After receiving a dose of reality to start conference play earlier this month, wildly inconsistent Colorado appears back on track in advance of a meeting against visiting North Alabama on Thursday at Boulder, Colo.
Colorado will enter off a 93-65 victory last Thursday against in-state rival Colorado State when KJ Simpson led the way with 27 points. The Buffaloes (5-5) shot 56.7 percent from the field in the game and 63.6 percent in the second half when they put away the victory.
"Now we have to build on this," Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle said. "We have to show some consistency. This is a time for us to get better."
Simpson leads the Buffaloes with 17.3 points and 3.4 assists per game, while Tristan da Silva has averaged 12.3 points. J'Vonne Hadley scores 10.3 points per game with a team-best 7.5 rebounds.
Despite their break-even record, Colorado does have quality victories over previously No. 11 Tennessee, 78-66 on Nov. 13, and former No. 24 Texas A&M, 103-75 on Nov. 18. But in a brief dip into Pac-12 play earlier this month, Colorado was upended 60-59 at home against Arizona State and fell 73-63 at Washington.
The visit from North Alabama is one of three remaining nonconference games for Colorado.
"We showed how good this team can be," Boyle said after the victory over Colorado State. "Our defensive intensity and energy level was off the charts."
North Alabama (6-4) is on a two-game winning streak, earning a 71-63 victory over Alabama State on Dec. 7. Damian Forrest scored 20 points with 11 rebounds -- both career highs -- while the Lions held a 48-31 rebounding advantage.
In back-to-back contests against high-level competition late last month, North Alabama came away with a pair of 19-point defeats against Georgia Tech and Memphis. The visit to Colorado comes before a trip to Ole Miss on Tuesday.
Daniel Ortiz leads North Alabama with 13.7 points per game. Forrest, who averages 10.7 points and a team-best 6.7 rebounds, will make a homecoming after attending high school in Fort Collins, Colo.
--Field Level Media
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