Buffs Win Exhibition Opener

Trailing at the half, Colorado played a better brand of basketball after the break and beat visiting Brock (Ontario, Canada) University 70-56 at home in the Buffs' exhibition opener Thursday.

It was difficult to get a read on how head coach Jeff Bzdelik's Buffs will be this season in the team's first exhibition. That's because the team they played, Brock, was — as Bzdelik put it — "unorthodox."

Brock, which had been playing games since Sept. 1 and had 13 contests and a 5-8 record under its belt already, boasted a small lineup, all of whom shot the ball well — at least in the first half. That record includes a win at Air Force Wednesday night.

What's more, after playing a couple possessions of man-to-man defense, Brock went into a zone, and used that the rest of the night.

So, the unveiling of the new Colorado offense — the one based on what Bzdelik coached the last two seasons at Air Force — will have to wait, as it's designed to be used vs. a man defense.

In the first half of Thursday's game, Colorado looked like a team playing its first game since a summer's layoff, while Brock looked like a team midway through its campaign. The Buffs committed 11 turnovers in the first half. "That's too much for a whole game," noted CU senior Marcus Hall afterward.

Colorado struggled from beyond the arc early, as well, hitting just one of six treys before the break. But the Buffs cleaned things up in the second half. CU committed just two turnovers in the second half. They played better defense, too, limiting Brock — whose leading scorer was 5-foot-9 point guard Brad Rootes — to 21 second-half points.

"We gave ourselves a chance to score (in the second half) because we were able to take care of the ball," Bzdelik said.

Bzdelik used just eight players Thursday, and only seven played double-digit minutes. Because of the matchup with a small team, Marcus King-Stockton played just six minutes. Six-11 freshman Caleb Patterson didn't get off the bench. Bzdelik said they'd see time against bigger teams.

One freshman who did see a lot of PT was guard Cory Higgins, who logged 34 minutes, second most on the team behind A HREF=//colorado.scout.com/a.z?s=148&p=8&c=1&nid=3375501>Richard Roby's 38. Asked about Higgins' performance, Bzdelik noted he doesn't play like a typical freshman, adding Higgins — whose father is an NBA administrator — has been around NBA players all his life.

Roby led all scorers with 23 points and pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds. Xavier Silas had 17 points and Marcus Hall, playing in his first action since the 2005-06 season, added 12 and five assists.

What was interesting in Roby's game was that he scored nearly all — if not all — of his points from in and around the paint. Against the zone, and with Jermyl Jackson-Wilson on the bench with foul trouble, Roby played the post position on offense and was effective.

While Brock was an unorthodox opponent, Bzdelik said he wouldn't be surprised if the Buffs faced a lot of zone defense this season.

"I think we're a tough team to handle with man to man," he said.

• Hall said the splint on his thumb affected his shooting and dribbling slightly. He said he expects not to wear it in CU's next exhibition game Tuesday vs. Regis. …The Buffs are now 45-6 all time in exhibition games. …Hall (No. 1) and Roby (20) are sporting new jersey numbers this season. …Jackson-Wilson, Roby, Silas, Hall and Dwight Thorne started the game. Higgins and Levi Knutson started the second half in place of Thorne and JJW …JJW was called for three fouls in the first four minutes of the game. …The official attendance figure was 2,722, but it felt like a whole lot fewer, maybe because there were no students there. …In stark contrast to recent seasons when CU has struggled from the foul line, the Buffs were a near perfect 12 of 13.


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