Colorado beats Sacramento State 59-45 in defensive battle

The Colorado Buffaloes men’s basketball team hosted the Sacramento State Hornets Saturday night at the CU Events Center. Colorado extended its winning streak to six games following a 75-58 victory over the Hornets.

Junior forward Tyler Bey starred in the MGM Main Event Tournament in Las Vegas on Nov. 24 and 26. The Las Vegas native recorded back-to-back double doubles in a pair of victories over Wyoming and Clemson. The Buffs were forced to come from behind against Clemson, but eventually pulled off the win in the closest margin of victory this season (71-67).

Collectively, Colorado didn’t play its best basketball on the offensive end, shooting relatively low percentages as a team in both contests at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Defense won the game for the Buffs against Clemson in the final minute, with junior guard McKinley Wright IV stripping the ball from a Tiger guard and earning a trip to the charity stripe.

Head coach Tad Boyle prioritized defense against Sacramento State, starting sophomore guard Eli Parquet instead of sophomore guard Daylen Kountz at shooting guard Saturday night. Parquet, a native of Beaumont, Texas, is known for his defensive intensity and recently his three-point shooting ability.

Boyle talked about the decision to go with Parquet over Daylen after the game. Parquet’s defense being the primary reason for the switch.

“Elijah Parquet is probably our best perimeter defender other than McKinley (Wright IV) and you could maybe make an argument for D’Shawn (Schwartz),” Boyle said. “So, we know that Eli is going to give us that (perimeter defense). “It also allows McKinley maybe, not to take a break, but McKinley is always drawing the team’s best perimeter defender, usually in the back court. So, it allows us to put Eli on that guy from the get go and hopefully get McKinley going offensively.”

Colorado forced a shot clock violation on the Hornets first possession. However, three turnovers on the Buffs’ first three possessions led to somewhat of a slow start offensively for Boyle’s squad. Wright IV scored the Buffs’ first six points with a pair of contested layups and a jump shot.  Colorado led 6-2 at the under 16 timeout.

The Buffs finished the contest with 19 turnovers and only ten assists. Sloppy play on the offensive end had Boyle upset postgame because the talent is there, it’s just a matter of execution and running quality offense.

“I need to apologize to any Buff fan that came out and watched this tonight because it was it epitome of winning ugly,” Boyle said. “We weren’t very good offensively. We all expect more of this team on the offensive end than what we got tonight. That’s the fourth game in a row, offensively (where) we have not been the team that we are in practice. The way we played tonight, I can’t give them a break for that. It’s amazing the feeling we had in the locker room, it’s almost like we felt like we lost because we all know we can be better.”

Junior forward D’Shawn Schwartz broke a scoreless drought for both teams with a difficult drive and finish at the 9:31 mark of the first half. The Buffs led 10-8. Sophomore forward Evan Battey energized the crowd with a tough and one finish with just over four minutes left in the first half. A Hornets’ dry spell the last 6:13 gave Colorado an eight-point cushion at the break.

Parquet knocked down a mid range jump shot to open the scoring for the Buffs in the second half. A Hornets’ turnover resulted in a run out and a layup for Schwartz. Colorado led by 12 early in the second half. A majority of the Buffs’ offense came out of transition. Boyle said right now opponents know that Colorado struggles in half-court offense and eventually will get beat if they don’t improve.

“They (Sacramento State) don’t press you full court,” Boyle said. “It’s all half court stuff. And look the MO to beat Colorado is to take them out of transition. Sacramento State on film was a team that we were concerned with their offensive rebounding so were talking about boxing out. Well, much like Clemson, much like Wyoming, they didn’t offensive rebound. They sprint back and take us out of transition. That’s the MO, make Colorado play in the half court and they have trouble scoring. Right now, that’s the case and everybody knows it.”

The Buffs offense found its rhythm for a couple possessions to begin the second half. Colorado played inside out, finding Bey on the inside and kicking to open shooters. Senior forward Lucas Siewert was a beneficiary of the Buffs’ ball movement and splashed home a corner three for his first points of the contest. The Brazil native scored his second bucket of the game with a layup from underneath the basket.

Sacramento State remained in striking distance despite Colorado’s uptick in offense.  At the under 12 timeout, the Buffs’ held a seven-point advantage. Colorado, once again was unable to put a full game of quality basketball together. Wright IV said after the game, “We sucked….”

“We got to do a better job of putting two halves together,” Wright IV said. “We sucked in the first half. We sucked the whole game. 19 turnovers (that’s) terrible. We got a win, but we got to be better for teams coming down the stretch.”

Turnovers plagued the Buffs’ offense late in the period. Consequently, the Hornets trailed only by single digits a majority of the final half. The Hornets cut the lead to five with over three and half minutes left, but Colorado hit three field goals in a row to end the game and pulled away. The Buffs won 59-45.

