Colorado Tops Nebraska In Exhibition
BOULDER- Colorado led from the start, never looking back, in a 72-61 exhibition win against Nebraska, Sunday afternoon at the CU Events Center.
Colorado handled their long-time rival on both sides of the ball, and avenged a loss to Nebraska in an exhibition game that took place a year ago.
"I know it's an exhibition and it's not going to count but every game counts to us, especially this one, understanding what happened last year. I told the new guys, let's have that edge to us, lets have that energy," sophomore KJ Simpson said.
Sunday's exhibition drew 3,360 fans with ticket proceeds going to the Boulder County Wildfire Fund.
Colorado didn't give Nebraska the opportunity to score often in the first. The Buffs starting five locked down Nebraska, and didn't allow a point for the first six minutes. The Buffs quickly jumped out to a 10-0 lead early and didn't let go until the final buzzer rang.
The Buffaloes continued to pile it on in the second, mainly by way of the two-point shot. Colorado struggled from beyond the arc, shooting 6-22 on the night. The second half saw a lot more back-and-forth scoring, but CU continued to out-pace Nebraska, and finished with a 72-61 victory.
Simpson led the Buffs offense in points, scoring 17 and shooting 7-15 from the field. He was followed by fellow starter, junior Tristan da Silva, who shined in his first outing of the year. He led the team in scoring in the first half and finished the game with nine points.
Junior Luke O'Brien and Nique Clifford were each responsible for eight rebounds. Five of O'Brien's were on the offensive end.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado hit the ground running to start the first half. Back-to-back three pointers from da Silva and Simpson kicked off the scoring, and a J'Vonne Hadley finished a fast-break dunk to give CU a 10-0 lead.
The Buffs defense came out just as efficient as the offense. It took Nebraska eight possessions to get on the board. Nebraska strung together a few points off a pair of three pointers from Keisei Tominaga, and Colorado's lead cut to four, 12-7. The Cornhuskers didn't get any closer.
A pair of layups from da Silva gave CU a 19-9 lead and kicked off a seven-point scoring run. By the end of the scoring Colorado's lead grew to 17, its largest of the half.
A handful of missed three point opportunities from the Buffs allowed multiple scoring runs from the Cornhuskers, who managed shorten CU's lead in the closing minutes of the half. Colorado managed to find the open 3-point shot, but struggled to hit it. They shot 3-12 from beyond the arc in the first.
The Buffs held a 37-30 lead over Nebraska at the end of the half.
Simpson kicked off the scoring in the second half with back-to-back field goals, the second being from three-point range. He led the team in scoring in the second half with 10 points.
Twenty of Colorado's 35 points in the second half came from inside the paint. Starting center Lawson Lovering picked up his first field goal of the night off a rebound he put back that grew Colorado's lead to 45-34, and prompted Nebraska to call timeout.
Colorado continued to pile on the score, they hit the 50-point mark off Simpson's 16th point of the night and his ninth of the half. CU followed it up with a five-point scoring run, extending its lead, 55-40.
The two teams began exchanging baskets, but a four-point CU run in the closing minutes extended Colorado's lead 69-57, solidifying the victory. Colorado finished the half how it started it, with a Simpson field goal, and Colorado won 72-61.
"We're 0-0 so, even though every time you step on the floor you want to compete to win…it's about learning what's going to translate to winning basketball games starting Nov 7. when we play UC Riverside," Colorado head coach Tad Boyle said.