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Sustainable Excellence Initiative
CU junior guard Cory Higgins
MBB to Begin Season Friday
Release: November 12, 2009
By: Andrew Green, Assistant SID
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ABOUT ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF: Head Coach George Ivory enters his second season (13-18 last year) and the Lions return all five starters from a year ago. The Lions won 11 SWAC games and finished fourth overall. Point-guard  Terrance Calvin (12.0 ppg., 5.5 rpg., 3.6 apg) and power forward Tyree Glass (8.3 ppg., 4.4 rpg.) top the team in returners. CU defeated Ark.-Pine Bluff in the season opener for both schools last year, 76-56. In that game, returning forward Lebaron Weathers (7.3 ppg., 5.5 rpg.) recorded 22 points and 10 rebounds.

AGAINST THE LIONS: CU is 2-0 all-time against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, while Coach Bzdelik is 3-0 overall. Last season, CU placed four players in double figures with Casey Crawford (14 pts.), Cory Higgins and Nate Tomlinson with 12 each, and Austin Dufault chipping-in 13 points. The Buffs shot 51.9 percent for the game; 50 percent or better in both halves; however,  were out-rebounded 38-31. CU made 10 treys with Tomlinson making four.

vs. ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF LIONS (13-18, 11-7 SWAC)     

• Date: Friday, Nov. 13, 2009          

• Tipoff: 7:05 p.m.

• Location: Coors Events Center (11,064) • Boulder, Colo.

• Radio: 760-AM

• CU Radio: Mike Rice (p-by-p), Ceal Barry (analyst)

• Television: none

• Internet Radio and Live Stats: Available at

• Series vs. Arkansas-PB:  CU leads 2-0 (last meeting:

Nov. 14, 2008, CU 76-56)

• Complete Notes Attached

Colorado Probable Starters (2008-09 Totals)

Pos/NoPlayer                                      Ht      Wt     Yr     Hometown                        PPG     RPG   APG

G     1      Nate Tomlinson                 6-3     185   So.    Sydney, Australia              7.4     2.6       3.0

G   11     Cory Higgins                        6-5     190   Jr.      Danville, Calif.                  17.4     5.4       2.6

G   12     Dwight Thorne II              6-3     185   Sr.     Arlington, Texas             12.0     3.4       1.7

F      5      Marcus Relphorde           6-7     220   Jr.      Chicago, Ill.                                 -     -            -       

F    33     Austin Dufault                    6-9     230   So.    Killdeer, N.D.                        8.2     3.7       1.0


F     34     Casey Crawford                  6-9     245   Jr.      Overland Park, Kan.         5.5     1.7       0.6

F    35      Keegan Hornbuckle       6-7     205   Fr.     Westlake Village, Calf.         -     -            -


ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF Probable Starters (2008-09 Totals)

Pos/NoPlayer                                      Ht      Wt     Yr     Hometown                        PPG     RPG   APG

G   14      Terrance Calvin                 6-2     170   Sr.     Clarksdale, Miss.              12.0     5.5       3.6

G   22      George Davis                      6-5     210   Sr.     Vaiden, Miss.                        3.5     3.1       0.1

F    35      Lebaron Weathers           6-8     245   Sr.     Hattiesburg, Miss.             7.3     5.5       0.5

F    44      Tyree Glass                           6-7     220   Sr.     Fort Wayne, Ind.                 8.3     4.4       0.8

C    34     Terry Tidwell                       6-8     230   Fr.     Conway, Ark.                              -     -            -


G 15       Allen Smith                          5-10  170   Jr.      Pine Bluff, Ark.                          -     -            -

G  23     Savalace Townsend            6-2   160 So.     Long Beach, Miss.               6.3   3.1    1.7

Admission for Friday's game against the Lions is $1 for an Adult & CU Student with FREE admission for kids 13 & under wearing CU colors. There will also be FREE Nike CU Basketball t-shirts for CU Student Sports Pass Holders. 

All students will have a chance to win a $200 Apple gift card. 

For the remainder of the non-conference schedule (both men's & women's games), adult admission will be only $5, and all kids 13 & under are FREE, if they are wearing CU colors.

NEW UNIFORMS: The 2009-10 season marks the first time in 18 years the Colorado men's basketball team will don new home uniforms. This season's new look will be silver, a first since the 1990-91 season under first-year head coach Joe Harrington. The CU team wore black and silver for both home and away games.

ENTERING 2009-10: This will be the third year of head coach Jeff Bzdelik and his staff. Here's a brief synopsis who and what is returning for the 2009-10 season:

     Starters Returning/lost: 4/1

     Top Returning Scorer: Cory Higgins 17.4 ppg.

     Top Rebounder: Cory Higgins 5.4 rpg.

     Top Returning FG Shooter: Dwight Thorne II 48.1%

     Top Returning FT% Shooter: Cory Higgins 83.0%                             

     Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 9/3

HOME OPENERS: Colorado under coach Bzdelik is 1-1 in season openers. CU defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff last year, 76-56, and the previous year, lost to New Mexico, 54-47. In season openers in the Big 12 era (since 1996), the Buffaloes are 12-1. At home they are 9-1; on the road, 2-0; and on neutral courts, 1-0.

FRESHMAN STARTERS: In his first two years, Coach Bzdelik has started at least one freshman in the starting line up on opening night. Cory Higgins started his first game (Nov. 9, 2007) with a 10-point, five rebound, three assist performance against New Mexico; and last year, Austin Dufault (13 pts.) and Nate Tomlinson (12 pts.) started against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

OUT FOR SEASON: Freshman guard Shannon Sharpe will miss the 2009-10 basketball season with season-ending knee surgery after injuring his left knee during pre-season workouts. Sharpe successfully had a microfracture procedure. Sharpe, a 6-1, 200-pound guard from Corona, Calif. is one of four true freshmen on the 2009-10 roster. He will be medically redshirted.

