David R. Jennings / Staff Photographer
Dom Collier wasn’t just upset. He was downright angry.
Charged with six turnovers in the Colorado Buffaloes’ six-point, season-opening loss against an Iowa State team now ranked fourth in the nation, the sophomore point guard was coming off an offseason spent addressing the shortcomings of his rookie campaign — which included a propensity for committing too many turnovers.
Collier immediately vowed such a performance wouldn’t happen again, and so far CU’s burgeoning floor general has delivered. Collier will look to continue his facilitate-first, shoot-second approach for the high-scoring Buffs against BYU on Saturday night in what is shaping up to be an electric, back-and-forth affair between two high-scoring teams.
“I’m trying not to over-think and just make the easy play,” Collier said. “I think the first game I was trying to do a little too much. It was the first game and I was a little anxious. That was a really good team and we wanted to knock them off bad. I was trying to do too much.
“But the last couple games I’ve been sticking to making the easy play and getting my teammates involved. And we’ve shown success.”
The Buffs have reeled off seven consecutive wins since that opening disappointment against the Cyclones, and Collier’s steady play at the point has been a key ingredient for a team still experimenting with player rotations.
Collier has endured just one game with more than two turnovers since the opener. Despite playing minimally in the first half Sunday at Colorado State due to foul issues, Collier still finished with seven assists and only one turnover in 24 minutes.
After producing an assists-to-turnover ratio of 1.16 as a freshman, Collier has improved to 1.4 so far this season. Take the rough Iowa State game out of the equation and that mark improves to 1.9.
“It makes my job a whole lot easier, knowing the guys are on fire or if someone is feeling it,” Collier said. “We have so many guys that can get hot at any time. Sunday Wes (Gordon) got hot, so you try to get him the ball and that really sparked us.
“My main goal going into games is to get guys going first. Then that opens up things for me, whether they’re helping off or doubling down on Josh (Scott). That gives me opportunities to score, but my main focus is to get everyone involved first.”
While offense has been his secondary focus, Collier still has displayed a more dependable jumper when called upon. He shot just .345 from the floor last year and struggled from 3-point range, going 18-for-67 (.269). Heading into the BYU showdown, Collier boasts a .412 field goal percentage overall with a .476 mark (10-for-21) from long range.
Collier also is 15-for-16 at the free throw line and has made 13 in a row.
“When we recruited Dom, we knew he was a pass-first point guard,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “But he also has the ability to score, which is what we want. We want our point guards to be threats too. I think Dom is finding the balance between being a distributor and getting guys touches, but also being a scoring threat.”