Colorado 72, Charleston 57
BOULDER, Colo. (AP)—Colorado’s coaches were excited about the talents of freshman Richard Roby.
It’s easy to see why.
Roby led Colorado’s balanced scoring with 19 points, helping the Buffaloes beat the College of Charleston 72-57 Monday night in the first round of the preseason NIT.
Roby showed plenty of flash and dash, breaking out for dunks, creating room for his jumper and setting up his teammates in his debut. He added eight rebounds and shot 7-for-11, including a 3-pointer from the corner with 5 minutes left after Charleston cut the lead to 63-55.
“I had my shot,” Roby said. “I took advantage of what the defense gave me. I had the open looks and took the shot. Hitting my first 3-pointer relaxed me, it got me going.”
Colorado lost top four scorers and rebounders from a year ago, including 7-foot center David Harrison. The Buffaloes seem intent on making up for the losses by spreading it around.
While Roby was wheeling and dealing all over the place, Julius Ashby had his way inside for 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Jayson Obazuaye provided a steady presence at the point, chipping in 10 points and five assists. Glean Eddy added eight points and eight rebounds and the Buffaloes combined for 12 blocked shots.
The Buffaloes weren’t too bad on defense, forcing the Cougars into tough shots and preventing them from getting out on the break. Colorado moves on to face Michigan in the second round on Wednesday.
“We picked it up defensively in the second half, particularly in transition where we cut down their easy baskets,” Colorado coach Ricardo Patton said.
Charleston struggled offensively in the first half and was even worse to start the second, settling for long jumpers and off-balance shots in the lane. The Cougars didn’t have a field goal until Robert Swain hit a 3-pointer from the corner 4:05 in and missed 12 of their first 13 shots.
Colorado was much more efficient, working the ball around the perimeter and cutting down the lane to create open jumpers, backdoor layups and dunks. The Buffaloes shot 6-of-11 to open the second half, expanding a five-point halftime lead to 54-41 midway through.
Josh Jackson had 12 points to lead Charleston, which shot 26 percent and was 4-for-26 on 3-pointers.
“We lost momentum out of the gates the second half, the first five minutes, and then you’re digging uphill,” Charleston coach Tom Herrion said. “I thought we went away from our success early on, which was going inside. We became a perimeter jump-shooting team way too much.”
It was the season opener for both teams, which was apparent in the early going with all the bad turnovers and defensive breakdowns.
The shooting wasn’t too good, either.
Colorado rallied from a poor start to hit 15-of-36 shots for a 38-33 halftime lead. Charleston started off badly and didn’t get any better, shooting just 34 percent for the half. The Cougars tried to go inside without much success and weren’t much better from the outside, hitting just 2-of-10 from 3-point range.
“We knew that they had the ability to change shots in the lane and that didn’t surprise us at all,” Herrion said. “We didn’t react and finish well and I’m disappointed with the loss. I didn’t think we played as well as we needed to, but I think we got better from it.”