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Second-half ambush sends CU Buffs men’s basketball to a rout of Maine

Buffs improve to 3-0 after dominating Black Bears

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Luke O'Brien (No. 0) tries to...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Luke O'Brien (No. 0) tries to block the inbound pass from University of Maine's Ata Turgut (No. 4) at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Nique Clifford (No. 32) collides with...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Nique Clifford (No. 32) collides with University of Maine's Ata Turgut (No. 4) at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Jack Pease (No. 44) its up...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Jack Pease (No. 44) its up a shot over University of Maine's Peter Filipovity (No. 44) at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Keeshawn Barthelemy (No. 3) dunks the...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Keeshawn Barthelemy (No. 3) dunks the ball in the game against University of Maine at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Nique Clifford ...

    Daily Camera file photo

    University of Colorado Boulder's Nique Clifford (No. 32) puts up a shot over University of Maine's Peter Filipovity (No. 44) and Chris Efretuei (No. 21) at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

  • University of Maine's Chris Efretuei (No. ...

    Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    University of Maine's Chris Efretuei (No. 21) blocks a shot from University of Colorado Boulder's Jabari Walker (No. 12) at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Lawson Lovering (No. 34) collides with...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Lawson Lovering (No. 34) collides with University of Maine's Milos Nenadic (No. 12) at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Head Coach ...

    Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    University of Colorado Boulder's Head Coach Tad Boyle talks to the team during the game against University of Maine at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Jabari Walker ...

    Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    University of Colorado Boulder's Jabari Walker (No. 12) grabs a rebound over University of Maine's Peter Filipovity (No. 44) at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Evan Battey ...

    Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    University of Colorado Boulder's Evan Battey (No. 21) collides with University of Maine's Chris Efretuei (No. 21) at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

  • Freshman center Lawson Lovering is getting up to speed with...

    Freshman center Lawson Lovering is getting up to speed with the CU Buffs men's basketball team. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • University of Colorado Boulder's K.J. Simpson (No. 2) puts up...

    University of Colorado Boulder's K.J. Simpson (No. 2) puts up a shot past University of Maine's Milos Nenadic (No. 12) at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Elijah Parquet (No. 24) drives around...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Elijah Parquet (No. 24) drives around University of Maine's LeChaun DuHart (No. 13) at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Nique Clifford ...

    Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    University of Colorado Boulder's Nique Clifford (No. 32) puts up a shot between University of Maine's Ja'ShontŽ Wright-McLeish (No. 2) and Chris Efretuei (No. 21) at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Elijah Parquet ...

    Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    University of Colorado Boulder's Elijah Parquet (No. 24) hangs on the basket after dunking the ball in the game against University of Maine at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Head Coach ...

    Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    University of Colorado Boulder's Head Coach Tad Boyle talks to the team during the game against University of Maine at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

  • Colorado sophomore forward Jabari Walker has posted consecutive double-doubles heading...

    Colorado sophomore forward Jabari Walker has posted consecutive double-doubles heading into the Buffs' Pac-12 opener against Stanford. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

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Netting the first two wins of the season required the Colorado men’s basketball team to dig deep and make clutch plays down the stretch to prevail in tightly contested games.

Maine offered a chance for the Buffs to address a few early shortcomings while giving a break to a collective nervous system that was taxed in the opening games.

CU did its part by dispatching the visiting Black Bears accordingly, shaking off Maine’s pesky start to steadily pull away for a comfortable 90-46 win Monday night at the CU Events Center.

With the victory, the Buffs went 3-for-3 during the season-opening, three-game homestand and will regroup during a scheduled day off on Tuesday before departing for the US Virgin Islands, where they open the three-game Paradise Jam tournament on Friday against Southern Illinois.

“Not a nail-biter tonight,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “It took about eight minutes to wake up and figure out part of the game plan was defensive pressure and intensity, so I was pretty pleased with that for 32 minutes. We’re still trying to figure out a 40-minute game and getting going from the jump. Overall, I’m pleased. We hit a lot of our numbers tonight in terms of our individual game goals.”

Maine shot well early and remained within 25-22 of the Buffs on a 3-pointer by LeChaun Duhart, a former prep star at Grandview High School in Aurora. From there, though, the Buffs outscored Maine 21-7 over the final five minutes of the first half, taking a 46-29 lead into halftime.

