For the first couple minutes of today's game looked as if the UT Martin Skyhawks were going to pull an upset against the Buffaloes. Justin Childs and Terrence Smith of UT Martin refused to miss for the first five minutes of the game. It wasn't until the twelve minutes mark in the first half that the Buffs took their first lead of the game of 15-16. However, that lead was short lived due to the inexorable shooting of the Skyhawks. With most of the starters on the bench, it looked like the Buffs were going to regroup for the second half and call the first half a wash. However, Xavier Johnson and Wesley Gordon would have none of that. Together they took the Buffs on an eight to four run that tied the game at 24-24 all with 8:24 left in the first half. Thirty seconds later the Buff's Dustin Thomas stole the ball from UT Martin's Marshun Newell, which was finished off by an emphatic dunk by Spencer Dinwiddie. The Buffs didn't look back from there. They finished out the half with 19-10 run, capped off by a sensational buzzer beater by Jaron Hopkins, putting the Buffs up 45-35.
Starting the second half, Justin Smith and Terrence Smith continued to find the bottom of the net. The closest the Skyhawks got was seven points with 12:38 to go. However, once again the Buffs turned on the switched and took over. It was shades of Hakeem Olajuwan and and Sampson, when Scott and Gordon took control of the game, scoring 12 points and snatching 4 rebounds combined in 7 minutes. When the two big men checked out of the game it was 81-58 Buffs. Dinwiddie also had a strong second half scoring seven points, pulling down three rebounds and recording one steal.
The biggest lesson from this game was that the freshman on this team are legit. Tre'Shaun Fletcher, Jaron Hopkins, George King and Dustin Thomas combined for 23 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Take away those 35 points and the Buffs actually would have lost that game 56-58. Overall the freshman were responsible for 35 of the Buffs 91 points. But, more importantly, they were responsible for some clutch plays during the first half comeback, such as the Dustin Thomas steal or the Jaron Hopkins buzzer beater.
This game was a promising sign from the Buffs of good things to come. The Buffs play Wyoming at home on Wednesday, this will be their first real test of the season. Based off their performance today, the Buffs should be able to get their second win of the season against the Cowboys.
What were your thoughts on the Buffs game?