    "Shannon's injury has been difficult for all of us to deal with because our strong feelings for him as a terrific young man and for what he would have meant to our effectiveness as a team for this season," Bzdelik said. "However, he will come back even stronger for next season and that bodes well for our future. It is now up to others to contribute more, and I strongly believe in my players to rise to the occasion."

    Sharpe, who did not play high school basketball last season, spent a prep year at Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina. He was a standout at Centennial High School in California where he averaged 17.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 3.2 steals per game in 2007-08 helping Centennial to a 27-5 record during his senior season.

    The Division 2 all-California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) and all-Riverside County first-team selection during his senior year, Sharpe recorded four top-five Mountain View League finishes in points (2nd), assists (1st) and steals (1st), rebounds (4th).

DEFENDING THE OPPOSITION (Scoring Defense): In the last two years under Coach Bzdelik, CU's defense has allowed the opposition an average of 66 points per game (67.5: 2008-09; 64.4: 2007-08). That two-year total ranks only second to the 1980-81 season (64.5 ppg.) and 1979-80 (67.3 ppg.). Those two years averaged out to 65.9 ppg.

Big 12 Age Averages: With only one senior on the  Colorado roster men's team is the second youngest school in the Big 12 Conference. The following breakdown is courtesy of Mike Noteware of Oklahoma State. These averages are as of Oct. 15, 2009.

Team                   Yrs    Months     Days      Experience

Oklahoma St.    19           11           25           1.1

Colorado             20           2             20           1.3

Iowa State          20           3             27           1.3

Oklahoma           20          4             1             1.2

Missouri              20           5             23           1.3

Texas A&M          20         6              0             1.4

Baylor                  20           6             6             1.1

Kansas                  20           6             26           1.2

Kansas State       20          7             15           1.3

Texas                    20           8             24           1.6

Nebraska            20           9             14           1.3

Texas Tech         20          11           14           1.8

    The "experience" category basically is the average number of years the members of the team have been playing (i.e. A senior is given a 3, a junior a 2, a sophomore a 1 and a freshman a 0). The findings did not take into account redshirt years, and it's obviously not based on Division I experience, since a juco transfer would be assigned a 2 just like a third-year junior. Missouri's Tyler Stone is the youngest player in the Big 12 (born Sept. 8, 1991), while Brady Morningstar of Kansas is the oldest (born Jan. 23, 1986).

MORE DEFENSE: In the 62 years since defensive stats were kept, the CU men's basketball team under coach Bzdelik have registered both of his seasons in the top-20 of fewest points allowed.

In his first season (2007-08), the Buffaloes held the opposition 64.4 points per game (12th overall), and last year, CU allowed 67.5, which ranks 20th all-time.

1948-49              47.8 (1)

1947-48              49.8 (2)

1949-50              54.5 (3)

1950-51              55.7 (4)

1962-63              59.6 (5)

1958-59              60.8 (6)

1957-58              61.1 (7)

1961-62              61.4 (8)

1959-60              61.5 (9)

1951-52              62.4 (10)

1954-55              62.7 (11)

2007-08            64.4 (12)

1980-81              64.5 (13)

1956-57              65.4 (14)

1955-56              65.4 (15)

1964-65              66.1 (16)

1966-67              66.2 (17)

1978-79              66.9 (18)

1979-80              67.3 (19)

2008-09            67.5 (20)

Defense through the yearS): In his six years as a collegiate coach and two-plus seasons in the NBA, head coach Jeff Bzdelik has installed playing defense as a major part of the game. Here's a look at his teams over the years. His 2005-06 season at Air Force was a nation's best in scoring defense of all 970 collegiate schools in Division I (326), D-II (265), and D-III (379).

1986-87   UMBC                              70.1 ppg. (28 games)

1987-88   UMBC                              78.0 (28 games)

2002-03   Denver (NBA)             #92.4 (82 games)

2003-04   Denver (NBA)             96.1 (82 games)

2004-05   Denver (NBA)             97.4 (28 games)

2005-06   USAFA                             *54.7 (31 games)

2006-07   USAFA                             **56.0 (35 games)

2007-08   Colorado                        ^64.4 (32 games)

2008-09   Colorado                        **67.5 (31 games)

* - nation's best     ** - runner up nationally (Princeton 53.3)

^ - lowest in CU history 46 years; 12th all-time at CU

# - franchise record (shattering mark by more than five points)

** ranks 20th in school history

CAPTAINS NAMED: University of Colorado men's basketball head coach Jeff Bzdelik announced Wednesday that senior Dwight Thorne II and junior Cory Higgins were named captains for the upcoming 2009-10 season. Both earned the honor for the second straight year.

    Thorne II, the lone senior on the team, enters his senior campaign coming off his best season-to-date finishing second in team scoring (12.0 ppg.), steals (35), made field goals (128) and made free throws (70). He was the team leader with 45 3-pointers.

    Thorne, a native of Arlington, Texas, was also selected one of 10 NCAA Division I student-athletes to participate on an Athletes In Action (AIA) team last summer against teams in Poland and Germany.

    Higgins, originally from Danville, Calif., also enters the new season after a stellar sophomore campaign that earned him an All-Big 12 Conference third team selection. Higgins was also associated with elite company last year as one of 13 players nationally ranked first or second on their team in five major statistical categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks). He was the only sophomore on that list.

    In addition to averaging a team-best 17.4 points per game in 2008-09, Higgins enters his junior year 196 points shy of scoring 1,000 and becoming the 26th player  in CU men's history to tally that many in a career.

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