Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie takes a shot over Fort Lewis defenders during Friday’s game.
Colorado's Spencer Dinwiddie takes a shot over Fort Lewis defenders during Friday's game. ( JEREMY PAPASSO )

Alec Burks predicted that Andre Roberson would welcome the spotlight this season.

"I think he's ready," Burks said during a recent interview with the Camera. "He has been in the background for a year, and I feel like he's ready for a breakout year to prove he can do this."

With a locked out Burks watching from the stands, Roberson set the tone for the 2011-12 season with 13 points and 15 rebounds to lead Colorado to an 85-57 romp over Fort Lewis on Friday night at the Coors Events Center.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore showed off the explosiveness and athleticism that could make him CU's next NBA draft pick.Roberson, making his first career start after leading the Buffs in rebounding off the bench last season, had 13 points and nine rebounds at halftime.

"A lot of guys have to step up this year," Roberson said after getting the crowd of 7,925 off its feet for a couple of dunks and one exciting missed dunk. "I saw (Burks) over there in the stands. It was definitely weird."

Austin Dufault, a role player the last three seasons, backed up head coach Tad Boyle's preseason praise with an impressive opener. The 6-9 senior forward finished with 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting with 10 rebounds, two steals and two assists in 22 minutes.

"I don't know if he'll get 18 and 10 every night," Boyle said. "But I won't get mad at him if he does."

The game got off to a strange start as Ben Mills was hit with a technical for a pregame dunk. Matt Billups, a second cousin of former CU star Chauncey and current assistant coach Rodney Billups, made two free throws to stake the visitors to a 2-0 lead before a second ticked off the clock.

"Ben felt pretty bad," Dufault said. "But there's nothing you can do about it."

Despite the head start, the Skyhawks' upset bid was short-lived as the Buffs went on a 25-7 run after the opening tip.

"I thought for the first game, the first time in front of fans, as a coach you never know what to expect from your team," Boyle said. "But defensively, I thought we played well. ... Overall, I was pleased with how we played, especially with how many new guys we played."

Carlon Brown, who sat out last season after transferring from Utah, was "rusty" and still finished with 13 points on 4-for-7 shooting.

Shane Harris-Tunks, unable to practice last season due to a serious knee injury, had four points and two rebounds in 17 minutes. Former Monarch High School standout Sabatino Chen scored 10 points in 15 minutes off the bench.

"You always want to get off to a good start, and I think our team definitely did that," Dufault said.

The Buffs (1-0) led 41-29 at the intermission after shooting 50 percent (15-for-30) from the field and 75 percent (9-for-12) at the line. Even though Boyle let 12 different players get into the game, CU shot 48.5 percent in the second half.

Fort Lewis was held to 37.5 percent shooting from the field, missed 16 free throws and was out-rebounded 48-31. The Division II Skyhawks (0-1), coached by former Buff point guard Bob Hofman (1970-74), were led by Billups' 23 points.

The Buffs (1-0) will face some much tougher competition at the Puerto Rico Tip-off, beginning with an opening-round game against reigning NIT champion Wichita State on Thursday (5:30 p.m., ESPNU).

"The price of poker is going up in Puerto Rico," Boyle said.

Colorado 85, Fort Lewis 57

FORT LEWIS 57

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Udall 25 3-5 2-8 0-4 0 2 8

Morris 23 0-3 2-2 0-8 3 2 2

Billups 34 8-14 4-9 2-3 0 3 23

Mtthws 22 3-6 1-2 2-2 0 3 9

Weissl 17 0-4 0-0 0-0 0 3 0

Mazarei 22 5-10 0-1 0-3 3 1 10

Ayala 10 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 3 0

LaBate 3 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Cssdy 12 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Marquez 6 1-2 0-0 1-2 0 0 2

Fraser 8 0-1 0-0 0-2 1 0 0

Herrera 18 1-5 1-4 4-5 1 5 3

Totals 200 21-56 10-26 9-31 8 22 57

Percentages: FG .375, FT .385.

3-Point Goals: 5-19, .263 (Billups 3-5, Matthews 2-4, Ayala 0-1, LaBate 0-1, Udall 0-1, Mazarei 0-3, Weissl 0-4).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 4 (Udall 2, Herrera, Morris).

Turnovers: 18 (Matthews 5, Cassaday 4, Morris 4, Billups 3, Mazarei, Herrera).

Steals: 4 (Cassaday, Morris, Fraser, Billups).

Technical Fouls: Bench.

COLORADO 85

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Robrsn 28 4-9 4-5 2-15 1 3 13

Dufault 22 8-10 1-2 4-10 2 2 18

Tmlnsn 28 1-4 2-2 0-1 4 1 5

Dnwdd 22 2-9 3-4 3-7 3 5 7

Brown 23 4-7 4-6 0-2 0 3 13

Booker 20 3-8 3-3 0-4 2 1 9

Sharpe 17 1-2 0-1 1-2 1 1 2

Webb 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Hrrs-Tnks 17 2-4 0-1 2-2 0 4 4

Chen 15 4-6 2-2 0-1 1 2 10

Mills 4 1-2 0-1 1-1 0 1 2

Eckloff 3 1-2 0-0 0-1 1 0 2

Totals 200 31-63 19-27 15-48 15 23 85

Percentages: FG .492, FT .704.

3-Point Goals: 4-9, .444 (Brown 1-1, Dufault 1-1, Tomlinson 1-3, Roberson 1-3, Dinwiddie 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 1 (Roberson).

Turnovers: 17 (Brown 3, Booker 3, Sharpe 2, Roberson 2, Dinwiddie 2, Tomlinson 2, Harris-Tunks 2, Chen).

Steals: 7 (Tomlinson 3, Dufault 2, Brown, Booker).

Technical Fouls: Harris-Tunks, Mills.

Fort Lewis 29 28--57

Colorado 41 44--85

A -- 7,925.

Officials -- Jim Giron, Jeff Ketchu, Scott Harris.

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