Jan. 18—It will be a homecoming of sorts for one of the unsung heroes of Oregon's unexpectedly fast start in Pac-12 Conference play, Brennan Rigsby.
A Colorado native and former small school standout on the Western Slope from De Beque, Rigsby once attended youth basketball camps at Colorado but is emerging as a dependable long-range threat for Oregon, which visits CU for a Pac-12 Conference battle on Thursday night (8:30 p.m., FS1).
Rigsby helped lead De Beque to the Class 1A state championship in 2019 but finished his prep career at Wasatch Academy in Utah. He spent one season at the junior college level at Northwest Florida State College before landing at Oregon.
Rigsby averaged 4.2 points in 21 games during an injury-shortened season last year, but he enters Thursday's game averaging 8.6 points with a .462 3-point percentage (24-for-52). Rigsby played a key role in Oregon's road sweep of the Washington schools two weeks ago, going 3-for-4 on 3-pointers at Washington before going 7-for-9 overall (4-for-5 on 3-pointers) with 18 points at Washington State.
Rigsby has played in all 16 games with 11 starts.
"He's an athletic, sneaky athletic guy that's got bounce," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "He can shoot the ball. He can create his own shot. He can get to his mid-range and elevate. You look at his numbers, he's shooting the ball well. They have multiple weapons from three, and he's one of them for sure.
"Any one of their guys could go off for 20 on any given night. I'm not coaching the Oregon team, I'm coaching the Colorado team, but (Rigsby) seems to be an x-factor for them in the sense that when he plays well, it's that kind of extra boost that they need to get over the hump to win games. He's a good player."
Rigsby started last year's game in Boulder for the Ducks, going 4-for-10 overall and 0-for-3 on 3-pointers with eight points in 30 minutes.
Former CU guard Keeshawn Barthelemy is in his second season at Oregon, but he is set to make his first appearance with the Ducks at the Events Center after missing Oregon's loss in Boulder last year while sidelined by an injury. Barthelemy did play against the Buffs later in the season during an Oregon win in Eugene, going 5-for-7 overall and 3-for-4 on 3-pointers with 13 points off the bench.
Barthelemy, who missed two games due to injury early this season, is coming off one of his better games of the season, as he went 5-for-7 overall and 2-for-4 on 3-pointers with 12 points during a win on Saturday against California. Given his injury absence in Boulder last year, Barthelemy's last game at the Events Center was during a Buffs loss against St. Bonaventure in the first round of the NIT on March 15, 2022. It was a strong CU farewell for Barthelemy, who went 6-for-7 with three 3-pointers and 15 points.
The Buffs also faced a former teammate earlier this year in Nique Clifford, now starting at Colorado State.
"That's my guy, just like (Clifford's) my guy," CU wing Luke O'Brien said. "Obviously we're going to battle and he's going to play hard, too. I know he wants to come in here and play hard. This is his first time to play here so I know he's going to be excited."
Chasing home history
CU is 10-0 at home, and a win against the Ducks would give the Buffs their first 11-0 home start since the 2013-14 season, and their third in 14 seasons under Boyle.
That 2013-14 team did the bulk of its damage during that unbeaten start against an underwhelming nonconference home slate that included UT Martin, Jackson State, Arkansas State, and Elon. However, that opening run also included Askia Booker's memorable long-range runner that took down Kansas at the buzzer on Dec. 7, 2013. The 2013-14 squad ran its home record to 11-0 with a win against, fittingly, Oregon on Jan. 5, 2014 before losing the next home game against UCLA.
The Chauncey Billups-led 1996-97 team finished 13-1 at home, but was just 8-0 before suffering the lone home loss against Kansas. The 2002-03 NCAA Tournament team finished 14-1 at home, but lost its third home game before winning the final 12 in a row. Boyle's first CU team in 2010-11 also started 11-0 at home before losing against Kansas.
CU has had only one 12-0 start at home in program history, by the Big Eight championship 1968-69 squad which finished 12-0 at home.
The Buffs stood at No. 43 in Thursday's NET rankings and began the day at No. 36 at KenPom.com. Oregon is No. 50 in the NET and No. 52 at KenPom. ... Oregon is 1-11 all-time at Colorado, posting that lone win two years ago. However, the Ducks technically have not yet defeated a Boyle-coached team in Boulder. That Oregon win two years ago featured CU associate head coach Mike Rohn running the team while Boyle was absent due to a bout with COVID. ... In seven career games against Oregon, CU forward Tristan da Silva has gone 9-for-12 on 3-pointers, including a 6-for-7 mark in the two games last year. ... Jenny Cavnar and Casey Jacobsen will call the game on FS1.