Buffs cruise to victory at home

The Colorado Buffaloes got back on the winning column tonight with a home victory over Texas Pan-American 83-64.

Coming off a tough loss at Harvard on Sunday, the Buffs had four players in double digits in scoring as they coasted by Texas Pan-American.

Levi Knutson led the Buffs with 18, Marcus Relphorde threw in 16, Cory Higgins added 15 and Alec Burks 12.

This was the first game that Burks failed to score 20 and lead the Buffs in scoring, but in the end it's all about win.

Shannon Sharpe played big minutes tonight after starting point guard Nate Tomlinson went out with a neck injury just 2 minutes into the game and didn't return to action.

Tomlinson had X-rays at halftime and during the second half and his status wasn't immediately clear after the game.

The Buffs had their best night passing as a team, 24 assists on 32 made baskets.

"Making the extra pass is playing together. It's not doing everything off the dribble," Tad Boyle said.

Once again, the Buffaloes came out sluggish to start the game and quickly found themselves down 9-8 going into the first TV timeout.

The Broncos came out hot and hit three quick 3-pointers to start the game giving them a quick 9-3 lead. The Buffs kept playing their basketball and quickly regained the lead on an Burks layup off a Higgins assist.

Colorado never looked back once it got the lead. After the quick threes to start the game, the Buffs didn't allow a basket for the next 13 minutes, turning a six-point deficit into a 10-point advantage. The Buffs built the lead up to 15 points after Knutson hit a layup off a Higgins pass as the clock ran out.

Colorado led 34-19 at half. Relphorde had 13 points at half, Knutson added 9 of his own as those two combined to outscored the Broncos.

Colorado came out at half looking to shut the door quick on Texas Pan-American. The Buffs went on a 9-0 run to start the second half and built their lead 24 in just 1:18 and never looked back. The closest the Broncos ever got in the second half was 15 with 11:40 left on a Perry Petty three pointer.

The Buffs were quick to answer with three consecutive buckets by Knutson, Ben Mills and Andre Roberson, building the lead back up to 21.

Knutson's big game off the bench comes just one week after he started just his second game of his career against Alcorn State. Tonight was just the second time that Knutson has led the Buffs in scoring.

Marcus Relphorde had his best game of the season with 16 points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Relphorde continues to adapt to style of Tad Boyle and tonight shows how he fits in perfect with the system that Boyle is trying to implement in Boulder.

"Marcus is a smart player and understands the game. But tonight I think he played with a maturity that we're gonna need as the season goes on," Tad Boyle said.

Although neither Burks nor Higgins led the Buffs in scoring, each filled up their stat line with assists and rebounds. Burks added seven rebounds and five assists to his 12 points, both season highs. Higgins led the Buffs with seven assists.

The CU bench was big tonight scoring 34 points, most of which came from Knutson. Another big contribution off the bench came from Shannon Sharpe, who played 24 minutes after Tomlinson left with a neck injury. Sharpe had six assists and four rebounds while remaining scoreless. His quickness seemed to be a problem for the Broncos when Sharpe was pressing full court.

Freshman Andre Roberson also had a decent night off the bench with eight points, six rebounds and one vicious block.

Colorado leveled out the record at 3-3 tonight with the 19-point victory. The Buffs needed a big win as they are hosting the Oregon State Beavers Saturday night in Boulder. The Beavers, from the Pac-10, may be the Buffs toughest preseason home game and will be looking to hand the Buffs first loss at home this season.

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