Life is a lot different as the hunted than the hunter and that’s something the Colorado basketball team found out the hard way Tuesday night.
Colorado survived a big time scare from a 1-5 Texas Southern team as they squeaked by in double overtime 85-80. This wasn’t the only time the Tigers gave Colorado a scare as the Buffs barely beat them last year in Boulder 56-51.
It’s usually the Buffs that are the team providing the upset alert but the roles were reversed as the Tigers came into Boulder to halt Colorado’s best start since 1989. The undefeated Buffs were sluggish from the very start and had to withstand a lights-out first half shooting performance from TSU and Omar Strong.
Colorado used a quick second half start to regain the lead but it was a back-and-forth affair all the way into the second overtime where Colorado finally seized control and eventually held off Strong’s amazing 39 point performance to seal the deal from the free throw line.
It was an unusually poor defensive performance from Colorado who stresses defense and rebounding but neither was up to par against the Tigers. Texas Southern finished the game shooting 39% but they also brought in 14 offensive rebounds against a much bigger Colorado front line. Colorado’s leading rebounder Andre Roberson finished with 12 rebounds but fouled out in regulation and missed both overtimes, which really hurt the Buffs on the boards.
If not for solid free throw shooting (33-44, 75%), something Colorado lacked in some of their previous games, they would have lost this game. However, after their historically poor free-throw shooting against Baylor in the Charleston Classic, Colorado players began shooting at least 100 FT’s each day after practice and it paid off. Spencer Dinwiddie had a career high 23 points with help from a 15-of-17 shooting performance from the charity stripe.
With the start that Colorado got off to through five games it was easy to overlook just how young this team is with only one senior and a majority-underclassmen rotation. Colorado’s age showed against the Tigers and it almost cost them but the mark of a good team is to win even when they are not playing their best and that’s what they did Tuesday night.
At the end of the day Colorado is still undefeated at 6-0 but a game like that can go a long way towards the progression of a young squad like Colorado. It’s something they can look back on when they are in similar situations in the future and say we succeeded before why not again?
But if I were Tad Boyle I would just take the win, burn the tapes and move on. Also I would avoid scheduling Texas Southern in the future seeing that their combined wins over the past two years were only by ten points.
David LaRose is one of the featured College Basketball writers for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado. He’s also a member of the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association of America. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.