When one looks at any successful business, orchestra, or sports team, the one commonality is that most of the time they’re working in unison. Like the team’s band where all the instruments sounded on key like a well-oiled machine, Colorado played an excellent team brand of basketball in their second round victory over Norfolk State.
Aside from the three walk-ons who received a minute of garbage time at the end, all nine rotational players made their mark in the scoring column. Tyler Bey once again led all scorers with 17 points, and Evan Battey had 12 points and 10 rebounds in his first double-double of the season. D’Shawn Schwartz (11) and Daylen Kuontz (10) also finished the evening in double figures. Unlikely hero Alex Strating and Eli Parquet - who played his first game in over a month, also played quality minutes. A quiet scoring night from McKinley Wright who had just six points was overshadowed by his selflessness, which allowed him to record a remarkable six assists.
In addition to spreading the wealth around, Colorado shot an incredibly efficient 50 percent (27-for-54) from the field and 76.2 percent (16-for-21) from the strip. Roughly a fifth of the Buffs points came from the free throw line as they did an excellent job getting in the paint and drawing contact.
Speaking of Bey, he was one rebound shy of his 16th double-double of the season. It’s no secret that the sophomore has been an integral piece of the team’s success all season long. CU is 11-4 in games where Bey has recorded a double-double, and 14-6 in games where’s he scored 10 points or more. Getting him in a grove early in games allows this team to find their rhythm as they feed off his intensity.
Although not their highest scoring game of the year, Colorado had probably their best full team effort of the season. If they want any chance of pulling off an upset in Austin and getting to the NIT semifinals at MSG, they’ll need to replicate tonight’s performance and find ways to get everyone involved.