BOULDER - Freshman forward Josh Scott scored a team-high 14 points, while sophomore guards Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie chipped-in 13 points each leading the University of Colorado men's basketball team to 74-59 season-opening victory over Wofford Friday night at the Coors Events Center.
The Buffaloes improved to 30-3 in home openers at the Coors Events Center, including a string of five straight with three of those under head coach Tad Boyle.
Prior to the game, the Buffs celebrated the team's 2011-12 Pac-12 Conference Championship, with the unveiling of an engraved sandstone edifice hanging in the south end of the Coors Events Center.
"We took this opportunity to showcase our first Pac-12 championship in basketball in a unique way, one that marries itself to what Boulder is all about," CU athletic director Mike Bohn said. "Incorporating the Flatirons, which of course were here before anything else, with the sandstone that distinguishes our campus in an unparalleled presentation within the beauty of Boulder itself. This speaks to a rock solid foundation, our tradition, as well as the future of CU athletics."
It was sight to be seen as the Buffaloes were also treated to a record crowd of 10,611, the largest number of fans to see a CU men's basketball opener. It was also the 10th sellout in the three years of the Boyle program (8-2 in those games) and the third largest non-conference attended game.
The Buffaloes improved to an impressive 33-4 under Boyle at the Events Center and were never threatened in the game, opening their largest lead of the first half of 12 points with 10:05 remaining. Booker tallied 11 of his 13 points in the first half.
"There are some things we can build on from a positive standpoint; there is obviously a lot of room for improvement as well," said CU head coach Tad Boyle. "I don't think people respect Wofford like they should; Mike Young is an excellent coach he has been there for 24 years. He coaches the heck out of them."
"Overall, I thought our guys really tried to execute; there were times where the team played hard even though we had some break downs and Wofford again was one of those teams that when we broke down they made us pay; they had some really good players. I think the players that really stood out to me for them were (Karl) Cochran, (Spencer) Collins, and (Lee) Skinner); those kids were warriors."
Boyle also announced at the post-game press conference that freshmen forward Wesley Gordon and freshman guard Chris Jenkins would be red-shirted during their initial season.
"I think it says a lot about the players we have in our program and I think those are mature decisions, they are long term decisions, not short term decisions," Boyle said. It looks well for our program down the road I promise you, because they are good players. It is something we talked about it, but it was their decision.
"Wesley Gordon has the chance to be a first team All-Pac-12 player, I really believe that when it is all said and done here at Colorado. You look at a guy like Xavier Talton, tonight he played ten minutes, there is only so many minutes to go around. I know Spencer, Ski, and Andre are going to play a lot of minutes, and I think Josh and Sab are right there too, so there is only so many sub minutes to go around. So we had that discussion and I told them that if you can turn the clock ahead four years, you are going to get that fifth year back."
In the second half, CU started on a 13-5 run gaining a 47-28 lead. The Buffaloes would reach their largest lead of the game of 23 points after a made free throw by sophomore forward Andre Roberson (7 points, 6 rebounds) pushing the score 71-48.
CU shot 44.7 percent from the field for the game, while making 28-of-36 free throws (77.8%). Wofford only went to free line twice (2-of-2) and made 36.1 percent of its shots.
Four Colorado freshmen - Xavier Johnson, Josh Scott, Eli Stalzer, and Xavier Talton - played in their first career game as Buffaloes, all contributing valued efforts.
Of the foursome, Scott produced the most impressive performance. The 6-10 forward from Monument, Colo., also grabbed six rebounds, as he started his first career game in a CU uniform. Of Scott's 14 points, 10 of them came from the free throw line as the freshman was nearly perfect at the foul stripe making 10-of-11.
Fellow freshman, Xavier Johnson led the team in rebounds collecting eight. The talented wing player from Los Angeles, Calif. also added five points in his debut. Stalzer chipped-in five points, and Talton played 10 minutes in a reserve role with two points and a rebound. Senior guard Sabatino Chen made his first career start as a Buff scoring nine points.
Karl Cochran scored 22 points to lead Wofford, playing the first of seven straight games away from home to start the season. Spencer Collins added 16 points for the Terriers, who began the season with seven freshmen on their roster.
CU travels to the Charleston Classic next week (Nov. 15, 16, 18) and will play the Dayton Flyers in the opening round. Game time is 10:30 a.m. (MST) and can be seen on ESPN3.