 45 34 .570
Arizona State 44 37 .543
Utah 42 36 .538
Oregon State 44 40 .524
Washington State 40 41 .494
Washington 34 47 .420
California 31 51 .378
RIGHT AT HOME: At the CU Events Center, the Buffaloes have won:
- 2 in a row
- 11 of their last 12 (11-1)
- 17 of their last 19 (17-2)
- 30 of 35 (30-5)
- 45 of 52 (45-7)
- 57 of 67 (57-10)
- 78 of 92 (78-14)
- 88 of 103 (88-15)
In the Tad Boyle era, Colorado is 158-29 at home (.845). The Buffaloes are 471-180 (.724) all-time at the CUEC. The Buffaloes, 11-1 at the CUEC in 2020-21, have won at least 10 games at home each of the last 12 seasons.