No. 18 Buffs Top Iona At Home In A Thrilling Game

The No. 18 Colorado Buffaloes men’s basketball team defeated the Iona Gaels 83-80 in a thrilling game at the CU Events Center on Friday. The Buffs improved to 6-0 on the season, while the Gaels fell to 3-2.

The Buffs started the game slowly, trailing by as many as 11 points in the first half. The Gaels were led by senior guard Isaiah Ross, who scored 16 of his game-high 28 points in the first 20 minutes. The Buffs managed to cut the deficit to six points at halftime, 41-35, thanks to a late 7-0 run.

No. 18 Buffs Top Iona At Home In A Thrilling Game
No. 18 Buffs Top Iona At Home In A Thrilling Game

The second half was a different story, as the Buffs came out with more energy and intensity. They quickly erased the gap and took their first lead of the game, 46-45, on a 3-pointer by freshman guard KJ Simpson with 16:34 left. Simpson had a career-high 21 points, along with four rebounds and four assists.

The Buffs extended their lead to as many as 12 points, 71-59, on a layup by sophomore forward Tristan da Silva with 6:32 remaining. Da Silva had 15 points and seven rebounds, while senior guard Eli Parquet added 14 points and four steals.

However, the Gaels did not give up and mounted a furious comeback in the final minutes. They went on a 17-4 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Ross, to tie the game at 75-75 with 1:19 left.

Buffs Seal The Win With Clutch Plays

The Buffs responded with a clutch 3-pointer by junior guard Keeshawn Barthelemy, who came off the bench and scored 11 points. Barthelemy also made two free throws with 13 seconds left to make it 80-77.

The Gaels had a chance to tie the game again, but Ross missed a 3-pointer and Parquet grabbed the rebound. Parquet was fouled and made one of two free throws to make it 81-77 with seven seconds left.

The Gaels still had some hope, as sophomore guard Ryan Myers made a 3-pointer with three seconds left to cut the lead to one, 81-80. However, Barthelemy was fouled again and calmly made both free throws to seal the win for the Buffs, 83-80.

The Buffs celebrated their sixth straight win to start the season, while the Gaels suffered their second loss in a row. The Buffs shot 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range, while the Gaels shot 46 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point range. The Buffs also had a 34-27 advantage in rebounds and a 17-10 edge in points off turnovers.

Buffs Coach Tad Boyle Praises His Team’s Resilience

After the game, Buffs coach Tad Boyle praised his team’s resilience and ability to overcome adversity. He said that the Gaels were a tough opponent and that the Buffs had to fight for every possession.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” Boyle said. “They showed a lot of grit, a lot of toughness, a lot of character. Iona is a really good team. They’re well-coached, they’re experienced, they’re talented. They made us work for everything we got.”

Boyle also credited his players for making big plays down the stretch, especially Barthelemy, who he called “the hero of the game.”

“Keeshawn Barthelemy was phenomenal,” Boyle said. “He made some huge shots, some huge free throws. He was the hero of the game. He came in and gave us a spark when we needed it.”

Boyle also acknowledged that the Buffs still have room for improvement and that they need to learn from their mistakes. He said that the Buffs need to play better defense and avoid turnovers.

“We have to get better defensively,” Boyle said. “We have to take care of the ball better. We had some careless turnovers that led to easy baskets for them. We have to learn from this game and get ready for the next one.”

Buffs To Face No. 15 Florida State In Sunshine Slam Final

The Buffs will face their toughest test of the season so far, as they will take on the No. 15 Florida State Seminoles in the Sunshine Slam final on Sunday at noon (Pac-12 Network). The Seminoles are also undefeated at 5-0 and have won their last two games by double digits.

The Buffs and the Seminoles have met twice before, with the Buffs winning both times. The last meeting was in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, when the Buffs upset the Seminoles 53-49 in the second round.

The Buffs will look to extend their winning streak and claim their first Sunshine Slam title, while the Seminoles will try to snap the Buffs’ streak and win their second Sunshine Slam title. The game promises to be a high-level matchup between two ranked teams with different styles and strengths.

The Buffs will rely on their balanced offense, led by Simpson, da Silva, Parquet, and Barthelemy, as well as their rebounding and defense. The Seminoles will counter with their size, athleticism, depth, and pressure. The Seminoles have four players averaging double figures in scoring, led by senior guard Anthony Polite with 14.4 points per game.

The game will be a test of wills and skills, as both teams will try to impose their identity and tempo on the game. The Buffs will hope to continue their momentum and confidence, while the Seminoles will aim to end the Buffs’ run and prove their dominance.

The game will be a showcase of two of the best teams in the country, and a potential preview of a March Madness matchup. The Buffs and the Seminoles will battle for the Sunshine Slam title and the bragging rights on Sunday.

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