Josh Fortune has the look of a player putting it all together at the most opportune time of the season.
The junior sharpshooter turned in his second consecutive impressively efficient game on Sunday, leading the Colorado Buffaloes with 17 points in a 79-69 win against Arizona State.
“It’s very nice to see the hard work pay off,” Fortune said. “My teammates found me. XT and Dom (Collier) did a good job of finding open players.”
Sunday marked Fortune’s sixth consecutive game scoring in double figures. But while some of the earlier games during that stretch were marked by frustrating shooting nights (2-for-13 against Washington State) or lofty turnover totals (seven against Washington), Fortune was on top of his game during the season’s final homestand.
In wins against Arizona and ASU, Fortune shot 11-for-16 overall with a 4-for-7 mark from 3-point range. One of his two misses on Sunday went halfway through the rim before rattling out, and his four assists matched what he had produced in the previous five games combined.
Fortune also matched a season-high with three steals. Perhaps most encouragingly, in the two home wins this week Fortune committed just one turnover in 48 minutes.
“One of the things our staff has talked to Josh about is just making the game simple,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “Take what they give you. When you’re open, shoot it. When you’re not, pass it or put it on the floor and attack the basket. But don’t try to over-create and just make the simple play. He’s been doing a very, very good job of that.”
With the victory finally in hand during the final minute, CU called a timeout in order to get little-used seniors Eli Stalzer and Brett Brady on the floor in their final home game.
Boyle admitted there had been some pregame discussion about giving the duo a ceremonial start, but ultimately the Buffs opted to tackle Arizona State with a business-as-usual approach.
“It’s something we talked about,” Boyle said. “But we wanted to approach this game like it was a regular game and didn’t want to do anything like that.”
The Buffs’ 21 regular-season wins matches a program record shared by the teams from 1996-97 and 2013-14. … George King went 3-for-4 from 3-point range and finished 6-for-10 from long range during the two-game homestand. … The Buffs put together consecutive single-digit turnover performances for the first time in three years…Wesley Gordon has produced double-digit rebounding efforts in five of the past seven games, averaging 10.3 during that span.