BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Colorado coach Ricardo Patton doesn't mind
his Buffaloes flying under the radar when it comes to the Top 25
rankings. Yet, he's not shy about loudly declaring his team should
go deep in the NCAA tournament.
"I think we are past trying to get into the tournament. We'd
like to get in the tournament and go deep in the tournament,"
Patton said after his team manhandled Nebraska 81-59 Wednesday
Patton has normally been loath to talk about such goals,
especially this early in the season. But with a star like Richard
Roby, who can blame him?
Roby, winner of consecutive Big 12 Player of the Week awards,
continued his hot streak Wednesday night, scoring 30 points,
pulling down seven rebounds, tallying three steals, dishing two
assists and blocking a shot as Colorado (14-3, 4-2 Big 12) won its
third straight conference game.
Roby has averaged 28 points in his last four games.
"He's a great player and has been on a really hot streak. We
got into a little bit of foul trouble so we had to play some zone,
and he scored in different ways," Nebraska coach Barry Collier
said. "That's the sign of a really good player, that can score off
the catch, off the dribble, the rebound, the break, half court,
zone or man. He had a really good night. But he's been doing that
so you know that going in."
Thanks to Roby, the Buffs overcame a horrible first half in
which they shot 29 percent with a 66 percent clip in the second
half that sent the Cornhuskers (12-6, 2-3) to their third
consecutive conference loss.
Patton said he didn't think his proclamation about the NCAA
tournament was premature. After all, there's a buzz in Boulder
about these Buffs. The student section in the crowd of nearly 7,000
was loud and proud, providing Colorado with the kind of homecourt
advantage the Buffaloes are used to seeing opponents own on the
Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn has no problem with
"Obviously, we want to raise the expectations and I thought
tonight was a big part of that," Bohn said as he left the Coors
Events Center after celebrating one of the biggest wins in his
yearlong tenure at the school.
But what about the rankings? Does Patton think his team will
finally get some national recognition now?
"Oh, I don't know and I can honestly tell you we have not spent
a lot of time on that," he said. "I would much rather for us to
be ranked late February as opposed to late January."
The Buffs know they have a long ways to go in order to think of
themselves as one of the nation's top teams, too.
"We got to make free throws," Roby said after the Buffs made
just 15 of 28 foul shots.
And the offense sure could use some more consistency and
"There's room for improvement," Patton said. "But the good
thing about that, there's time for improvement."
Roby said he's not thinking about March Madness right now
anyway. It's more like the January Jitters.
"We know it's a long way away, we still got a lot of games and
if we start thinking about that right now we're going to miss out
on something today," Roby said.
Colorado used a 13-0 run sparked by two 3-pointers from Roby to
turn a five-point lead into a 44-26 advantage with 11:46 left. But
he was content to dish to his teammates during a 13-4 run that
included no points from Roby that pushed Colorado's lead to 62-50
with 5:09 remaining.
Nebraska made one more push, pulling to 69-59 before Patton
responded to Collier's five-guard lineup with one of his own.
Dominique Coleman added 11 points for Colorado, which scored the
final 12 points, including Marcus Hall's rubbing-it-in 3-pointer at
the buzzer, which is sure to rankle Huskers fans for the rematch
Collier certainly wasn't happy about it,
"The game was essentially over," he said. "It's not really in
our hands at that point. We had stopped fouling "
Patton said he couldn't blame Hall for taking the shot, however.
"These are still kids, they really are, they're young adults.
And sometimes they don't think about what that might mean, what
message that might send," Patton said. "And I think these young
men have done too many positive things for me or anyone else to
condemn the team for that shot.
"I probably would have said just hold it, not shoot it, because
we didn't need it. But Marcus may have thought that the clock was
going off and it wouldn't have counted even."
Wes Wilkinson led the 'Huskers with 16 points but had none in
the final five minutes he was on the court before fouling out with
2:27 left and Nebraska trailing 66-54, and Jason Dourisseau added
Aleks Marik was limited to 3 points and sat out the final 15
minutes after feeling the effects of the altitude and a lingering
chest cold, and sophomore Joe McCray, who is averaging 10.4 points,
was held scoreless for the first time in his college career.
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