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Despite losing Jabari Walker, CU Buffs men’s basketball tops Cal State Bakersfield

Buffs shake off shooting slump in final test before Kansas visit

  • Dec. 18, 2021- University of Colorado ...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Lawson Lovering gets to a loose ball ahead of CSU-Bakersfield's Brian Washington in Boulder on December 18, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • One of the more popular players ...

    Daily Camera file photo

    One of the more popular players in recent memory, CU Buffs forward Evan Battey will play his final home game at the CU Events Center.

  • Dec. 18, 2021- University of Colorado ...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Lawson Lovering dunks against CSU-Bakersfield in Boulder on December 18, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Dec. 18, 2021- University of Colorado ...

    Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    University of Colorado Boulder's Julian Hammond III tries to block the shot of CSU-Bakersfield's Grehlon Easter in Boulder on December 18, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • BOULDER, CO: December 18, 2021- University of Colorado Boulder's KJ...

    BOULDER, CO: December 18, 2021- University of Colorado Boulder's KJ Simpson gets past CSU-Bakersfield's Justin McCall in Boulder on December 18, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Dec. 18, 2021- University of Colorado ...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Evan Battey fakes CSU-Bakersfield's Justin McCall in Boulder on December 18, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer).

  • Dec. 18, 2021- University of Colorado ...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Evan Battey fakes CSU-Bakersfield's Justin McCall in Boulder on December 18, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

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

    Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    University of Colorado Boulder's Evan Battey blocks the shot of CSU-Bakersfield's Shawn Stith in Boulder on Dec. 18, 2021.

  • Dec. 18, 2021- University of Colorado ...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Nique Clifford gets past CSU-Bakersfield's Ralph Panopio in Boulder on December 18, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Dec. 18, 2021- University of Colorado ...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Lawson Lovering dunks against CSU-Bakersfield in Boulder on December 18, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • University of Colorado Boulder's Lawson Lovering ...

    Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    University of Colorado Boulder's Lawson Lovering dunks against CSU-Bakersfield in Boulder on Dec. 18, 2021.

  • Dec. 18, 2021- University of Colorado ...

    A knee injury has brought a premature end to the freshman season of 7-foot-1 Colorado center Lawson Lovering. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Dec. 18, 2021- University of Colorado ...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Eli Parquet flies in for a dunk againstCSU-Bakersfield in Boulder on December 18, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Dec. 18, 2021- University of Colorado ...

    University of Colorado Boulder's Eli Parquet flies in for a dunk against CSU-Bakersfield in Boulder on December 18, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Dec. 18, 2021- University of Colorado ...

    University of Colorado Boulder's head coach, Tad Boyle, talks to Eli Parquet in the CSU-Bakersfield game in Boulder on December 18, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

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It maybe wasn’t the sort of all-around performance the Colorado Buffaloes will need in the very near future, when they take on a perennial national power before embarking on the bulk of the Pac-12 Conference schedule.

Yet in the final tune-up ahead of the most anticipated home game of the season, the Buffs rediscovered just enough of their shooting touch and, more importantly, made sure they weren’t caught looking ahead.

CU emerged from its finals week lull on Saturday afternoon to post a 60-46 win against Cal State Bakersfield. It was the Buffs’ final mid-major foe of the regular season, and it also was CU’s final test before a visit from No. 7 Kansas on Tuesday.

The Buffs played most of the game without leading scorer and rebounder Jabari Walker, who took a shot to the head just 4 minutes, 21 seconds into the game. Walker immediately was escorted to the locker room by the team medical staff and did not return.

“(Bakersfield) doesn’t make it easy on you,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “They guard you. They rebound. It’s not easy to score on Bakersfield. So we knew we were going to have to make some shots. We finally made some shots from three, which I think was a step in the right direction.”

It was the Buffs’ defense that led the way, as CU held CSU Bakersfield to a .273 mark overall from the field with a 2-for-14 showing on 3-pointers.