Colorado (6-0) hosts Loyola-Marymount (2-4) on Wednesday night. The tipoff is set for 8:00 p.m. MST.

 

 

Freshman Jaylyn Sherrod leads Buffs to victory in exhibition

The Colorado Buffaloes women’s basketball team hosted Regis in an exhibition game Monday night in Boulder at the CU Events Center. Colorado defeated the Rangers 92-45.

Sophomore forward Peanut Tuitele opened the scoring for the Buffs following a three-minute drought to begin the game. Colorado took advantage of the size difference inside, finding junior forward Mya Hollingshed for an easy layup for the Buffs’ second basket.

Despite shooting a low percentage early, the Rangers were persistent of the glass, grabbing multiple offensive rebounds and capitalizing on the inside with second chance points. Freshman guard Jaylyn Sherrod provided a spark for the Buffs, knocking down a three, converting an and-one, and assisting on a fast break layup on three consecutive possessions. Colorado jumped out to a 14-6 lead.

Head coach JR Payne talked about Sherrod’s performance postgame. Payne said even though it’s just an exhibition, it counts in her mind.

“I mean I count that,” Payne said. “I even said in the locker room your (Jaylyn Sherrod’s) first collegiate game: 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one turnover, a couple blocks. It’s a great stat line and Jaylyn’s a great player. She’s going to be a great Buff for years to come.”

Regis continued to struggle on the offensive end, finishing the first quarter shooting 17 percent from the field. Sherrod led the Buffs with eight points and four rebounds after the first ten minutes. The Buffs led 20-6.

Sherrod’s playmaking continued in the second quarter, finding freshman guard Zuzanna Kulinska for an and-one to extend the Colorado lead to 16. After struggling early on, sophomore guard Emma Clarke knocked down a three to add to the already commanding lead for the Buffs.

Sherrod found senior guard Quinessa Cayloa-Do for an and-one late in the second quarter to push the Colorado lead to 30. Sherrod pulled up for a jumper with a few seconds left in the half to give the Buffs a 47-12 lead at halftime.

Sherrod admitted that she was nervous to begin the game, but after the first few plays she settled in.

“When I first started I was kind of nervous,” Sherrod said. “I told Aubrey (Knight) that I was so jittery. But, it was just good to get out there and play, being that I haven’t played in a minute, even going back to high school. So, it was just a good opportunity and a good chance to get back out there.”

Redshirt sophomore guard Aubrey Knight knocked down a jumper at the top of the key for open the third quarter scoring for the Buffaloes. A transition layup from Clarke capped a 7-0 run for Colorado. Unselfish play on the offensive end kept the Buffs efficient from the field, shooting 59 percent through three quarters.

Despite holding a 39-point lead early in the fourth quarter Colorado’s activity level remained high on both ends, grabbing multiple offensive rebounds and attacking the rim. Freshman guard Raanee Smith set up Knight for an and-one opportunity after coming up with a steal.

Payne liked the Buffs’ persistence and high energy, which translated into rebounds on both ends.

“I’m just thrilled with our effort tonight,” Payne said. “I thought we played extremely hard. We want to be the toughest, hardest-working, most disciplined team and I thought in a lot of ways we were that team tonight. (I) love our rebounding effort, to out rebound somebody by 25, especially Regis, who’s a very good rebounding team, was great.

Sherrod pushed the ball in transition and found junior forward Annika Jank for a corner three. Colorado led 87-38 late in the fourth quarter. Sherrod attacked the Regis press late and put back her own miss to give the Buffs a 50-point lead. Colorado defeated Regis 92-45.

Sherrod said after the game that she prides herself on her ability to bring a relentless energy and effort to the court and it showed Monday night.

“I pride myself on what I do best is what I bring to the team and if I don’t do my job I let my team down,” Sherrod said. “And my job is energy so bringing that to the team every night is what I pride myself on.”

The Buffs open the regular season Sunday, November 10 against New Jersey Institute of Technology in Boulder. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. MST.

D’Shawn Schwartz looks to solidify his role as a third option for Buffs

Junior guard D’Shawn Schwartz took a big step from freshman to sophomore year. He started 35 games on the wing for the Buffs last season, averaging 9.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, compared to just 3.4 points per game his freshman year. Schwartz’s production increased in the Pac-12 and postseason play in 2018, scoring in double digits during the three NIT matchups.

According to Colorado head coach Tad Boyle, Schwartz had an effective offseason headed into 2019, one that should put him position to be the third option offensively, alongside junior forward Tyler Bey and junior point guard, McKinley Wright IV.

“He (D’Shawn Schwartz) has had as good of an offseason as anybody in our program,” Boyle said. “He’s playing with a high degree of confidence right now and I think he’s, he’s going to be a guy, I think McKinley and Tyler being first team all-league guys, we know what they’re capable of and we know what we expect of them. I think D’Shawn has got the ability to really step his game up and be that third option.”

