Buffs Begin Season with Win Over Wildcats

The University of Colorado men's basketball team overcame a five point halftime deficit, utilizing a 40-point second half effort to down Northwestern 67-56 in the first game of the 2003-04 regular season Friday night in Evanston, Illinois.

Michel Morandais scored 21 points for CU and the Buffs held Northwestern to three baskets in the final 13 minutes of the contest, beating the Wildcats for the first time since 1967. Blair Wilson added 16 and David Harrison 10 for Colorado, while Vedran Vukusic had 13 for Northwestern, which shot 24 percent from the field in the second half and was outscored 40-24 in the game's final twenty minutes.

"This is what you call a quality win," said Colorado head coach Ricardo Patton following the game. "We made some good adjustments in the second half.

CU took advantage of a key 14-2 run late in that second half, sparked by senior forward Lamar Harris.

"I'm a defensive player and not much of an offensive player right now," said Harris, who has looked promising after his 12 rebounds in the Buffs' final exhibition game against the EA Sports All Star Team. "I'll be happy if I can have 10 rebounds like tonight."

Northwestern attacked the Colorado defense with backdoor cuts and precision passing, always staying within arms reach of the lead once Colorado overtook the score in the second half. T.J. Parker had 11 points at the half for NU and Morandais 13 for Colorado. Parker was held to just one point in the second half.

Three Wildcats scored in double figures on the night, but Northwestern was outrebounded by the Buffs 42-24, nearly a 2:1 ratio. Adding to Colorado's intangible dominance were CU's 14 second chance points compared to just four in the game for the Wildcats.

Colorado continues its season-opening three-game nonconference road trip Monday night against Pepperdine, before concluding the stint against Cal-Poly on Wednesday. CU's home opener at the Coors Events Conference Center will be against Oregon State on December 1.


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