Colorado is a very interesting team. They're one of the few squads that can consistently trail a far inferior team at halftime and go on to blow them out in the second half. It seems CU has two teams: a strong, talented tournament team, and one that cannot execute an inbounds play, or cover their men on defense.
The San Francisco Recap: Once again the Buffs came out with another strong start and went up 7-0 in the first four and a half minutes against the Dons. Then, CU decided to go to sleep. San Francisco proceeded to blow the game wide open with a 23-8 run of their own. With 7:24 remaining, the faltering Buffaloes trailed 23-19. After allowing San Francisco to extend their lead to six with a little less than four minutes left on the clock, Colorado finally woke up from their first half hibernation. The Buffs held the Dons scoreless for the remainder of the half, while cutting the deficit to only two points. At intermission, to almost everyone's surprise, CU trailed 32-34. The second half can only be described as the official beginning of Ski Season. Booker led his Buffaloes to a comeback of impressive proportions. For the first eight minutes of the half, Colorado went on a 18-8 run, and went into the TV timeout leading 50-42. With 10:23 left in the game, the Dons closed the gap to 50-44 and that's the closest they would get. Booker and Scott would lead the next run to close out the game with another impressive 22-11 spurt. The most impressive part of that run: Colorado only allowed two points in the final 5:32. The Buffs won 72-55.
The Georgia Recap: For most of the first half, it appeared that CU had a real chance at earning their first road win of the season. Behind another strong performance from Scott and Booker, CU remained competitive against a good Georgia team. With 4:11 remaining in the half and the score tied at 22, the Buffs decided that was a good enough performance. Georgia decided to take advantage of the Buffaloes late half snooze and went on a 12-0 run to go into halftime leading 34-22. After the break, Colorado continued to drag their feet. The Buffs could only muster up a meager five points in the first seven minutes of the second half. Thankfully, Georgia struggled offensively as well, only scoring five. Then with 12:50 remaining, CU snapped out of their slump thanks to an Askia Booker-to-Xavier Johnson connection that ended with an emphatic dunk. The Buffs once again went on another solid run, cutting into the Bulldogs' lead. But every time CU cut the deficit, Georgia built it right back up. With 1:08 to play in the game, Xavier Johnson hit a deep three to put the Buffs down 57-51, but the Bulldogs proved to be unyielding from the charity stripe and the Buffs couldn't convert in the clutch. Georgia powered past the Buffs 64-57.
What Went Right: The Buffs proved once again that they have the potential to play as a great team. It seems that Colorado has the ability at any one time to simply turn on the switch and play to their full potential. CU demonstrated that clearly in their runs against San Francisco and Georgia. It was also very nice to see the two leaders, Scott and Booker, finally take their roles as the dominant forces for the Buffaloes. In both games, the two leaders carried a considerable load of the offense, and helped shut down the Dons and the Bulldogs when Colorado went on their scoring runs. The most promising sign the Buffs showed this week was their ability to recover from deficits. In both games the Buffs trailed going into the half, and in both games CU managed to fight back in the second half to either win, or make it a close game down the stretch. If Colorado can figure out how to execute and stop their opponents while down by considerable amounts they may prove to be very worthy as the season goes on.
What Went Wrong: The most pressing question on everybody's mind going into this week was: "Can Colorado win on the road?" And the answer is no, or at least not yet. CU moved to 0-2 on the road this season and has no more official road games until the Pac-12 season. Hopefully, the Buffs will find that missing link before the Diamond Head Classic Tournament or at least the USC game in January. If the Buffs continue to falter on the road against their non-conference opponents, it sends shivers down my spine to think what would happen when CU will play at Arizona or Utah.
Next, the Buffs continue to struggle to guard the three point shot. Against San Francisco, the Buffs gave up six buckets from deep in the first half alone. Thankfully, the altitude managed to shut down the Dons shooters before they could do any damage in the second half. At sea level, however, Georgia's shooters prevented the Buffs from ever fully closing the gap in the second half.
Lastly, Colorado must figure out how to shoot consistently on the road. In both road games, the Buffs shot a horrible 31.8 percent from the field and an even poorer 18.8 percent from three. If the Buffs want any chance to succeed this season, they must learn how to play on the road.
Player of the Week: As I said earlier in the article, it is the official start to Ski Season. Thus, Askia Booker is the player of the week. Booker dropped a season-high 21 points against San Francisco while shooting 5-6 from the three point line, and going 8-12 from the field. Booker also added three rebounds, three assists, and a steal to top it all off. Against Georgia, Ski continued to impress by scoring 20 points, grabbing five rebounds, dishing out three assists, and grabbing three more steals. Quite a convincing week for a man that needed it. Hopefully, Booker will continue to perform at this level. If he does, I might just be temped to buy one of those custom Ski Season t-shirts.
At 5-2, the Buffs seem to be on track with everybody's predictions. Yet they do not seem to be performing on par with where everybody believes they should be. CU has several questions to answer this week. Can they finally play the entire 40 minutes of a basketball game? Can the Buffs figure out how to defend three point shooters? Will Booker continue to perform at this level? Or was this just a one week blip? All of these questions will be answered in one week's time. Hopefully, the Buffs will soundly answer our questions with blowouts against two in-state rivals.