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CU Buffs men’s basketball notes: Evan Battey lighting it up to start senior season

Freshman KJ Simpson with spark off the bench in win against New Mexico

BOULDER, CO - Nov. 13, 2021: ...
University of Colorado Boulder’s Evan Battey goes up on New Mexico Lobos’ Gethro Muscadin on November 13, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

It has been the basketball equivalent of an eternity since Evan Battey last hit a pair of 3-pointers in a game.

Given the way the Colorado Buffaloes’ big man is shooting the ball at the start of his senior season, chances are that rare feat will occur yet again sooner rather than later.

Battey continued his solid start to the season on Saturday during the Buffs’ 87-76 home win against New Mexico, finishing with 16 points and six rebounds.

“We want to be in attack mode all the time,” Battey said. “Our guards attacking, feed it to the bigs. We have some really versatile players and really skilled players. I think we have really hard players to guard. Us attacking is good for us.”

After going a perfect 6-for-6 during a season-opening overtime win against Montana State, Battey went 7-for-10 against New Mexico while knocking down both his 3-point attempts. Battey hit a pair of threes in a game only once previously, doing it in the third game of his career on Nov. 20, 2018 at San Diego.

Battey was just 2-for-17 on 3-pointers all of last season and entered this year with a career .220 mark (11-for-50) on 3-pointers, yet he is 3-for-3 from long range through the first two games.

Sparkplug

Energetic freshman guard KJ Simpson turned in a solid all-around game off the bench against New Mexico, finishing with six points, eight rebounds, and three assists in 18 minutes, 26 seconds of court time.

“He plays with great energy, he’s got great speed. He’s going to be a really good player here,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “He’s really coachable. He made some plays off two feet tonight that three, four weeks ago he would’ve left his feet and charged, or turned it over. He’s really trying to do what the coaching staff is asking him to do.

“But it’s a learning curve for him. He’s playing against experienced guards. He’s going to keep getting better and learning.”

Notable

CU has scored 181 points through the first two games, the most the Buffs have tallied through two games since the start of the 2002-03 season in wins against Cal Poly (97-69) and Stetson (107-74)…Conversely, the Buffs have allowed 166 points in the first two games, the most the program has allowed in consecutive games since surrendering 85 to Arizona State and 83 to Arizona at the 2018 Pac-12 Conference tournament…Against New Mexico, CU sophomore Jabari Walker enjoyed career-highs in made free throws (nine) and free throws attempted (12)…CU went 5-for-36 on 3-pointers in its two preseason games. The Buffs have attempted the same number of threes through the first two regular season games, but have gone 16-for-36 (.444).

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