The complementary scorers are rapidly morphing into the primary scorers.
Colorado men's basketball coach Tad Boyle knew offense would have to come from somewhere this season, and he envisioned his trio of wing players as a part of it. Not quite this big a part, however.
The Buffaloes pulled away for an 85-63 win against Portland in their home opener Friday night, and guards George King, Josh Fortune and Tre'Shaun Fletcher were the primary catalysts at the Coors Events Center.
King led the Buffs with 18 points and Fletcher, a junior, came off the bench for a career-high 17 points. But it was Fortune's effort that most had Boyle buzzing. The transfer, who spent last season redshirting with the Buffs after two years at Providence, filled up the box score with 17 points, 14 rebounds and six assists.
"I thought Josh Fortune defensively was a beast tonight," Boyle said. "Eleven defensive boards, that's fantastic. Anytime one of your wings can get 14 rebounds, that's a great effort."
King, meanwhile, led the Buffs in scoring for the third straight time, piggybacking off his stellar 27-point effort at Auburn on Tuesday.
"I don't really care about scoring, honestly," said King, who went 5 for 12 from the floor. "I attacked when I had opportunities. I don't think I shot the ball well. They fouled me and I made free throws."
Fletcher couldn't make the same claim about his shooting. He shot it exceedingly well. Coming off the bench for the first time this season, he drilled 7 of 8 shots, including three quick 3s in the opening half. His previous career high was 12, a number he figures to surpass plenty with his expanded role.
"It definitely felt good to get in a rhythm," Fletcher said. "The team is playing really well right now. We have a lot of camaraderie and team chemistry going."
Portland (1-2) was able to hang around for a little more than a half due to some lights-out perimeter shooting in the early going. The Pilots were within 42-39 when CU (2-1) erupted for a game-breaking 20-3 run to forge a 20-point separation.
The flurry began with a 3-pointer from point guard Dom Collier, followed by five quick points from power forward Josh Scott. Scott finished with 13 points on 5 for 6 shooting and was especially proficient on jumpers from just inside the top of the key. Frontcourt mate Wesley Gordon's sluggish offensive start to the season continued as he was held scoreless, but he registered six blocked shots.
Although Portland kept pace for about 22 minutes, the contest featured a matter-of-time vibe that the Buffs would eventually pull away. While the snow-inhibited crowd of 7,783 was most enamored with the offensive prowess, Boyle believed defense fueled the runaway.
"It was more about challenging our guys to play with effort and be alert away from the ball," Boyle said. "Get out in passing lanes."
After drilling 7 of 13 from beyond the arc in the first half, Portland made just 3 of 14 in the second and shot 30.6 percent overall in the half. D'Marques Tyson led the Pilots with 12 points, all on first-half 3s.
"Give Colorado credit for their overall athleticism wearing us down, perhaps," Portland coach Eric Reveno said.
The Buffs continue a five-game homestand Sunday against Nebraska-Omaha.