BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – Josh Scott takes notes with his right hand, sometimes even with his left.
The Colorado forward shoots jumpers favoring his right hand, but feels just as comfortable driving to the hoop with either.
So, is he ambidextrous?
“I like to say I’m just confused,” he said.
Scott certainly confused Arkansas State as he scored 20 points to help Colorado pull away late from Arkansas State for a 93-70 win on Monday night.
Over the offseason, Scott bulked up for moments like this, when teams had no one to cover the 245-pound sophomore. The Red Wolves (2-2) tried different players on him, but they had no answers for his low-post moves.
“They were single-covering me,” said Scott, who finished one point away from matching his career high of 21 points, which he set last December against Hartford. “If you’re going to give me that, I’m probably going to score.”
And when Scott wasn’t knocking down hook shots with either hand, he was kicking the ball back out to Spencer Dinwiddie, who finished with 13 points as the Buffaloes (4-1) won their fourth straight.
Their inside-out game was working to perfection.
“Josh had a nice night,” coach Tad Boyle said. “You expect your veterans to step up and make some plays and Spencer did tonight.”
The Buffs played their second game without injured forward Xavier Johnson, but freshman George King picked up the slack by scoring 11 points as a reserve off the bench. He entered the game with three points all season.
King knew he was in for a solid game, even telling his roommate, fellow freshman Tre’Shaun Fletcher, as much.
“Told him, ‘I’m going to hit a 3-pointer this game,'” King said.
King did, too – two of them.
“I was locked in during warmups,” King said.
The Red Wolves (2-2) were led by Melvin Johnson III, who finished with 25 points. Brandon Reed scored all 21 of his points in the second half and Kirk Van Slyke had 15 before fouling out with 8:06 remaining.
“We gave them a lot of easy opportunities that we shouldn’t have given them,” Johnson said. “We didn’t get back on defense fast enough.”
Down by 20 points early in the second half, the Red Wolves trimmed the deficit to 60-52 on a jumper from Johnson with 12:40 remaining. That’s as close as they would come as the Buffaloes gradually pulled away and Colorado improved to 48-7 at home under Boyle, including 13-0 in November.
These days, the roaring Coors Events Center is a difficult place to play.
“I want this to be the best home-court advantage in Pac-12,” Boyle said. “Right now, we’re not. We’re probably second behind Arizona. These nonconference games, it’s critical that our fans understand how important they are to our program. … Every game we play is important. Our fans need to understand that and our players need to understand that.”
Xavier Johnson sat out again for the Buffs after being dinged up in practice last week. That led to more playing time for young players such as King.
“I’m starting to know the plays better and I just know what I am doing,” King said. “I feel more comfortable on the court. I’m just having more fun out there and I think that’s the biggest key.”
The Buffaloes took a 5-3 lead on Askia Booker’s scoop shot and never trailed again. They would go on to a 29-12 lead in the first half to gain some separation.
About the only thing that went wrong in the first half for Colorado was when Booker tried to dunk the ball after a steal, only to be rejected by the rim and fall hard to the floor. He quickly got back up and hustled down the floor to play defense.
Johnson (15) and Van Slyke (13) accounted for all of the Red Wolves’ points in the first half as they trailed 46-28. The rest of the team was a combined 0 for 13 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
“Our issue is we can’t get consecutive stops,” Arkansas State coach John Brady said. “We don’t finish a possession by rebounding it and until we get that right, I’m not really concerned about who scores it and who doesn’t score it, or where the scoring is coming from.
“Until we get the mindset to guard, until we get the mindset to rebound together, it’s not going to happen for us – particularly against a team like this.”
– By Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)