CU’s Tre’Shaun Fletcher (10) talks with assistant coach Rodney Billups during a game in November.
CU's Tre'Shaun Fletcher (10) talks with assistant coach Rodney Billups during a game in November. ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )

SPOKANE, Wash. -- In the end, Tre'Shaun Fletcher wants the same thing out of Sunday as he wants from every game: a win.

Yet, the smile on his face suggests that this one means a bit more.

On Sunday, Fletcher and the 15th-ranked Colorado men's basketball team (14-2, 3-0 Pac-12) will take on Washington (10-6, 2-1) in Seattle.

Fletcher grew up in nearby Tacoma and has been looking forward to this one.

"I'm real excited just to come home and play UW," he said. "Everybody wants to be against their home town school, just playing in front of family and friends.

"Hopefully I can come off the bench and give good energy, do what the coaches want me to do and just play."

Although this will be Fletcher's first game in his hometown, he's had several chances to see family since he came to Boulder in the summer. His mother has been to a few games in Boulder and he went home for Christmas.

He said he would still take the opportunity to see his family this weekend, but added, "It's a business trip. I didn't want to get too caught up in all that (visiting with family). I just want to get this win, get out of here, and get back for school on Monday."

Like his fellow freshmen, Fletcher is still searching for consistency in his game, although he has grown more comfortable as the season has gone along.


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"Definitely I'm more comfortable," he said. "That's the main thing I talked to coach (Tad) Boyle about, just staying consistent with my effort and my energy. That's what I've been trying to work on."

Fletcher is averaging 3.5 points and 1.9 rebounds per game, while playing 10.2 minutes per game.

Attacking the glass

Through three Pac-12 games, the Buffs haven't been nearly as dominant on the glass as they were in non-conference play.

The Buffs have a plus-1.3 rebounding margin in conference play. They were out-rebounded by Oregon State, which ranks last in the conference on the boards. And, on Wednesday, they out-rebounded Washington State by just one. WSU is 10th in the conference in rebounding.

"We want to be a dominant rebounding team," Boyle said. "We need to rebound the ball better than we have been in league."

Boyle said he usually waits six or eight games to look at the statistics and get a feel for how the team ranks in certain areas. But, there's no question the Buffs need to improve.

In their 13 non-conference games, the Buffs had a plus-10.4 rebounding margin.

Having played against three teams that have used a zone defense, Boyle said there's no excuse for the Buffs to get out-rebounded, especially on offense.

"You should be able to offensive rebounds against zones and we haven't," he said.

CU has grabbed an average of 10.7 offensive rebounds in conference play, down from 12.6 in non-conference play.

"Going to the boards, we have to toughen up," Boyle said. "We have to have five guys rebound defensively, and our guards have to help us."

Healthy competition

On Friday, the Buffs had their second consecutive practice at Gonzaga University. It was a short session before they headed to the airport to fly to Seattle. It was also an energetic and competitive session, as the Buffs had several shooting competitions among the players.

"What I found in practice, if everything we do has a winner and a loser, they'll compete," Boyle said. "But if you do drills for the sake of doing drills, they get bored.

"Sometimes when you're on the road and you want to keep focused, that's what you have to do."

Notable

In the latest RPI rankings, the Buffs are No. 15 in the country. ... Pepsi will be providing 8,000 white CU T-shirts for the UCLA game on Thursday at Coors Events Center, so CU is calling it a white out game. ... Sunday's game at Washington is scheduled for a 1 p.m. MDT tipoff, and it will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.