With two wins in the can and three to go in order to once again reach the money round of The Basketball Tournament, Team Colorado heads into the Super 16 this weekend in Brooklyn having overcome a stern second-round challenge.
The former Colorado Buffaloes basketball stars also will welcome a significant reinforcement in New York.
Team Colorado, the defending runner-up in the winner-take-all $2 million competition, turned on the jets to turn a dicey second-round matchup into a reasonably comfortable win last week. Now Team Colorado gets to add Josh Scott to the mix when they take on Armored Athlete at 4 p.m. MDT Saturday with a quarterfinal berth on the line. The game will air live on ESPN2.
The former Buffs, the top seed in the West Region, cruised to a 100-71 first-round win before taking a tenuous two-point halftime lead in the second round against Broad Street Brawlers. But Team Colorado dominated the second-half, going 8-for-14 from 3-point range after the break while outscoring Broad Street Brawlers 60-46.
“The first game was a lesser opponent, but the second game we got challenged,” Team Colorado coach and former CU guard Dwight Thorne said. “We realized it was going to be a game, and in the second half I challenged the guys to eliminate second-chance points and points off loose balls. And we did that.”
Team Colorado displayed plenty of firepower during the opening weekend, getting 31 points from Chris Copeland and 30 from Marcus Hall in the second-round win. That performance came one day after six Team Colorado players scored in double figures in the team’s first-round rout.
On Saturday, Team Colorado gets to add Scott, a 6-foot-10 post presence who will bring an element of youth and inside power to the mix.
A first team All-Pac-12 performer for the Buffs just a little more than a year ago, Scott is coming off a solid showing with the NBA Summer League team of the Portland Trail Blazers. In eight games with the Blazers Scott averaged 4.1 points in 10 minutes per game off the bench, compiling a .462 shooting percentage while also averaging 2.9 rebounds per game.
Scott’s addition helps offset the loss of guard Richard Roby, who will remain unavailable to Team Colorado for the duration of TBT. Following his season in Japan, Roby signed a postseason contract with a club in Venezuela but suffered a shoulder injury there that will keep CU’s co-all-time leading scorer sidelined.
“(Scott) adds another dynamic inside, obviously,” Thorne said. “Josh can shoot well. He scores with either hand well. He can guard the pick-and-roll. He’s going to be able to run the floor and spread the defense out. He’s going to bring a lot. The guy has won at every level he has played at.”
Fourth-seeded Armored Athlete originally began as a club of largely former Indiana players but also includes one-time stars from Xavier, Miami, Purdue, and Oregon. The team reached the Super 16 a year ago.
“Teams don’t run too many plays. Maybe on out-of-bounds on the baseline,” Thorne said. “In the half court, it’s about the pick-and-roll. We just want to analyze how we can slow down what they get off the pick-and-roll. Armored Athlete likes to play with their bigs off the pick-and-rolls. We’ll try to come up with a strategy for our guys to defend the pick-and-roll well. It’s not like extensive scouting because you don’t have a lot of time to implement things.”