What went right: Defense and 3-point shooting. The Buffs went 13-for-21 from 3-point range while holding the Hornets to a 2-for-22 mark.
What went wrong: Very little, but Sacramento State did manage to grab 17 offensive rebounds.
Star of the game: There were plenty of solid performances for the Buffs, but Dom Collier helped CU's second unit push the lead in the first half before finishing with four 3-pointers and a team-best 12 points.
What's next: The Buffs return to action Monday at 7 p.m. with a home date against Seattle University in the first game of the Legends Classic.
For much of the preseason, Colorado Buffaloes men's basketball coach Tad Boyle expressed a somewhat annoyed level of frustration at the intensity his squad often exhibited, particularly at the defensive end of the floor.
If Friday night's season opener was any indication, Boyle had little reason to fret.
The new-look Buffaloes pressed all the right buttons at both ends of the floor against Sacramento State, shooting the lights out from 3-point range and putting the clamps on defensively while rolling to a 90-53 win at the Coors Events Center.
"Overall, I thought our effort and intensity on defense was pretty good," Boyle said. "I'll get a better feel when we watch the film. But when you look at our field goal percentage on defense, it certainly was very good. We played shots and played without fouling for the most part."
The Buffs blitzed Sacramento State from all angles, with Derrick White wasting little time setting the tone in his first appearance as a Colorado Buffalo. His much-anticipated debut after a Division II All-American career at UCCS proved worth the wait, as White knocked down his first shot attempt — a 3-pointer nonetheless — just 45 seconds into the contest.
From there CU lit it up from long-range, finishing 13-for-21 on 3-pointers while harassing the Hornets into a woeful 2-for-22 mark from beyond the arc. Seven different players knocked down threes for the Buffs, a bombardment paced by four from junior guard Dominique Collier.
Collier started 33 of 34 games last year but thrived in his reserve role Friday, going 4-for-6 from long range and finishing with a team-high 12 points. Perhaps more importantly for Collier after struggling in the ball-handling department last year was that he finished with just one turnover in 19 minutes.
Afterward Boyle cited the Buffs' balance as the team's strength, and CU backed that belief with 10 different players scoring at least six points. Josh Fortune knocked down both his 3-point attempts and finished with 11 points, while George King added 10 points and six rebounds.
Senior Wes Gordon scored seven points and grabbed a game-best 12 rebounds.
"It was a cool feeling playing with my teammates. I was looking forward to this game for a while," said White, who also had four assists and no turnovers in 21 minutes. "To score those first points, it was awesome and it was good to get this win."
CU scored 13 consecutive points during an 18-1 run early in the first half and never looked back, building a 42-19 halftime lead that was pushed to 37 points in the middle stages of the second half.
While the Buffs outrebounded Sacramento State 47-40, Boyle found one area where his club must improve in the 17 offensive rebounds recorded by the Hornets. Though the Buffs dominated in just about every other facet, that work on the offensive glass allowed Sacramento State to post a 16-10 advantage on second-chance points.
"Seventeen offensive rebounds make me a little concerned," Boyle said. "That's been an issue, it was an issue tonight, and we need to get that one shored up. I don't think we dominated them on the glass like we could have or should have."
Strings 2-17 7-9 12, Stuteville 1-6 1-5 3, Jackson 0-0 0-0 0, Graves 5-13 0-0 10, Hornsby 7-13 2-4 16, Patton 0-0 0-0 0, Jacobs 1-1 0-0 2, Herrick 1-1 0-0 2, Battaglia 0-3 0-0 0, Wu 2-8 0-1 5, Ugbaja 0-3 1-2 1, Dressler 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 20-68 11-21 53.COLORADO (90)
Gordon 3-8 1-2 7, White 3-5 2-2 9, Fortune 4-5 1-1 11, King 3-9 3-4 10, Johnson 3-7 0-1 6, Miller 3-6 2-4 9, Siewert 3-4 0-0 9, Akyazili 3-5 2-2 8, Collier 4-7 0-0 12, Brown 3-4 2-2 9, Lombard 0-0 0-0 0, Repine 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-60 13-18 90.Sacramento St. 19 34—53
3-Point Goals — Sacramento St. 2-22 (Strings 1-6, Wu 1-6, Hornsby 0-1, Dressler 0-2, Battaglia 0-2, Graves 0-5), Colorado 13-21 (Collier 4-6, Siewert 3-3, Fortune 2-2, Miller 1-1, Brown 1-2, White 1-2, King 1-3, Akyazili 0-2). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — Sacramento St. 37 (Hornsby 11), Colorado 42 (Gordon 12). Assists— Sacramento St. 4 (Strings 3), Colorado 20 (Akyazili 6). Total Fouls — Sacramento St. 23, Colorado 16. A — 8,322 (11,064).