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As hiatus continues, CU Buffs trying to make the most out of their time

Fire relief gift card drive on tap at Events Center

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)
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As has been the case for pretty much every college basketball team across the nation over the past 22 months, Colorado has become adept at making the most out of any unexpected situation.

Another case in point arrived on Monday.

The Buffaloes were at their game day shoot-around at Oregon’s Knight Arena when head coach Tad Boyle received word that night’s contest likely would be postponed a second time due to COVID issues, this time within the Oregon program.

The Buffs immediately shifted focus. As long as they had the floor, and with time to burn before their travel arrangements could be reshuffled, CU put in a workout that more closely resembled a regular practice before returning home. Back at the CU Events Center for practice on Tuesday, the Buffs are hoping their unexpected hiatus finally comes to an end with Thursday’s home date against Washington State (7 p.m., ESPNU).

“When we found out we weren’t going to play, we know we’re flying back and there’s a lot of logistical things that have to happen,” Boyle said. “It gave us some time to stay in Oregon and use their facilities to at least get a workout in. We got some cardio, got up-and-down a little bit. We made it fun.

“The one thing I’ve got to be cognizant of is these guys emotionally. They’re excited to play Kansas, and it doesn’t happen. They’re excited to come back and play Oregon and Oregon State, and it doesn’t happen. And they’re excited for the makeup game at Oregon, and it doesn’t happen. You want to make some workouts not like going to the dentist. So we had fun with it. We made the best of a difficult situation. That’s all you can do.”

CU has had four dates (three games) canceled or postponed since posting a 60-46 win against Cal State Bakersfield on Dec. 18. That run began when the sold-out showdown against Kansas on Dec. 21 was canceled when COVID issues arose within CU’s program. On Dec. 26, the Buffs’ first two-game trip in Pac-12 play was postponed, with the date at Oregon delayed a second time on Monday.

Though not official, the Buffs might still be looking at a makeup date at Oregon State on or around Jan. 25, making the trip to Corvallis in tandem with CU’s scheduled trip later that week to Washington and Washington State.

CU, like most teams, dealt with its share of rescheduled games last year. Yet in the end the Buffs played their full allotment of games, including being one of seven Pac-12 teams to play its full 20-game league schedule. This year, the Buffs already have lost a KU game that won’t be rescheduled this year and likely won’t be replaced. And on Tuesday, Boyle admitted completing the full 20-game conference schedule might be more challenging this year, given the recent rash of postponements. On Tuesday, COVID issues at Arizona State forced the Sun Devils to postpone their games Thursday at UCLA and at home Saturday against Arizona. The Buffs are scheduled to visit ASU on Jan. 15.

“We have to be flexible. We have to be nimble,” Boyle said. “But quite frankly, we have to be fiscally responsible.”

Fire relief

CU will host a gift card drive at all four basketball games this weekend at the CU Events Center, including the men’s game against Washington State on Thursday, the women’s game on Friday against USC, and the women-men doubleheader on Sunday.

The Boulder Office of Emergency Management has asked for the gift cards to be from “Front Range grocery stores, department stores, and local restaurants,” per a release, with the monetary denominations visible on the card. The cards will be collected at every arena entrance and given to distribution centers through the BOEM.

Beginning Wednesday through the remainder of the season, $5 from every men’s and women’s basketball ticket sold will go toward emergency relief efforts.

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