Tory Miller said earlier this week he is trying hit the floor with a chip on his shoulder.
That mindset was readily apparent on Sunday, as a number of gritty, tough-guy rebounds underneath the hoop allowed Miller to lead the Colorado Buffaloes in rebounding during a key Pac-12 Conference win against Cal.
“Tory Miller’s rebounds in the first half, they were man rebounds,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “They were manly rebounds. He went up and got them in traffic. Tory brings great energy, great effort, and he was terrific.”
Although Miller tallied just two points in Sunday’s win, his effort nonetheless continued a recent surge that began after he sat out the game at Stanford on Jan. 3 following a head injury he suffered two nights earlier at Cal. The sophomore forward had averaged 4.1 rebounds per game to that point, but in the seven games since he has averaged 5.9 per game.
Miller’s nine rebounds in Sunday’s rematch against the Golden Bears marked the third time this season he has led the Buffs in rebounding, a ledger that includes 10-rebound games against Nicholls and Hampton in mid-December.
Senior reserve guard Xavier Talton continued to display a knack for making key contributions in limited minutes. On Sunday, Talton’s only field goal attempt was a 3-pointer that sparked a 12-0 CU run midway through the first half that gave the Buffs a lead they never relinquished.
Late in the second half, with Cal attempting a comeback, Talton executed the defensive scouting report to record a steal that led to a free throw with 40.4 seconds remaining.
“I knew there was going to be a down-screen on the opposite side, so I kind of cheated that way,” Talton said. “And they just kind of threw it to my hands.”
“I think he’s growing up before our eyes and playing great basketball for us.”
— Boyle on sophomore point guard Dom Collier, who finished with 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals and no turnovers in 31 minutes.
At halftime, CU honored former coach Tom Apke alongside several members of his Buffs teams from the early 1980s. … With three assists Sunday, senior forward Josh Scott increased his season total to 44. His previous season-best was 29 last year. … The Buffs committed nine turnovers, marking just the fifth time this season they have recorded less than 10. Two of those efforts have occurred in the past three games. … Cal’s .351 shooting percentage was a season low. … Sunday’s attendance of 9,424 was a season high at the Coors Events Center.