The problem that plagued the Buffs last year still seems to be a problem, they are weak on the glass. The Bengals were able to stay in the game because they dominated the boards in the first half and to start the second half. Crashing the boards led to many easy put-backs for the Bengals and had them only down 7 at half, trailing 45-38. They registered 44 points in the paint.
Shooting guard Broderick Gilchrist was lights out in the first twenty-five minutes of the game. He had 20 points in the first half and shot a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the 3-point line. He finished with a game-high 39-points.
Levi Knutson had 10 first-half points on a perfect 4-for-4 from the field. But his play in the second half kept the Buffs from letting the game slip away from them.
The Bengals came out of the locker room and went on an 8-0 run to start the half. Knutson came in for Marcus Relphorde and went to work, getting back-to-back layups followed by a pair of free throws that put the Buffs up for the rest of the game.
The most exciting play of the night came at the end of the first half when Alec Burks took a Cory Higgins steal to the house with a windmill-reverse dunk. The entire crowd came to its feet."I was just trying to show-out for the fans."
No one in the crowd would disagree with that. Burks finished with 20 points but he grabbed zero rebounds in 31 minutes on the court.
The Buffs got a lot of help from the bench. Along with the 16 from Knutson, true freshman Andre Roberson, from San Antonio, Texas gave the Buffs 11 rebounds in his first game.
Shannon Sharpe also gave big minutes to Boyle in his Colorado debut but scored just one point and didn't have a rebound. Sharpe provided full-court ball pressure and his hard on-ball defense led to multiple teammates shooting the gaps and getting easy steals and layups. He made one steal.
Picking up the fast tempo style of play that Tad Boyle is implementing in Boulder didn't seem to be a problem for the young Buffaloes. They were able to push the ball up the court after both made field goals and free throws. Outlets were made to the point guard, Sharpe or Nate Tomlinson, and they pushed the ball up to the wings as quickly as they could. This quick-break style led to many lay-ups and free throws at the other end of the floor.
After gaining the 15 point lead late in the second half, the Buffs went into cruise control and won the game.
"It wasn't a pretty win but it was a win," coach Tad Boyle said after the game.