Johnson, Bu≠s hosting Fort Hays State
boulder» His return from a season-robbing torn Achilles tendon has been successful for Xavier Johnson.
But through his first 10 games back with the Colorado men’s basketball team, Johnson still is seeking to bring a consistent allaround game to the court.
Of course, consistency has been a teamwide issue for the Buffaloes (7-3). Yet, since an off night during a loss to Colorado State a little more than two weeks ago, Johnson has shown signs of being a more dependable force. It’s a trend he hopes to continue Saturday as the Buffs host Division II Fort Hays State of Kansas at the Coors Events Center.
Johnson said he was bothered by a nerve issues in his shooting arm when he went 1-for-7 with just six points against CSU. In the three games since, he has averaged 18 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 48.6 percent (17for-35) from the floor. Johnson also has gone 6-for-12 on 3-pointers during that span.
“We just want to play our game plan at the end of the day,” Johnson said. “We’re just going to make sure we execute our X’s and O’s, and if we do that we should win. This is a game where if you mess up, you will get pulled.”
In that spirit, CU coach Tad Boyle promised he is “ready to substitute liberally” if the Buffs fail to respond properly against Fort Hays State, which will bring a 7-4 record and a dynamic scorer — Rob Davis, a 5-foot-11 senior guard from Detroit — to the Coors Events Center.
Davis is averaging 24 points per game and shooting 58 percent on field-goal attempts — including 56 percent shooting behind the 3point line. Davis has scored 30 or more points four times this season, including each of the Tigers’ past two games.
“We’ve had guys come into this building and drop 40 on us, so we have to be ready for this guy,” Boyle said. “Fort Hays has great basketball tradition. Anyone that knows anything about college basketball knows Fort Hays State is a good Division II program. Well coached; they’ve had really good players and teams in the past.
“Is it a game we should win? Absolutely. But it’s a team that’s going to come in here and fight. It’s their Super Bowl, and we have to be ready for that.”
CU needs look no further than to last season’s home game against Division II Fort Lewis for a reminder of how such teams always bring their A-game when given an opportunity to take on a Division I power. Fort Lewis trailed the Buffs by only two points at halftime of their meeting last season before CU pulled away in the second half.
Buffs guard Derrick White was on the other end of such matchups several times during his three seasons in Colorado Springs as a Division II star at UCCS, and he knows Fort Hays State will be ready for its opportunity at CU.
“You’re looking forward to that game and you kind of circle it. It’s your opportunity to show you should be a D-I player,” White said, referring to how Division II players approach games such as Saturday’s.