Just like that, it’s over for Team Colorado. The team of Buffs alumni was expected to make another deep run in The Tournament, but they fell in the Super 16 to Armored Athlete. The dream of winning the $2 million grand prize will have to wait until next summer.
Team Colorado started the game with hot shooting, but from there on, the offense bordered on disastrous. Apart from the offense Marcus Hall and Chris Copeland created, the offense was stagnant and no one could find clean looks. The defense could’ve made up for that offensive ineptitude, but they seemed to lack intensity on that end as they struggled defending the interior and securing rebounds.
You can credit Armored Athlete’s swarming defense for making it impossible for Team Colorado to find their rhythm. They excelled at closing out shots and it seemed to make Team Colorado uncomfortable from outside, where the Buffs only shot 26% on a whopping 31 three-pointers. Armored Athlete’s length and tenacity also made it difficult for Team Colorado to drive to the basket or score from the post.
Hall and Copeland combined for 46 points on 48% shooting. The rest of the team had 29 points on 32% shooting. That disparity is hard to overcome against a defense like Armored Athlete. Once they realized no one could score except Hall and Copeland, they seemed to divert all their attention to stopping Team Colorado’s stars. Hall and Copeland weren’t blameless here — Copeland especially — as they often took some awful shots and weren’t always looking to move the ball.
It was great to see Josh Scott play in Colorado colors again, but it sucks that he was back for only 23 minutes. It’s really unfortunate he struggled — he only had 11 points and 6 rebounds — especially since he was just in the NBA Summer League playing against significantly better competition. I’m not sure why Scott missed so many layups or why he was so consistently beat on the boards. Maybe he needed the ball more to find his shot. Maybe he was bothered by the defense collapsing on him every time he had the ball. Maybe it was just a bad game.
The reason for Scott’s struggles could probably be extended to Team Colorado as a whole. As much potential as they had, they just ran into the wrong team at the wrong time.
Team Colorado will likely be back in The Tournament next year, this time with more to prove and more motivation to capture the grand prize. They could roll out the same team and see if their luck is any better. They could also look to have more energy and athleticism and add younger players like Xavier Johnson, Carlon Brown and George King. Whatever they do, though, Team Colorado will be ready to make another run next summer.
Dammit, there’s no more basketball until November.