As a team, the Colorado men's basketball squad has weathered the graduation of Josh Scott just fine.
In the paint, however, Wesley Gordon and the Buffaloes' other frontcourt players have found the adjustment to be a little more frustrating.
So far Gordon and reserve forwards Tory Miller and Lucas Siewert have been unable to get into a rhythm in terms of scoring from the paint. Given Gordon's track record against the Colorado State Rams, it is a shortcoming the Buffs hope to fix when their rivals visit the Coors Events Center Wednesday night (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
"The thing I think Wes is finding out is Josh Scott made his life a lot easier because the attention was on Josh," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "Well now the attention is on Wes. That's why it's so important that he and XJ are equally as threatening, equally as dynamic, equally able to catch the ball and do something with it inside.
"They're both inside-outside type players. I didn't think (Gordon) played particularly well against Wofford, but he still had 10 points and nine rebounds. You want him to take the next step. Time will tell if that happens or not."
While the addition of transfer Derrick White and Xavier Johnson's return from injury have more than made up for the loss of Scott's 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, the increased defensive focus pointed toward Gordon and Miller inside has taken a toll on the duo's field goal percentages.
Gordon, who rallied to a .417 mark last year after a slow start, is shooting just .357 — even after going 4-for-9 in Sunday's win against Wofford. After averaging 7.2 points last year Gordon is averaging just 6.7 through the first six games this season.
Miller, who remains questionable for the CSU game due to an ankle injury, is shooting at a .379 clip after connecting at a 47 percent rate last year. And while Siewert remains more of a stretch-four type player than a true post, the freshman is shooting just .200 (3-for-15) on two-pointers.
In Gordon's case, a solid track record against CSU could help him get on track Wednesday. He turned in one of his finer games of the season last year in Fort Collins, recording 15 points and 12 rebounds. A year earlier he made all three of his shots and added 11 rebounds against CSU.
"I'm just trying to find my rhythm. I've just been off," Gordon said. "They're just not falling and I'm just trying to stay aggressive."
Boyle noted his post players often are receiving the ball too far out on the wing and hopes to see those touches occur closer to the low block against the Rams. He also expects to see better energy from his club, which remained a source of frustration Monday after he reviewed the video of a somewhat listless first half against Wofford.
"I was really disappointed. I thought our effort in the first half was even worse than I thought during the game. And I knew it wasn't great during the game," Boyle said. "It was unacceptable. These guys want it to be easy. They don't realize to be good, it's hard. They think it's easy to just show up and people are going to bow down to you. Life doesn't work like that and these guys don't understand that."