Tad Boyle isn't assuming a victory, easy or otherwise, over Northern Arizona.

The last time Colorado was expected to empty the bench against an over-matched opponent, Spencer Dinwiddie and other starters had to scratch out an 85-80 double-overtime victory over Texas Southern.

The Buffs (8-2) will host the Lumberjacks of the Big Sky Conference on Friday night at the Coors Events Center (6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).

CU's final non-conference game is Dec. 29 against Hartford in Boulder before opening Pac-12 play on Jan. 3 at No. 4 Arizona.

Boyle is determined to give his reserves more minutes after the Buffs' bench was outscored 20-2 during last Wednesday's 50-43 victory at Fresno State.

"I'm going to play our bench earlier in both these games, regardless of what's going on on the floor," Boyle said after Monday's practice. "The time is now to do that. Northern Arizona, we're not looking past them, none of that. But I've got to do it."

Four of CU's starters -- Dinwiddie (14.7 ppg), Askia Booker (14.2), Josh Scott (12.6) and Andre Roberson (12.1) -- are averaging double figures in scoring and accounting for 77 percent of the team's offense.

Xavier Johnson is averaging 5.5 points and 18.2 minutes per game off the bench. Shane Harris-Tunks (1.8 points, 1.5 rebounds) figures to be more of a factor against bigger teams in the Pac-12.


Advertisement

Eli Stalzer (2.1 points, 11.1 minutes), Xavier Talton (1.7, 7.7), Jeremy Adams (1.5, 6.9) are all capable rotation players, according to Boyle.

"We've got guys that can score coming off the bench," CU's third-year head coach said. "It's just a matter of feeling more comfortable, playing more confidently, and taking shots when they're open."

Stalzer, a freshman guard, is shooting 50 percent from the field. The problem is he has only taken 14 shots in 10 games.

"It's a blast. I'm loving every minute of it," Stalzer said of adjusting to life at CU after a sensational prep career at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif. "The biggest adjustment is probably just the physicality of it."

Boyle said Talton, a freshman guard from Sterling who had seven points in nine minutes at the end of the game at Wyoming, has shown improvement in recent weeks.

"He's playing more aggressively. As long as he can just take care of the basketball and be aggressive, that's the whole key with him," Boyle said of Talton, who has four assists and four turnovers this season. "When he's aggressive and takes care of it, he's good. When he's turning it over and not being aggressive, he struggles a little bit."

Adams, a 6-5 junior wing, struggles with a bad knee and getting through the rigors of a season with Type 1 Diabetes.

"You never know with Jeremy how his knee is going to be, how his energy level is going to be," Boyle said. "He is a guy that can bring something to this team, there is no question, with his body and his experience level now. But you just never know each day how his knee and body are going to be. It's a hit and miss thing."

Pac-12 honors Roberson

Roberson watched most of Monday's practice from the sideline so the younger players could get more court time in with the coaches.

Boyle and the rest of the Pac-12 already know what the 6-7 junior forward can do.

During CU's first road win of the season at Fresno State, Roberson scored 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting and pulled down a career-high 20 rebounds.

Roberson, the Pac-12's leading rebounder (12.3 rpg), was named the conference's player of the week on Monday.

"He's unlike anybody I've ever coached," Boyle said. "Andre is so good for us in so many different ways."

Roberson's five double-doubles this season also leads the Pac-12.

Booker was named the conference's player of the week after earning most valuable player honors at the Charleston Classic last month.

CU attendance spike

The Buffs have averaged 10,313 in attendance in four games at the Coors Events Center this season. That ranks second in the Pac-12 behind Arizona (13,738).

UCLA is third with an average crowd of 8,123 at the renovated Pauley Pavilion. USC is the worst draw in the conference (3,947).

Follow Ryan on Twitter:

@RyanThorburn