Schwartz’s shooting has stood out over the summer and so far in preseason. He should provide a major boost for a Colorado team that finished tenth in the Pac-12 last season, shooting just 32 percent from downtown. Schwartz along with senior guard Shane Gatling will be the go to three-point shooters for the Buffs in 2019-20.

“When we looked at all the shots we took in the preseason in the workouts, he was by far our best in terms of overall shooting,” Boyle said. Defensively and offensively he’s playing with a lot of confidence.”

In addition to improving his accuracy from deep, Schwartz made a purposeful effort in transforming his body and getting in shape for the upcoming season. Tad Boyle talked about Schwartz’ physical evolution this offseason.

“He’s physically a lot stronger and bigger,” Boyle said. Just the natural maturation (and) the work he’s put in with coach Englehart in the weight room (has paid off).”

Schwartz echoed Boyle’s thoughts and was quick to mention strength and conditioning coach Steve Englehart, who played a key role in Schwartz’ offseason transformation.

“I would say the weight room (on areas of offseason improvement),” Schwartz said. “Shout out to Steve because he really put a lot of emphasis on working on my lower body (and) upper body, trying to get my vertical better. I think I got really in shape in the offseason, that was something I was really focusing on, just trying to be in the best shape of my college career.”

Headed into this season Schwartz said he wants to be a guy that his teammates can look to as a leader. Schwartz’ jump in productivity last season came in part because former guard, Namon Wright missed the second half of the 2018-19 season with a foot injury. This year, because of his drastic improvement in his sophomore campaign, Schwartz is expected to be an integral part for the Buffs’ both offensively and defensively.

“(I’m) just trying to change my mindset from being a guy in the backseat to just trying to be one of those guys that people can look to for help or if they want watch somebody who leads by example,” Schwartz said. “I kind of want to be that guy this year.”

When asked about the evolution of his game since arriving on campus in 2017, Schwartz said it’s a product of going up against stiff competition every day in practice. Playing in the Pac-12 year after year has helped to craft his game into what it is today.

“I think (it) comes from just confidence and just playing at this level every day,” Schwartz said. “Going up against guys like Tyler Bey and everybody on this team, playing against hard defense made me want to become a better defender and (improve) all those facets of my game.”

Schwartz’s length defensively allows him to guard pretty much all five positions, something that frequently is overlooked when evaluating repertoire both offensively and defensively. His physical improvements in the offseason put him in position to be a solid option defensively given his length a six foot seven inches. With all the focus on Bey and Wright, expect Schwartz to take on an even more expanded role for Boyle’s Buffaloes in 2019-20 and be a consistent contributor on both sides of the ball.

Colorado winning streak extends to four with 77-73 victory over Arizona State

The Colorado Buffaloes faced the Arizona State Sun Devils in a Pac-12 clash on Wednesday night at CU Events Center. Colorado looked to extend its winning streak to four following impressive victories over Oregon, UCLA and USC, the latter two of which came away from home.

Sophomore guard McKinley Wright IV set up sophomore forward Tyler Bey with two early dunks and the Buffs took an early 6-4 lead. The Sun Devils started the game cold from the field scoring just two of their first seven. Colorado was unable to solve Arizona State’s zone look defensively, shooting just 33 percent in the early going.

Freshman forward Taeshon Cherry, who missed the last two games with a concussion, led the way early for the Sun Devils, scoring eight points on 3-of-3 shooting from the field early in the game.

Impressive trios were the story in the first half. Bey, freshman forward Evan Battey and Wright IV combined for 25 points and 11 rebounds for Colorado. For the Sun Devils, Cherry, freshman guard Luguentz Dort and sophomore forward Romello White combined for 24 points. The game was tied 32 all at the break.

Junior forward Lucas Siewert splashed a three to open the scoring for the Buffaloes in the second half. Dort responded for Arizona State throwing down a baseline jam on a feed from sophomore guard Remy Martin as the Sun Devils took a 41-37 lead.

The Buffaloes were more successful against the zone in the second half. Bey scored six points for Colorado during a 9-2 run as they took a narrow two-point lead. The game flowed back and forth with multiple lead changes in the second half.

Junior guard Shane Gatling extended the Colorado lead to seven with two free throws late in the second half. The Buffs struggled from deep throughout the game shooting just 28 percent, but a McKInley Wright three gave Colorado their largest lead at eight with under three minutes to play.

Wright IV led the way for the Buffs late in the second half. He finished the game with a season-high 24 points. Bey and McKinley Wright IV connected on a lob with just under a minute to play to extend the Colorado lead to nine, their largest of the game.  

Bey closed the game out by grabbing two rebounds in the last 30 seconds, finishing with a career-high 17. Colorado defeated Arizona State 77-73. The Buffs are now .500 in conference play. They will take on Arizona at home on Sunday.

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