Tyler Bey had his fifth double-double of the season as he powered the Colorado Buffaloes past the Sacramento State Hornets on Saturday night. In the Buffs’ 59-45 win, Bey accounted for 11 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. It was just the latest great performance in what has been an amazing early season for the junior forward.
As Bey inserts himself into early National Player of the Year conversations — seriously, he’s a an early contender — he has a terrific frontcourt partner in Evan Battey. The redshirt sophomore turned the tide earlier in the week against Clemson and was back at it against a Hornets squad that couldn’t deal with his size and skill. With those two rolling, the Buffs are capable of dominating the paint and the glass. If Colorado’s outside shots aren’t falling, it’s critical that they can force their way into the paint to get buckets.
Colorado’s offensive struggle against Sac State were partly due to turnovers. They had 19 in the game. That looks much worse considering their mediocre competition and that the pace of this game was quite slow. While the scoring was mostly concentrated in Colorado’s stars, everyone (except D’Shawn Schwartz) got in on the turnover game. It’s impossible to get into an offensive groove if you can’t keep the ball.
Colorado is supposed to be tuning up before their road game at Kansas on Dec. 7th, so it’s a bit disconcerting that they’ve struggled so badly taking care of the ball recently. Hopefully these issues stem from a lack of focus, which would be understandable considering their past few games have come in empty courts. There was zero energy at the MGM in Las Vegas and the students were on break during this latest game.
If there’s a real positive to this Sac State win, it’s that Colorado is so good that even their worst games are easy double-digit wins. Only one game this season has been close and that was against Clemson. If the Buffs are still finding their footing, that speaks volumes about their potential. They already have an elite defense that could carry them to 20+ wins. If and when that offense starts to click, they will be a force.
The Buffs have one more tune-up game before Kansas. They will play Loyola Marymount on Dec. 4th (8:00 pm, Pac-12 Networks), then take on the Jayhawks on Dec. 7th (5:00 pm, ESPN2). This could be a momentous week for the Buffs, so expect Tad Boyle to try to flip that switch after this low-scoring win.