Maine’s Milos Nenadic opened the second half with a 3-pointer to trim the Black Bears’ deficit to 14 points, but CU scored the next 14 points to put Maine away. After allowing each of its first two opponents to shoot better than 41%, CU held the Black Bears to a .327 mark. Maine was shooting 46% at halftime, but the Buffs limited them to a 5-for-25 showing (.200) in the second half.

The Buffs also won the battle of the boards for the third time in three games, dominating Maine with a 45-23 rebounding advantage.

“We preached coming out strong in the first half, and we didn’t do the job we expected,” CU sophomore forward Jabari Walker said. “So the second half, we had an opportunity to improve. The starters, we have a responsibility to start the games, and the second half, off strong. We want to improve on that, and I think we made a big stride in the second half.”

For the third straight game to start the season, CU point guard Keeshawn Barthelemy established a new career scoring high, this time with 22 points on a 9-for-12 night from the field. Walker recorded 15 points and six rebounds, and for the third consecutive game the Buffs shot at least 30 free throws, finishing 21-for-30.

Maine is believed to be the opponent that has traveled the furthest for a regular season game at the CU Events Center, and after playing just nine games in an abbreviated season last year and playing one of its first two games this season against a Division III foe, the Buffs weren’t entirely certain what to expect from their guests. It became a moot point after CU buried the Black Bears after halftime, and now the Buffs will brace for their own high-mileage trip on Wednesday morning.

“They’re on the east coast and we don’t recruit there that much, so we didn’t have a good feel for their personnel,” Boyle said. “This game was about us. That’s why the game plan was pretty simple — get great shots, play inside-out, let’s attack them, and defensively let’s pressure the ball and limit their second-chance opportunities. Our guys did a good job of that.”

Fast break

What went right: CU outrebounded Maine 45-23, went 7-for-14 on 3-pointers, and held the Black Bears to a .200 shooting percentage (5-for-25) after halftime.

What went wrong: Not much, though Maine managed to shoot .458 in the first half.

Star of the game: Keeshawn Barthelemy. The third-year sophomore point guard turned in another stellar outing, going 9-for-12 with 22 points, three rebounds, two assists, and only one turnover in 22-plus minutes.

What’s next: CU travels to the US Virgin Islands to take on Southern Illinois on Friday in the first game of the Paradise Jam.

Colorado 90, Maine 46

MAINE (1-2)
Feierbergs 4-9 0-0 9, Nenadic 1-6 0-0 3, Adetogun 0-4 0-0 0, DuHart 1-7 0-0 3, Masic 4-7 2-2 11, Wright-McLeish 1-2 0-0 3, Efretuei 4-5 2-7 10, Ihekwoaba 0-0 0-0 0, Ireland 1-3 3-4 5, Kalnjscek 0-1 2-2 2, Turgut 0-3 0-0 0, Filipovity 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-49 9-15 46.

COLORADO (3-0)
Battey 2-4 0-1 4, Walker 5-9 3-4 15, da Silva 3-6 2-2 8, Barthelemy 9-12 3-4 22, Parquet 2-3 2-4 6, Clifford 3-5 3-4 10, Lovering 0-4 4-4 4, Simpson 4-5 0-1 9, Hammond 2-4 3-4 8, O’Brien 1-1 1-2 4, Ersek 0-1 0-0 0, Loughlin 0-1 0-0 0, Pease 0-1 0-0 0, Mains 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 31-57 21-30 90.

Halftime — Colorado 46-29. 3-point goals — Maine 5-21 (Masic 1-1, Wright-McLeish 1-2, DuHart 1-3, Nenadic 1-4, Feierbergs 1-6, Ireland 0-1, Turgut 0-1, Adetogun 0-3), Colorado 7-14 (Walker 2-2, Hammond 1-1, O’Brien 1-1, Clifford 1-2, Simpson 1-2, Barthelemy 1-3, da Silva 0-3). Fouled out — Duhart. Rebounds — Maine 23 (Efretuei 6), Colorado 45 (Battey, Lovering 7). Assists — Maine 9 (Ihekwoaba 4), Colorado 15 (Simpson 3). Total fouls — Maine 24, Colorado 16. A — 5,633.

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