Keeshawn Barthelemy finished with a career-high 22 points in 23 minutes and Jabari Walker added 15 points in Colorado’s 90-46 win over Maine on Monday night.
The Buffs (3-0) battled in a back-and-forth affair before taking a commanding double-digit lead toward the end of the first half. Maine (1-2) remained close but never led more than two points early, and ended up down by 17 at halftime.
The Black Bears fell behind quickly following a 14-0 run to start the second half. A surge that increased the Buffs lead to 60-32 with KJ Simpson’s layup at the 14:35 mark. From that point on it was all about defense for Tad Boyle’s Buffaloes squad.
“I thought our guys took about eight minutes to kind of wake up and figure out that part of the game plan was defensive pressure and intensity,” Boyle said after the game. “I was pretty pleased with that for 32 minutes, but we’re still trying to figure out a 40-minute game.”
Colorado not only took advantage of second-chance opportunities with 33 defensive rebounds, but nearly doubled their lead down the stretch in the 44-point victory. All done with near flawless execution, shooting 54.4% from the field and 7-of-14 from behind the arc.
Vukasin Masic had 11 points and Chris Efretuei chipped in 10 points in the losing effort for the Black Bears. The first-ever meeting between both schools on the hardwood. Maine hails from the America East Conference which produced 16th-seed darlings, the UMBC Retrievers, who upset heavily-favored and top-seeded Virginia in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA tourney.
“They expose things that you don’t do well,’’ Maine coach Richard Barron said about matching up with Colorado. “They were deep and talented. They come at you in waves. I was pleased with the first 12 minutes or so of the game. I thought we were executing very well.”
Takeaways: The Buffs are averaging 90.3 points per game thus far in the 2021-22 season. A healthy rotation with 10 players seeing significant time over the course of 40 minutes tonight. Two things they’ll hope can continue with No. 2 UCLA and No. 17 Tennessee coming in just two weeks.
Up Next: A vacation (of sorts). Colorado travels to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam tournament. A 6 p.m. MST tip-off with Southern Illinois is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 19 on ESPN3. If CU wins, they’ll play the winner of Northeastern-Duquesne on Sunday.