CU men's basketball preview: South Dakota Coyotes

TIPOFF: Tuesday, 7 p.m., CU Events Center.

BROADCAST: TV — Pac-12 Network; Radio — 850 AM.

RECORDS: South Dakota 4-3; Colorado 5-1.

COACHES: South Dakota — Todd Lee, 1st season (4-3 at South Dakota and overall); Colorado — Tad Boyle, 9th season (171-111, 227-177 overall)

KEY PLAYERS: South Dakota — F Trey Burch-Manning, Sr., 16.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg; G Triston Simpson, Jr., 13.7 ppg; G Tyler Peterson, Jr., 11.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg. Colorado — G McKinley Wright, So., 14.8 ppg, 6.0 apg; F Lucas Siewert, Jr., 14.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg; F Tyler Bey, So., 11.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg.

NOTES: This will be the first meeting between CU and South Dakota...Coach Todd Lee is a South Dakota graduate who returned to his alma mater this year after serving five years as an assistant at Grand Canyon...Siewert didn't record a double-double in his first 66 games at CU but has reached that mark in consecutive games, recording 18 points and 10 rebounds last week against Portland and adding 16 points and 10 rebounds Saturday against CSU...CU guard D'Shawn Schwartz is trying to shake off a shooting slump. The sophomore is 1-for-9 in the past two games with an 0-3 mark on 3-pointers. After going 2-for-4 on threes in his season-opener against Omaha, Schwartz is 1-for-8 in the three games since.


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..The Coyotes suffered a three-point neutral-court loss against Air Force, a team the Buffs defeated by 37 points on the road on Nov. 24...The Buffs complete a four-game homestand Saturday afternoon against Illinois-Chicago (4 p.m., Pac-12 Network). It will be CU's final home game until a Jan. 10 date against Washington State.

Necessity became the mother of invention late last spring for Deleon Brown.

During that time, Brown was recovering from a broken left hand that sidelined him the final eight games of the 2017-18 season for the Colorado men's basketball team. As a lefty shooter, Brown's options were limited for how he would keep his skill sharp on the floor.

Discerning observers of the first three weeks of the season will note Brown often has attacked the basket far more frequently. And he often does so with his right hand.

While the junior guard still will earn the bulk of his playing time off the bench as one of the Buffaloes' top perimeter defenders, he goes into Tuesday's home date against South Dakota looking to shake off the worst shooting performance of a young season that otherwise has seen Brown make small yet meaningful offensive contributions.

"When I was coming back from my broken hand, all I was doing was right-hand dribbling," Brown said. "That's all I was doing. I'm definitely a lot more comfortable going right than I was prior to the injury."

After staying on the bench for the first game of the season — head coach Tad Boyle termed it a coach's decision, despite Brown also sitting during the exhibition game against Colorado Mines and averaging 21 minutes a game since — Brown returned to go 7-for-13 from the floor and 4-for-8 on 3-pointers in the next four contests.

While Brown struggled to a 1-for-7 mark during Saturday's home win against Colorado State, he nonetheless remained on the floor for 23 and a half minutes as Boyle made frequent offensive-defensive substitutions down the stretch. Brown's defensive prowess doesn't necessarily jump off the stat page (he has one steal in five games) but when the Buffs need a stop, or Boyle wants to slow a hot perimeter shooter, Brown's number typically is called.

"Deleon Brown, I trust him on defense. Bottom line," Boyle said. "His offense will come, his offense will go. He was 1-for-7 against Colorado State but he really helped us defensively. He was on the floor late in the game because I trust Del defensively. Hopefully he's not going to go 1-for-7 every night, but as long as he takes good shots he'll be fine."

While the Buffs have lit up the scoreboard to the tune of 90.2 points per game in their five wins, Tuesday's game profiles more like CU's lone loss, a 70-64 setback two weeks ago at San Diego. South Dakota's deliberate style has the Coyotes averaging just 67.7 points per game, with their opponents averaging 61.1. South Dakota also is forcing 15.7 turnovers per game and holding its opposition to a .301 mark on 3-pointers.

"They don't have great size, but they make up for it by really being in the gaps, and they stop dribble penetration pretty well," Boyle said. "They double the post, so we're going to have to be ready for that. Their (opponents) are turning the ball over a lot more than they're assisting the ball. So we have to take what they'll give us. We may not be able to get the ball in the paint on our first action. We might have to get second and third actions to get the ball in there.

"That's what South Dakota is good at, taking away that initial action. But if we can get them in rotations and make the extra pass and share the ball, we can get great shots."

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07