November 10, 2006

Buffs down DU in season opener, 78-64

BOULDER, Colo. - The Buffaloes shot just 35 percent from the field and knocked down only 3-of-14 three-point attempts against the Denver Pioneers in their season opener on Friday night.

But Colorado made up for their shooting woes with an impressive effort on the defensive end. The Buffs forced DU into 23 turnovers and won the rebound margin by 13.

Colorado led the entire game, taking their biggest lead midway through the second half. The Pioneers scored nine of the game's final 11 points but it was too little, too late as they fell, 78-64. CU improves to 11-0 in season openers under Ricardo Patton, who is in his last season at the helm.

"This was a game we certainly won on the defensive end," stated the Buffaloes' head coach following the game. "I was a little surprised myself by our defensive intensity. Of course when you have eight freshmen like we have, you don't always know what to expect. We have guys that are capable of making shots but those shots weren't falling tonight so it was nice to see us put together a great defensive effort."

Junior guard Richard Roby led the Buffs with 20 points, but it was Dominique Coleman's 19 point performance that impressed the 3,776 in attendance. The senior guard shot 9-of-12 from the field, dished out seven assists and grabbed five rebounds.

Coleman led the Junior College ranks in scoring as a sophomore at Hillsborough C.C. in 2004-05. But he struggled to adjust to the D-1A level last season and averaged just 4.4 points per contest.

"A number of things have contributed to Dominique's improvement," Patton said. "Primarily, I think [he has improved] because he is a fifth year senior. He is older and wiser. I think moving him off the point guard position has also freed him up to play and do a lot of different things from the wing."

"Now that I'm on the wing, I just feel more comfortable," Coleman added. "I always knew I could score [at this level] and now I get to show you all."

Sophomore Jermyl Jackson-Wilson had a big debut in the Buffaloes' opener. The Ohio State transfer hauled in 17 rebounds, 11 on the offensive end, to go along with 14 points in 28 minutes.

"He is a high energy guy," Patton said of Jackson-Wilson. "He suffers a bit from asthma and there were a couple times he had to come out because of that, he got a little winded…but his intensity is certainly missed when he is not on the floor. If he can continue to rebound like that, he is going to be a heck of a player considering he has three years to play in the program."

Denver was led by DaShawn Walker, who scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Guards Tyler Bullock and Joseph Jackson each added 15 points for the Pioneers.

CU will play at New Mexico on Tuesday before returning home against Air Force next Saturday.

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