Even if this era of fast-paced, five-out basketball, it’s nice to know that the Colorado Buffaloes can Tad Ball their way to a tough road win. This game against the Richmond Spiders was anything but pretty, yet the Buffs pulled out the 64-59 victory thanks to a solid defensive effort and just enough scoring.
K.J. Simpson led the Buffs in scoring with 23 points despite playing only 27 minutes due to foul trouble. The junior guard was a walking paint touch tonight, as he kept getting into the teeth of the defense for layups and free throws. He also did a fantastic job slowing the game down when needed, as the Spiders took away the transition opportunities and made the Buffs work for every shot.
Tristan da Silva and Eddie Lamkpin were also strong in this game. Da Silva didn’t have his jumper, but he’s so skilled and smart that he nonetheless put up his usual 15 and 8 on a bevy of floaters, flip shots and middies. Lampkin, meanwhile, shut down Richmond’s Neal Quinn and demonstrated his ability as a high post passer. He had some absolute dimes in the second half and was instrumental to the success of the half court offense.
The Spiders posed issues by slowing the game down and working the ball into certain mismatches. Jordan King was able to put up 23 points, mostly on jump shots out of pick-and-roll actions. That kind of scoring guard has been a bugaboo in years past, but the Buffs did a good job on him, forced him into jumpers, and took away his passing options.
The Buffs move on to face the Florida State Seminoles on Tuesday, 2:00 p.m. (MT). The Noles are very big and will try to similarly slow this game down. Colorado is the better team, but they will have to problem solve in much the same way as they did against Richmond.