"It was a good win against a very quality opponent," CU head coach Ricardo Patton said. "That team is going to win a lot of games in their league. They did an excellent job of coming in and running it down our throats."
Monday, however, C of C was outmatched by the Buffs.
While the College of Charleston scored first, Colorado took a 6-5 lead when CU center Lamont Arrington came off the bench and hit a bucket in the lane. The Buffs never trailed again.
That didn't mean the Cougars were out of it, at least not until the final two minutes. After leading by five, 38-33, at the half, the Buffs pushed the margin to double digits when Jayson Obazuaye broke free for a lay up four minutes into the second half. Martane Freeman drove the lane and dished to Arrington, who threw down a dunk at the 12:11 mark, giving the Buffs a 13-point lead.
Then it was Roby, the 6-foot-6 swingman, who came up with two big shots to thwart Cougar runs later in the period. After C of C had cut the Buffs' lead to seven, Roby drove the lane hard and converted. Moments later, he sank a 3-pointer to put the Buffs up by 11.
That's when Patton inserted both Arrington and post player Julius Ashby into the lineup together for the first time all night, and switched to a zone defense, effectively slowing the Cougars' offense and sealing the win.
Roby quietly led all scorers (19) and led the Buffs in rebounds with 8. However, Patton wasn't pleased with the rookie's defense and benched the starter at the beginning of the second half.
"He's definitely a guy that can play on the offensive end, but he's got to get much better on the defensive end," Patton said. "That's the thing that's giving me nightmares right now."
Roby was also playing in front of his famous half-brother, Kenyon Martin of the Denver Nuggets, for the first time. Martin, and teammate Carmelo Anthony, watched the game courtside. Midway through the first half, Roby hit his first of two treys on the night. On the next play he reached in front of his opponent, stole the ball, took two dribbles and dunked, as Martin gave a big, approving smile.
But Roby said he didn't notice he had stolen the ball right in front of Martin.
"I didn't even notice him until I was sitting on the bench," Roby said. "I try to eliminate all the distractions from the crowd when I go out there and play."
Stat Leaders, Colorado
Points: Richard Roby, 19, Julius Ashby 13
Rebounds: Roby 8, Julius Ashby, Glean Eddy 7
Assists: Marcus Hall, Jayson Obazuaye 3
Steals: Hall, Roby 2
Blocks: Glean Eddy, Andy Osborn, Ashby, Roby 2
Turnovers: Eddy 4
College of Charleston
Rebounds:Stanley Jackson 9
Assists: Drew Hall 3
Blocks: Jeff Horowitz 1
Turnovers: S. Jackson 4
What They Said
In the second half I thought we picked it up on defense a little bit. Particularly in transition. We stopped allowing so many easy buckets. The two areas we were concerned with at halftime were transition defense and rebounding. They had actually outrebounded us in the first half.
On Having the Opportunity to Play on ESPN vs. Michigan Wednesday
It's a good game if you can go there. I think anytime you're picked to play in the Preseason NIT, I really think it's a prestigious tournament. I consider it an honor to be one of the teams selected.
On CU's Defensive Effort
I have to look at the tape to see how we played. I didn't think we played that well, to be honest.
On the CU Guards Having To Take Up Some Rebounding Slack
Lamar Harris was one of the guys I talked about being concerned about how we were going to replace him. He was a guy that got really tough rebounds. The crowd even enjoyed watching him go after loose balls and rebounds. We have always talked to our guards about rebounding the ball, and particularly with Obazuaye's size and strength and athleticism, he should get rebounds. Roby had a few rebounds, and Glean Eddy is capable of getting some rebounds. I was excited to see Andy Osborn get some rebounds.
On Richard Roby's Play
Defensivley he's just got to keep coming. I'm more concerned with his defense at this point. His offense, it's OK. I don't think he will lead us in scoring night in and night out. We don't have a team that we have to depend on one guy to lead us in scoring every night.
On Lomont Arrington's Play
I thought Lamont came in and did a nice job early in the game. He missed some chip ins around the offensive glass, but still did a nice job for us. It was good to play he and Julius at the same time late in the game. That's a look that hopefully we can get to more this year.
On This Year's Depth
In the past we thought we've had more depth and as it turned out as the season went on, the depth wasn't like we thought it was. But I think this is the most depth we've had. Ther's not as great a drop off when we go to our bench.
It's still early. We're starting a week earlier than most teams that aren't playing in the Preseason NIT. So that's an extra week of practice to work on some things.
On Monday's starting lineup of Obazuaye, Ashby, Osborn, Roby and Eddy
It's the starting lineup for now, unless Roby doesn't start playing better defense. He didn't start the second half. The thing that's important is that I think Roby wants to be a good defensive player. I don't think he wants to be one-dimensional. That's good.
These guys listen and work hard every day. Our shortcomings, for the most part, are due to a lack of experience.
On CU's struggles from the Free Throw Line (they shot 48 percent)
We work on free throw shooting constantly. Guys have to spend extra time working on it. Then they've just got to step up to the line and make them. But what we've told our players is if we're going to be poor free throw shooters, then we've got to make up for it in different areas. And that has to be on the defensive end.
On His Game
I think I could've done a better job on defense as Coach pointed out many a time. I tried to just go out there and play hard. We got the win and that's all that matters.
I had my shots, and I just took advantage of what the defense gave me.
Arrington is from Detroit, and Wednesday's game at Michigan will be in front of friends and family. Patton said Arrington will draw the start in his home state.
"I'm definitely looking forward to going home," said the 6-11 post player. "The guys already said they're looking out for me and are going to help get this win for me. Starting is not really a big deal to me as long as I get to go out there and play. We all go out there and play hard, play smart and play together. Hopefully, we can get the win. I definitely want to play well at home. I've got some people coming."
There's a new look at the Coors Events Center. Two new, larger scoreboards have replaced the older boards, and the press table on the west side of the arena has been drastically reduced. Most of the members of the media have been moved to benches between the band and the student section and several moveable seats have been placed courtside on either side of the remaining press table. The athletic department is selling the seats at a premium price. Monday, some of the takers included Denver Nuggets Carmelo Anthony and Kenyon Martin.
Denver Nugget Carmelo Anthony and TV personality La La watched the Colorado-College of Charleston game courtside on Monday.
Photo by AP