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Opening thriller: CU Buffs men’s basketball outlasts Montana State in OT

Buffs rally in memorable season opener

BOULDER CO - November 9, 2021: University of Colorado Boulder's Eli Parquet takes a jump shot against  Montana State on November 9, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER CO – November 9, 2021: University of Colorado Boulder’s Eli Parquet takes a jump shot against Montana State on November 9, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

After the celebration moved from the CU Events Center floor to the locker room, a peculiar reality struck the Colorado men’s basketball team amid the team’s euphoria.

The Buffaloes have so many freshmen other newcomers this season, the number of players who don’t know all the words to the CU fight song far outweigh those who do.

It proved to be a momentary pause in the revelry. As he did on the floor just moments earlier, CU senior Evan Battey led the young Buffs through uncertainty, this time belting out the fight song to cap the party after CU rallied for a thrilling 94-90 season-opening overtime victory against Montana State.

CU improved to 10-2 in season openers under head coach Tad Boyle, and it was the Buffs’ 14th consecutive win in a home opener. It also was the first overtime win in a season opener for CU since an 82-80 win against Drake by the Chauncey Billups-led Buffs of 1996-97.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Boyle said. “I’m really proud of our players and the fight that they showed. It’s funny, a lot of our guys don’t even know the fight song. We sang it in the locker room, Evan kind of (taught) them it. But the fight part of this team was on display tonight. We weren’t great. It was kind of an ugly win. But they showed a lot of grit down the stretch.”

Montana State led 38-35 at halftime after Washington transfer RaeQuoan Battle swished an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the Bobcats took command by opening the second half with a 13-3 run.

Montana State led 68-58 before the Buffs mounted a rally, reeling off a 15-5 run capped by a dunk from Nique Clifford that tied the game 73-73. The game remained tied at 75-75 when Montana State’s Xavier Bishop drained a 30-footer as the shot clock expired. The Bobcats added two free throws from Abdul Mohamed, putting the Buffs in a five-point hole with 53.1 seconds remaining.

However, on a night marred by foul trouble and ill-timed turnovers for CU, the Buffs didn’t flinch. Battey connected on a pair of free throws with 43.1 seconds remaining and, after the Bobcats missed two free throws with 38 seconds left, CU senior guard Elijah Parquet knocked down a clutch 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining, tying the game 80-80.

The Buffs got a defensive stop to force overtime and promptly scored the first five points of the extra session, soon building a nine-point lead. A few missed free throws in the final minute kept things close, but the Buffs managed to hold off the Bobcats.

Point guard Keeshawn Barthelemy led five Buffs players in double figures with 19 points. Parquet finished with a career-high 17 points and Battey recorded 16 points.

Battey battled foul trouble throughout the night, getting relegated to the bench for the final 10 minutes of the first half after picking up his second foul. Battey, who struggled to an 0-for-10 mark in the Buffs’ preseason finale at Nebraska,  picked up his fourth foul with 12 minutes, 47 seconds remaining. But Battey still made his mark down the stretch, finishing 6-for-6 and grabbing five rebounds.

“Things happen. As you grow older, this is my fifth year at Colorado, I’ve seen a lot happen,” Battey said. “I’ve seen a lot of games. For me, just keep my head, keep my composure. Never get too high, never get too low. Just get ready to make an impact.”

Colorado 94, Montana St. 90 (OT)


Belo 6-7 4-5 16, Mohamed 5-13 3-3 16, Adamu 5-9 2-2 14, Bishop 3-12 2-3 11, Patterson 4-10 0-0 10, Battle 3-6 0-0 8, Lecholat 4-5 1-1 9, Osobor 2-2 0-0 4, Tynes 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 33-69 12-14 90.


Battey 6-6 3-5 16, Walker 4-8 4-5 14, da Silva 1-2 4-4 6, Barthelemy 6-11 4-5 19, Parquet 5-11 6-9 17, Clifford 3-7 4-6 11, O’Brien 1-3 0-0 2, Lovering 1-4 1-1 3, Simpson 2-5 1-2 6. Totals 29-57 27-37 94.

Halftime – Montana St. 38-35. 3-Point Goals – Montana St. 12-30 (Mohamed 3-6, Bishop 3-9, Adamu 2-3, Battle 2-3, Patterson 2-7, Lecholat 0-1, Tynes 0-1), Colorado 9-19 (Barthelemy 3-3, Walker 2-4, Battey 1-1, Simpson 1-2, Clifford 1-3, Parquet 1-5, da Silva 0-1). Fouled Out – Bishop, Battle, Lovering. Rebounds – Montana St. 29 (Mohamed 9), Colorado 38 (Clifford 9). Assists – Montana St. 22 (Tynes 4), Colorado 14 (Barthelemy 5). Total Fouls – Montana St. 27, Colorado 17. A – 6,931.