First Look: '06 Buffs

Colorado outplayed visiting Concordia University Thursday, winning its exhibition opener 97-85. CU guard Dominique Coleman had 17 points and seven assists in the win. Inside, some more highlights and thoughts from the game.

Concordia is one of the better university basketball programs in Canada, and came into Thursday's action with six games under its belt and a 4-2 record. But the Stingers were no match for Colorado, even though, at times, it was apparent the Buffs were playing their first organized game of the season.

CU freshman point guard Kal Bay — who hadn't played a game since December 2005 — started the Buffs' scoring with a 3-pointer on Colorado's first possession. The Buffs trailed only once after that point — at the 3-minute mark in the first half when Concordia briefly took a one-point lead.

Colorado led 44-37 at the break, though, and extended that margin in the second half.

Richard Roby led all scorers with 22 points.

First Look: Rookies
Bay was the only freshman in the starting lineup (he joined Roby, Dominique Coleman, Jermyl Jackson-Wilson and Marcus King-Stockton), as he got the nod over fellow frosh Dwight Thorne. The Bay/Thorne point guard battle will probably go on all season. Tonight, Bay logged 27 minutes, while Thorne logged 18. They were on the floor at the same time (Bay at point, Thorne at off guard) for a couple of stretches.

Bay is the kind of player who can't not lead his team. He's a real old-school, floor-general type. The half-court offense looked more confident when he was in. Thorne looks like he's a better on-ball defender than Bay at this point. Thorne will be as quick as just about any point guard in the Big 12.

Both have great shooting range. Bay hit 3 of 6 treys, Thorne was 1 of 2 from beyond the arc.

Xavier Silas was solid off the bench, and ended up playing 30 minutes. He scored 16, and pulled down six boards. This kid does not look or play like a freshman. He's confident and competent physically and basketball-wise. He has better range than I expected, and ended 1 of 6 from 3-point range. But he's best in the mid-range game, and can get to the hole.

Jeremy Williams is a kid who will be a lot better in February than December. Very gifted athletically, and more of an outside/inside player than an inside/outside guy. He scored 13 points and grabbed six boards in 20 minutes.

James Inge didn't play much, just five minutes. You can tell he's a scorer – nice shooting motion, moves well. But he'll have to show more aggressiveness on both ends of the floor to earn minutes at the two-guard, where the Buffs have several guys that deserve to play. He's the kind of player, though, that could go off offensively out of nowhere.

Marc Van Burck only logged three minutes, but frankly, he played better than I was expecting. He's a big body with soft hands. Until he gets in top shape, he's going to be a foul magnet. If he can earn minutes, it'll be a big boost.

Sean Kowal is a completely different kind of player than Van Burck. He moves pretty well, and looks fundamentally sound around the basket. This team is really going to need both rebounding and defensive production from him this season.

Inside Presence?
Colorado will likely struggle against good big men this season. The strength of this CU team looks to be its backcourt play. It will need guys like Silas, Roby and Coleman to help out on the boards. Jackson-Wilson got into foul trouble and played just 13 minutes.

Speaking of Coleman, he scored 17 points and had seven assists and five steals – both team highs.

Movement on Offense
It's way early, but CU players were obviously trying to move without the ball — and, as a result, move the ball — more than last year in their half-court offense. But this team is so athletic, they're going to be best when they can create turnovers and get out and run.

Stat Leaders
Points: Richard Roby 22
Rebounds: Roby 7
Assists: Coleman 7, Bay 5
Turnovers: Bay 4
Blocks: Coleman 2
Steals: Coleman 5

• There was a scare with 4:14 to go in the game when Roby went down grimacing in pain. But it turned out to be just a cramp in his calf, and he was OK.

• Attendance was really low. Only 722 showed up – the lowest for a CU exhibition game in CU history. When the national anthem was sung, there were about as many fans as there were players, staff, cheerleaders, media and band members.

• Next chance to see the team is Tuesday, when Regis visits (7 p.m.) for an exhibition. The season opens Nov. 10 in a double header. The women play San Francisco at 6 p.m. and the men play Denver University at 8:30.

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