CU entered the game mired in an extended long-range shooting slump, posting a .219 mark from the 3-point arc (16-for-73) over its previous four games. But the Buffs knocked down three of their first four 3-point attempts of the afternoon, ultimately finishing with a solid 7-for-17 mark. That included a 2-for-3 day on 3-pointers from point guard Keeshawn Barthelemy, who was mired in a 1-for-21 3-point rut over the previous six games.

“I’ve been trusting my work recently,” Barthelemy said. “It’s just about confidence and my teammates trust me. And I trust them back.”

The Buffs led 24-15 at halftime and built a 17-point lead midway through the second half. CSU Bakersfield managed to stay within striking distance for much of the contest largely due to 11 offensive rebounds that led to 12 second-chance points. CSU Bakersfield whittled CU’s lead down to eight points with 5:14 remaining, but the Buffs scored the next six points to add some much-needed breathing room down the stretch.

Walker’s absence surely contributed to the near-dozen offensive rebounds grabbed by the Roadrunners, but CU still managed to outrebound the visitors 40-34 overall.

With Walker sidelined, sophomore wing Nique Clifford logged 28 minutes, the second-highest total of his career and his highest total in a regulation game, as it trailed only the 35 minutes he played in a season-opening overtime win against Montana State. Clifford also went 2-for-3 on 3-pointers before finishing with 10 points, a team-leading seven rebounds, and a career-high-matching three assists.

“We had a week off, so what we focused on a lot was just getting a lot of shots in,” Clifford said. “I think it paid off this week. A lot of practice, a lot of work, and some of the shots started to fall. So we’ve just got to keep that up and be more consistent when we’re taking our threes.”

Fast break

What went right: CU went 7-for-17 on 3-pointers and outrebounded CSU Bakersfield 40-34. CU also was 15-for-19 at the free throw line.

What went wrong: Despite being alerted to Bakersfield’s ability to grab offensive rebounds in the scouting report, the Roadrunners turned 11 offensive boards into 12 second-chance points.

Star of the game: Nique Clifford. CU received balanced production throughout the rotation, but Clifford went 4-for-7 with 10 points and a team-leading seven rebounds. He also matched a career high with three assists and committed only one turnover in 28 minutes.

What’s next: It’s showdown time, as CU hosts a perennial power (and coach Tad Boyle’s alma mater) in No. 7 Kansas on Tuesday (7 p.m., ESPN2).

Colorado 60, Cal State Bakersfield 46

CS BAKERSFIELD (4-4)
Henson 0-1 0-0 0, Stith 2-9 4-7 8, Edler-Davis 2-8 3-4 8, McCall 3-4 2-2 8, Higgins 4-13 0-0 9, Reynolds 0-1 1-2 1, Washington 2-2 1-1 5, Williams 0-7 0-0 0, Easter 1-5 2-2 4, Panopio 1-2 1-1 3, Collum 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 15-55 14-19 46.

COLORADO (9-3)
Battey 2-4 4-4 8, J.Walker 0-1 0-0 0, da Silva 1-9 4-5 7, Barthelemy 4-7 2-2 12, Parquet 4-6 1-1 10, Clifford 4-7 0-2 10, Simpson 0-4 4-5 4, Lovering 3-5 0-0 6, O’Brien 0-0 0-0 0, Hammond 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 19-45 15-19 60.

Halftime — Colorado 24-15. 3-point field goals — CS Bakersfield 2-14 (Edler-Davis 1-3, Higgins 1-4, Easter 0-1, McCall 0-1, Panopio 0-1, Stith 0-1, Williams 0-3), Colorado 7-17 (Barthelemy 2-3, Clifford 2-3, Hammond 1-2, Parquet 1-2, da Silva 1-4, Battey 0-1, Simpson 0-2). Rebounds — CS Bakersfield 34 (Edler-Davis 8), Colorado 40 (Clifford 7). Assists — CS Bakersfield 4 (Stith, Washington, Williams, Panopio 1), Colorado 16 (Simpson 4). Total fouls — CS Bakersfield 18, Colorado 16. A — 5,888 (11,064).

 

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