It was a sign, however inadvertent, about just how far Evan Battey has come.
Colorado men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle barely invoked Battey’s name following the Buffaloes’ 83-78 win against Washington State on Thursday night. It wasn’t as if it was an intentional slight from Boyle, and none of the media contingent specifically asked about Battey.
Yet it was telling that Battey could score 20 points on a 7-for-8 showing from the floor, including a pair of key 3-pointers, with hardly a mention on just how critical his efforts were to the victory. As a senior, Battey’s production has become so reliable his numbers sometimes get overlooked.
“That’s what seniors do. That’s how seniors perform,” Boyle said. “Not that he has to score 20 points every night, but he’s got to make positive impacts on the game, whether it’s rebounding, passing. And that’s the beauty of Evan’s game. He’s got the ability to affect the game so many different ways. He takes charges. He gets big rebounds, both offensively and defensively. He can hit threes now. He’s a great passer for a guy his size.”
Thursday’s effort gave Battey a .750 shooting mark over the past three games (15-for-20) and increased his season field goal percentage to .575. Battey also went 2-for-3 from the 3-point line, giving him a 10-for-18 mark from long range.
It was the second 20-point game of the season for Battey and the fifth of his career. He goes into CU’s home game Sunday afternoon against Washington (3 p.m., ESPN2) needing six points to pass Austin Dufault for 32nd-place on the Buffs’ all-time scoring list and he needs 13 points to match Larry Vaculik for 31st-place. Battey also needs five rebounds to pass CU radio analyst Scott Wilke for 26th on the all-time rebounding list.
Defensively, Washington still predominantly runs the Syracuse zone that head coach Mike Hopkins brought with him from Syracuse five years ago.
Not only will the Buffs have to knock down a few 3-pointers — CU went 6-for-15 from the arc against Washington State and is shooting .353 on 3-pointers at home — but forwards like Battey and Jabari Walker will have to make plays from the zone soft spot around the free throw line.
“Look high-low first. That’s your first look,” Walker said. “Usually one of those are open, honestly, and if not that jump shot should be open.”
Another reminder that Sunday’s women-men doubleheader (the CU women tip off at 11 against UCLA) will mark the final round of CU’s gift card drive to help victims of the Marshall Fire. Fans are asked to write the gift card amount on the envelope, and drop-off boxes will be located at each entrance to the Events Center…Washington starting guard Daejon Davis, a Seattle native, spent four seasons at Stanford but is using his final, extra season of eligibility with the Huskies. He completed his Stanford career ranked fifth in program history in steals (147) and sixth in assists (429)…UW senior Jamal Bey, the cousin of former CU star Tyler Bey, is averaging 9.5 points and 4.5 rebounds with a team-leading 3-point mark of .341. Bey went 2-for-3 on 3-pointers and 5-for-8 overall with 14 points in the Huskies’ home win against CU last year.