BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Throughout the offseason and into the preseason, Colorado men's basketball coach Tad Boyle challenged George King to become one of the premier rebounders on the team.
It appears to be a challenge King has readily accepted.
King had posted just one double-double in his career before CU's trip to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where King posted consecutive double-doubles in a loss Monday against Notre Dame and again Tuesday in the Buffs' win against No. 22 Texas.
"As coach Boyle would say, it doesn't take talent to go to the boards," King said. "I'm not sure if I did it or not, but we try to go (for rebounds) 90 percent of the time. I'm not sure if I did or not, but it seemed like every time I went I was able to get my hand on the ball and come down with it. These last two games I was able to do that. Hopefully I can keep it up."
King posted a career-best 13 rebounds Monday against Notre Dame and matched that effort Tuesday against Texas. That combined performance included a total of nine offensive rebounds for the 6-foot-6 redshirt junior. King averaged 4.7 rebounds last year but has topped that mark in four of five games so far.
"(Rebounding) is really where you find out where the toughness comes from, and that's a stat that just shows up," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "Every game you're either a plus or minus. Last night Notre Dame outrebounded us. Today we outrebounded Texas by nine, and that's a big number. We want plus-eight. That's our goal and we hit it. The guys did a great job.
"George, the second half last night and again tonight, it's like the light bulb has maybe come on for him. We haven't had a guy rebound like that since a guy named Roberson was with the Buffs. (King) was terrific on the boards, but I thought our whole team was."
One blemish during the Buffs dominant game-closing 14-3 run in the win against Texas was an apparent ankle injury suffered by reserve forward Tory Miller. After going down with 4 minutes, 49 seconds remaining, the junior briefly retreated to the CU locker room but quickly returned to the bench without a noticeable limp.
Boyle said the injury is not believed to be serious, but Miller will be reevaluated once the team returns to Boulder.
"I'm not sure what the prognosis is, but he was feeling OK," Boyle said. "They have a couple days off for Thanksgiving so he should be OK."
Shoring up defense
Despite the quick turnaround following Monday's loss to the Fighting Irish, CU corrected one of its biggest shortcomings from its first loss of the season by displaying much improved perimeter defense against Texas.
Notre Dame went 6-for-17 from 3-point range against the Buffs and benefitted from several relatively easy driving layups from guard Matt Farrell. Texas went 3-for-17 on 3-pointers and generally did not get any easy buckets.
"It was better. And I thought our guys did a very good job taking the scouting report...I think they took it maybe a little more seriously today than they did against Notre Dame. It seemed like they did," Boyle said. "We got a good feel on who was shooters, who was drivers. Our posts did a great job on ball-screen defense tonight, which really helped the perimeter guys keep the ball out of the lane."
Derrick White was CU's lone player named to the Legends Classic all-tournament team...After shooting an uncharacteristic 2-for-8 on 3-pointers in the season's first two games, King has gone 6-for-11 in the past three...CU improved to 10-14 all-time against Texas, a former rival from the Buffs' days in the Big 12 Conference...The Buffs were set to enjoy down time in the Big Apple Tuesday night and during the day Wednesday before returning to Boulder Wednesday night.