After 40 grueling minutes wrought with numerous fouls and decent shooting from both teams, the University of Colorado Buffaloes powered past the Arkansas State University Red Wolves 93-70. It was their third straight victory of 90 points or more.
"Obviously, we're happy with a 23-point win," head coach Tad Boyle said. "That was the good news. But I think again, like most games we've played this year, there are things we can take away from this one, and learn from and get better from."
The Buffs slightly out-performed the Red Wolves on offense as they shot 30 for 64 field goals (46.9%), 9 for 23 three-point shots (39.1%), and 24 for 30 free throws (80%). The Red Wolves shot 41% from the field, 36.8% from behind the arc, and 78.9% from the foul line.
"We knew coming in that they were a talented offensive team, so we locked in and we got the win by a large margin," sophomore forward Josh Scott said.
Freshman guard George King improved tremendously since the start of the season and came off the bench to score an additional 11 points.
"I've grown a lot, offensively and defensively," King said. "Knowing the plays, knowing more of what I'm doing in particular. I feel more comfortable when I'm on the court. I'm just having fun out here. I think that's the biggest key: just having fun.
By the end of the night, Colorado's bench contributed 34 points to the overall score, as opposed to Arkansas State's 0 points.
In addition to a stronger offense than the Red Wolves, the Buffaloes stepped it up on rebounding to grab 42 boards, whereas Arkansas State only grabbed 30.
"I think the thing that stands out to me tonight was just our 40 minutes of defense and intensity," Boyle said. "We let up a little bit the first part of that second half, and part of that credit goes to Arkansas State. They've got good players, and we knew that coming in."
Monday night's game got off to a quick start with a jumper from Melvin Johnson III to put the Red Wolves up 3-0 twenty seconds into the game. Junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie responded right away with a three-point jumper of his own to tie up the score 3-3.
Junior guard Askia Booker complimented Dinwiddie's shot with a nice layup thirty seconds later, putting the Buffs up 5-3. The Buffs never lost the lead after that.
The Buffs went up by as much as six points for the next few minutes, until a couple free throws from Kirk Van Slyke brought the Red Wolves to within one point of the Buffs with 16 minutes left in the first (11-10).
Then the freshmen took over for Colorado. Guard Jaron Hopkins started off an eleven-point streak with a couple free throws followed by a huge three-point basket. King followed suit and made a couple of treys himself, putting the Buffs up 22-10 with 12:56 left on the clock.
For the remainder of the half, the Buffs acquired three separate 18-point leads. The first came with four minutes left on the clock thanks to a free throw from George King (40-22). A layup from Josh Scott three minutes later gave his team it's second 18-point edge, 44-26. By the end of the first, the Buffs would lead again by that margin, 46-28.
Throughout the entire first half, only two players from Arkansas State accounted for their 28 points. Johnson III led with 15 points, followed closely by Van Slyke with 13 of his own.
The second half got off to a quick start with a nasty alley oop from Hopkins thirty seconds in (48-28), but the Red Wolves weren't ready to turn over just yet. Four treys and two two-point baskets later, Arkansas State had gotten within eight points with 15 minutes left in the game (55-47).
Eight points would be as close as they got to the Buffs. In the end, the Buffs went up by as much as 25 points two separate times. The first came with a nasty dunk from senior center Ben Mills with just under two minutes left, and walk-on sophomore guard Brett Brady sealed the deal a minute later with a three-point jumper, 93-68.
Arkansas State only managed to get one more bucket off before the buzzer sounded, bringing the final score to 93-70.
The Buffs return to their home floor on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. as they take on the University of California Santa Barbara and will also host Harvard University the following Sunday. Said Coach Boyle after the game on Monday, "We'll find out in the next two games how much we've grown."