Andre Roberson is in a better place now.
Colorado's talented sophomore forward said he was "devastated" by the 65-64 loss to Colorado State a week ago in Fort Collins. Roberson missed six free throws, committed five turnovers and four fouls, and scored only one point as the Buffs fell to 4-3 this season.
After Tuesday's practice, a more upbeat Roberson was looking forward to redeeming himself and helping CU get on a roll as the team begins a momentous eight-game home stand tonight against Fresno State at the Coors Events Center (7 p.m., no television).
"Being at home is going to help us a lot with getting that confidence back," Roberson predicts. "Right now, we're still learning and trying to get a feel for each other. That's one of the main things right now. Once we start clicking you'll see a difference, you'll see a major improvement."
The Buffs will get a boost in the paint as true freshman Damiene Cain, a highly touted prospect from North Hollywood, Calif., joins the rotation tonight against the Bulldogs (4-4) from the WAC.
"I've been practicing and working hard early in the season. I'm ready for it," said Cain, a 6-foot-7, 245-pound forward. "I think I can definitely bring more rebounding and a bigger presence in the post."
Cain left the program in September to focus on academics before returning to the team just before the season tipped off. He is currently a non-scholarship player.
"He's a guy who knows who he is. He doesn't try to be somebody that he's not. He tries to catch the ball down low," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "And he can score down there, he can get fouled down there, and he's a great passer. He'll give us a low post presence that we need."
Roberson (12.0 ppg) ranks third nationally in rebounding. Entering the week, CU was 64th nationally in rebounding margin (+5.6).
Cain is expected to bolster Roberson's game as part of a thin front court rotation that also includes 6-9 senior forward Austin Dufault (12.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and 6-11 sophomore center Shane Harris-Tunks (4.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg).
"He can help us out a lot," Roberson said. "He's a big body, a big force down low."
The Buffs have spent a lot of time at the line in their new practice facility since missing 16 free throws against CSU. Through seven games, CU is only making 60.8 percent (296th out of 338 teams) of its attempts.
"A lot of it is mentality," said Roberson, who is 19-for-36 (52.8 percent) at the line this season. "I just feel like we've got to go up there feeling like the ball is going to go in."
CU has only played twice at the Coors Events Center this season, beating Fort Lewis in the opener and Georgia on Nov. 28. The Buffs have won 26 consecutive non-conference home games dating back to the 2008-09 season.
"Playing at home will allow us to hopefully find ourselves a little bit, especially offensively. We need to make some strides," Boyle said. "Once we get everybody kind of playing well and clicking together, this team can be pretty dangerous. Up until this point we've had factions of our team play well and other factions not play well. We all need to play well on the same night."
Roberson has been a part of both of those factions. But he's in a better place right now after sitting down with Boyle to talk about the transition from role player to team leader.
"Defenses are now structured to try and stop Andre and to box him out and to frustrate him and get in his head," Boyle said. "So I think the biggest growth area for Andre is right between his ears with the mental aspect of the game and how he approaches and handles those situations.
"When you change roles and you change seats on the bus, sometimes it takes some time to adjust to that."
CU vs. Fresno State
TONIGHT: The Colorado Buffaloes (4-3) will play the Fresno State Bulldogs (4-4) at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.
BROADCAST: No television. Radio on KKZN (AM 760) with Mark Johnson (play-play-by) and Chris Lewis (color).
STORYLINES: CU hasn't played since a 65-64 loss at Colorado State a week ago. The Buffs were 13-for-19 at the free throw line against the Rams. ... Damiene Cain, a 6-7 freshman forward, is expected to make his CU debut in this game. ... The Buffs are looking to extend their 26-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents. ... Fresno State is coming off an 82-52 thrashing of Utah on Saturday. The Bulldogs, who will play a total of four Pac-12 teams during non-conference play, never trailed the struggling Utes. ... CU will play at Fresno State next season.
KEY STAT: Since the 85-57 romp over Division II Fort Lewis College in the season opener on Nov. 11, the Buffs have played in six games decided by single digits. CU's three wins have been by an average of 3.3 points and the three losses were by an average of 5.7 points.
COACHES: Tad Boyle is 28-17 in his second season at CU. Rodney Terry is 4-4 in his first season at Fresno State.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Colorado -- G Nate Tomlinson, 6-3, Sr., 9.3 ppg, 3.1 apg; F Andre Roberson, 6-7, So., 9.7 ppg, 12.0 rpg; F Austin Dufault, 6-9, Sr., 12.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg; G Spencer Dinwiddie, 6-5, Fr., 8.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg; G Carlon Brown, 6-5, Sr., 14.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg. Fresno State -- F Jerry Brown III, 6-9, So., 6.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg; F Kevin Foster, 6-8, Jr., 8.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg; G Jonathan Wills, 6-6, Sr., 11.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg; G Kevin Olekaibe, 6-2, So., 21.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg; G Steven Shepp, 6-2, Sr., 6.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg.
SERIES: Fresno State leads 2-1. The programs have not met since the Bulldogs' 78-75 win on Dec. 7, 1974, in Boulder.
UP NEXT: Colorado will host Wyoming on Friday at the Coors Events Center (7 p.m., Root Sports).