What went right: The Buffs outrebounded Air Force 44-25 and held the Falcons to a 1-for-13 mark on 3-pointers.
What went wrong: Turnovers, again. Though they didn't hurt the Buffs this time, CU posted 10 by halftime and finished with 16.
Star of the game: Lucas Siewert. The junior forward matched his career-highs in scoring (17) and rebounds (eight) while going 6-for-6 overall and 3-for-3 on 3-pointers.
What's next: The Buffs play their next four games at home, beginning Wednesday against Portland.
AIR FORCE ACADEMY — The Colorado men's basketball team didn't instill any confidence regarding the turnover issues that once again are plaguing the Buffaloes, and an injury scare to sophomore forward Tyler Bey will be the team's most pressing concern when it begins a four-game homestand next week.
But the Buffs nonetheless took a step in the right direction in overcoming their road woes, and they looked good while doing it Saturday against Air Force. After blitzing the Falcons immediately after halftime, CU cruised to a 93-56 win at Clune Arena.
The Buffs had been 1-11 in true road games since the beginning of last season.
Bey left the game at the 12 minute, 45 second mark of the first half with a right shoulder injury after getting undercut on an errant finish of an alley-oop attempt. Bey, who did not return, had been playing with bandages bracing his right shoulder, and afterward head coach Tad Boyle indicated it was a previous injury that was aggravated.
"I don't think it's anything serious. He didn't separate it or anything, but he sprained the AC joint," Boyle said. "We'll see how it responds to treatment and how long he'll be out. Hopefully not long. Hopefully we have him for Wednesday against Portland. I asked him after the game how he was feeling and he seemed pretty positive. But you never know until the next day."
The Buffs knocked down seven of their first nine 3-point attempts to build a 16-point lead with a little more than nine minutes remaining in the first half. Air Force was able to rally within seven points late in the half, but sophomore point guard McKinley Wright scored the final three points before halftime to give the Buffs a 36-26 lead at the break. CU took control with a 19-3 run immediately after halftime and never looked back.
"They went on a really big run," said guard D'Shawn Schwartz, who scored seven of his 11 points during the 19-3 run while playing for the first time in his hometown. "We just know we had to set the tone for the next half and try to make a run big and try to get ahead."
Eleven different players scored in a balanced offense for the Buffs, with junior forward Lucas Siewert leading the way by matching his career-high of 17 points on a 6-for-6 showing from the floor (3-for-3 on 3-pointers). Siewert also equaled a career-high with eight rebounds.
Senior Namon Wright went 5-for-8 from the floor before finishing with 13 points and five rebounds,
Schwartz and freshman Daylen Kountz added 11 points apiece. Leading scorer McKinley Wright has held to five points, but he finished with six rebounds and five assists.
The Buffs committed 10 turnovers in the first half and finished with 16, giving them at least 12 in all four games so far.
"The second half, I thought we shared the ball better offensively," Boyle said. "We talked about not taking our foot off the gas, and I thought we did that a little bit at the end of the first half. We came out and we were making some threes, and sometimes guys think it's going to be like that all game. Now the threes don't go and we soften up on the defensive end and they shrink it to (seven)."
COLORADO 93, AIR FORCE 56
Siewert 6-6 2-2 17, M.Wright 1-4 3-4 5, Gatling 2-9 2-2 8, Schwartz 5-9 0-0 11, Bey 1-2 0-0 3, Strating 1-1 1-2 3, Battey 4-5 1-2 9, Kountz 5-6 0-2 11, N.Wright 5-8 0-0 13, D.Brown 2-3 2-2 7, Parquet 2-5 0-2 6. Totals 34-58 11-18 93.
AIR FORCE (2-4)
Scottie 3-7 2-4 8, Louder 0-3 4-4 4, Walker 4-9 5-6 13, Tomes 0-7 0-0 0, Van Soelen 2-3 0-0 4, Kinrade 0-1 0-0 0, Swan 4-6 2-5 11, Monson 0-0 0-2 0, Akaya 4-5 0-0 8, Morris 0-1 1-4 1, Hughes 0-0 0-2 0, Rene 0-2 0-0 0, Couper 0-1 0-0 0, Joyce 3-9 1-1 7. Totals 20-54 15-28 56.
Halftime — Colorado 36-26. 3-point goals — Colorado 14-29 (Siewert 3-3, N.Wright 3-6, Parquet 2-4, Gatling 2-7, Kountz 1-1, Bey 1-1, D.Brown 1-2, Schwartz 1-4, M.Wright 0-1), Air Force 1-13 (Swan 1-2, Louder 0-1, Scottie 0-1, Rene 0-1, Walker 0-1, Couper 0-1, Tomes 0-2, Joyce 0-4). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Colorado 42 (Siewert 8), Air Force 22 (Akaya, Tomes 5). Assists — Colorado 18 (M.Wright 5), Air Force 3 (Morris, Walker, Joyce 1). Total fouls — Colorado 22, Air Force 17. A — 2,704.