Bu≠s hope to be­come ac­cu­rate in long run

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pat Rooney

boul­der» Sus­tain­ing en­ergy and focus has been among the early-sea­son hur­dles for the Colorado men’s bas­ket­ball team.

While that can be as­cribed to the men­tal part of the game, there were phys­i­cal skills ex­pected to be a given with a deep Buf­faloes team fea­tur­ing an ar­ray of ex­pe­ri­enced, sharp­shoot­ing wing play­ers. Three-point shoot­ing was near the top of that list.

How­ever, the top lon­grange team in the Pac-12 last sea­son has en­dured an upand-down ride from be­yond the arc so far. It’s a once-trusty el­e­ment the Buffs hope to re­gain when they host No. 13 Xavier on Wed­nes­day night at the Coors Events Cen­ter.

“It just comes and goes. And look, ev­ery­body is like that to a cer­tain de­gree,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “Xavier is com­ing in here and Mis­souri took them to over­time. But if they make shots, it’s not even a close game. It sounds aw­ful sim­ple, but there’s more to it that goes into that. Part of it is ex­e­cu­tion. Part of it is screen­ing. Part of it is cut­ting hard.

“That’s why I as a coach I al­ways get back to de­fense and re­bound­ing. I al­ways feel like I can con­trol that. You can’t con­trol of­fen­sively a shot go­ing in or not.”

The Buffs con­nected from 3-point range at a league-lead­ing .389 pace last year but en­ter the Xavier game with a .342 mark. While that per­haps is not a mon­u­men­tal de­cline, once an im­pres­sive 6-for-13 mark from fresh­man Deleon Brown and the 4-for-7 night by now-in­jured guard Dom Col­lier in the sea­son opener are ex­cluded from the equa­tion, the bulk of CU’s reg­u­lars have com­piled a .317 mark on 3-poin­t­ers.

The shoot­ing woes have been a team-wide af­flic­tion. Ge­orge King led the Pac-12 with a .456 mark last year but has dropped to .346 af­ter go­ing 0-for-6 in the past two games. Josh For­tune made two crit­i­cal shots from long range in the se­cond half Satur­day at Port­land, giv­ing him an en­cour­ag­ing 5-for-10 mark over the past three games, but he still sports a .345 per­cent­age af­ter hit­ting at a .385 rate last year.

Sopho­more guard Thomas Akyazili is 0-for-10. And af­ter go­ing 3-for-3 in his CU de­but in the opener, fresh­man for­ward Lu­cas Siew­ert has gone 1-for-8 since.

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