Buffs Turn Back Regis

Colorado coaches emphasized defense in recent practices. It paid off to the tune of a 73-37 tune-up victory over visiting Regis in the Buffs' second and final exhibition game Tuesday.

Despite the decisive final score, things weren't easy in the early going. Using a starting lineup of Dwight Thorne, Dominique Coleman, Richard Roby, Jermyl Jackson-Wilson and Marc Van Burck, the Buffs held Regis to just three points in the first four minutes of the game. That was the good news.

The not good news was that CU looked like it was playing with tired legs, and their offense wasn't clicking. It was 3-3 at the 15:37 mark when Kal Bay, Marcus King-Stockton, Xavier Silas and Jeremy Williams were inserted into the lineup.

CU managed just 31 percent from the field in the first half, but stymied Regis — who lost 69-53 to Colorado State on Halloween — holding them to 27 percent. Colorado took a 21-16 lead into the locker room.

"There's going to be nights when our shots aren't falling," Roby said. "We've just got to persevere through that. We started making shots in the second half."

That they did. But not right away. Regis, a team playing with just three returners from last year's squad, pulled to within 6 points, 36-30 with 11:30 remaining in the game. Then CU took command.

The Buffs outscored Regis 18-1 over the next five minutes. When Bay found Roby for a trey, then pulled up and sank one himself at the 6:35 mark, the Buffs held a 54-31 lead, and Regis coach Lonnie Porter called a timeout. Colorado continued its dominance the rest of the way.

CU coach Ricardo Patton called it "a good second test" for his team. The real thing begins Friday night, when the Buffs host Denver University in their season opener (8:30 p.m. tipoff/FSN RM).

Patton was fairly pleased with his team's effort despite the sluggish start on offense. He said defense has been a point of emphasis all year – especially since there are eight freshmen on the team.

"We still have guys that are out of position (on defense), not sustaining their defensive stance, not seeing the ball," he said. "But as long as your effort is there, there's no reason why your defense shouldn't get better."

Patton added he wasn't concerned that CU couldn't find its offense early because his players were getting open looks, the shots just weren't falling.

Roby led all scorers with 15 points in 21 minutes of play. Coleman was very active all game, and put up an impressive stat line: 10 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 steals and just 2 turnovers in 29 minutes.

Coleman more comfortable
Through two exhibition games, it's clear Coleman can be more effective at the two guard than he was at point guard, where he played most of last season.

"I'm just more comfortable at this position," Coleman said. "Last year, I couldn't gamble for the steals or go to the boards and do things that I was better than other people at doing -- out-jumping them and out-quicking them."

With so many new faces in the fold, Patton is still tinkering with his rotation and combinations. Though Van Burck drew the start Tuesday, he played just four minutes in the first half, and didn't see the court again until the final four minutes of the game. Thorne started at point, but logged 15 minutes, while Bay was on the floor 23 minutes, running the show.

Patton used eight players most of the second half, and indicated afterwards that he may be looking for a rotation of eight or nine players. The eight he went with in the second half Tuesday included Coleman, Thorne, Roby, Williams, Silas, King-Stockton, Bay and Jermyl Jackson-Wilson.

But that group includes only one player over 6-6, King-Stockton. Patton knows he'll need to get minutes out of Van Burck and fellow freshman big man Sean Kowal.

Roby's brother Kenyon Martin, a Denver Nuggets forward, sat courtside with friends. …Attendance was 970.

Stat Leaders
Points: Roby 15, Silas 10
Rebounds: Coleman, Jackson-Wilson 10
Assists: Coleman 7
Turnovers: Jackson-Wilson, Roby 3
Blocks: Roby 2
Steals: Coleman 6

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