What went right: For the third time in three games CU was strong defensively and on the glass, holding Louisiana-Monroe to a .413 mark from the field and outrebounding the Warhawks 49-37. The Buffs also hit 28 of 35 free throws.
What went wrong: Coach Tad Boyle expressed concern about his team playing a full 40 minutes after the Warhawks won the second half 47-41.
Star of the game: Derrick White. Five CU players reached double figures in a balanced attack, but White got things started with 10 points in a game-opening 16-3 run. He finished with 12 points, four assists, three rebounds, and three steals.
What's next: The Buffs travel to Brooklyn, N.Y. to complete the Legends Classic with the program's first matchup against Notre Dame Monday at 5 p.m. MST.
Despite the gaudy scoring totals Derrick White amassed as a Division II All-American at UCCS, he consistently has been billed as an exemplary all-around player since his transfer to the University of Colorado.
Certainly that was on display during the Buffaloes' first two games. White, though, took it to another level on Thursday.
Scoring in a variety of ways from the opening tip while making timely, box score-filling plays at both ends of the floor, White led a balanced squad Buffs to an 89-70 win against Louisiana-Monroe at the Coors Events Center.
The victory in the Legends Classic gave the Buffs a 3-0 mark in their season-opening run of three consecutive home games. The competition will become more heated soon for CU, which travels to New York this weekend to complete the Legends Classic with a date against Notre Dame on Monday and either No. 23 Texas or Northwestern on Tuesday.
"Off to New York. It's hard to be not thinking about moving forward right now as a coach," head coach Tad Boyle said. "Tonight, I thought it was a great preparation for us getting ready to play Notre Dame. Louisiana-Monroe...I have a lot of respect for their program and their players. They never quit. They beat us in the second half. Our players need to understand we have to play for 40 minutes with intensity and effort and focus. I thought we lost some of that defensively in the second half. The first half couldn't have been better."
White scored 10 points during CU's game-opening 16-3 run without scoring the same way twice. The senior guard knocked down two free throws, drilled a 3-pointer, recorded a rebound basket, and attacked the basket for a 3-point play during the opening salvo.
White was one of five CU players to score in double figures, finishing with 12 points to go with four assists, three rebounds, and two steals. The fifth-year senior turned in an impressive individual effort at the end of the first half, collecting an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and finding freshman Bryce Peters for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave the Buffs a 48-23 lead at the break.
"That's what good players do," Boyle said. "He had the play at the end of the first half, the offensive rebound off the free throw and Bryce hits a three. That's a big play going into halftime. That's what great players do. They can make plays for other people, but they can also make plays for themselves.
"Derrick is going to need to score the ball for us at times this year for sure. But there's other times he's going to need to distribute and get other people involved. He is such a smart player, it's a pleasure to coach him."
Once again the Buffs were strong defensively and on the glass, holding Louisiana-Monroe to a .413 mark from the field (26-for-63) while outrebounding the Warhawks 49-37.
Josh Fortune used a 10-for-10 mark at the free throw line — the best single game mark by a CU player since Askia Booker went 14-for-14 against DePaul almost two years ago — to finish with 14 points, sharing CU's top scoring honor with Xavier Johnson.
Another encouraging sign for the Buffs was the return to form of George King, the Buffs' top returning scorer. King went only 6-for-17 through the first two games, with a 2-for-8 mark from 3-point range. On Thursday King connected on his first two 3-point attempts before finishing 4-for-6 from the field with 12 points.
Starting forward Wesley Gordon scored only two points but led the Buffs' effort on the glass with nine rebounds. Tory Miller came off the bench to record 10 points and eight rebounds.
After struggling at the free throw line in a win against Seattle three nights earlier (26-for-41) the Buffs went 28-for-35 against Louisiana-Monroe.
"I just wanted to be aggressive and do what my team needed to help us get off to a good start," White said. "We didn't really get off to a good start the last game. George came on and hit two threes, which was huge for us, and we just played well at the start."
Taylor 2-4 0-0 4, Munnings 5-7 0-0 12, Harris 5-8 0-0 15, Washington 3-5 1-2 7, McDaniel 1-3 2-2 4, Alabakis 1-3 2-4 4, Jean-Pierre 5-5 0-0 12, Martin 1-1 0-0 3, Coppola 3-6 3-7 9. Totals 26-63 8-15 70.COLORADO (89)
Miller 3-3 4-5 10, Siewert 1-2 0-0 2, Akyazili 2-3 1-2 5, Brown 3-3 1-1 9, Peters 3-5 2-4 9, Gordon 1-1 0-0 2, Fortune 2-7 10-10 14, King 4-6 2-2 12, White 4-4 3-3 12, Johnson 4-5 5-8 14. Totals 27-67 28-35 89.Louisiana-Monroe 23 47—70
3-Point Goals - Louisiana-Monroe 10-14 (Harris 5-6, Jean-Pierre 2-2, Munnings 2-3, Martin 1-1, Coppola 0-2), Colorado 7-14 (Brown 2-2, King 2-3, Johnson 1-1, White 1-1, Peters 1-3, Akyazili 0-1, Fortune 0-3). Fouled Out - Taylor. Rebounds - Louisiana-Monroe 8 (McDaniel 3), Colorado 13 (Gordon 4). Assists - Louisiana-Monroe 1 (Washington 1), Colorado 2 (Gordon 2). Total Fouls - Louisiana-Monroe 26, Colorado 15.