Colorado handles Air Force 81-70
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — It happened quickly in a tussle on the floor over a loose ball.
Air Force’s Hayden Graham was in the scrum wrestling for the ball with Colorado’s Tory Miller, when he felt the sting of a bite on his shoulder during the second half of Colorado’s 81-70 win over Air Force on Wednesday night.
Josh Scott scored 21 points and Josh Fortune added a season high 18 to help Colorado (4-1) roll to a sixth consecutive win over Air Force, but much of the post-game attention focused on the tussle that left Graham’s right shoulder reddened with a bite mark and Miller ejected with 12:25 left to play for a flagrant-2 foul.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in 16 years of basketball,” Graham said. “He wanted to take a bite. It almost broke the skin. That’s an interesting cat right there.”
Graham got up and told the officials what happened. They checked the replay and looked at Graham’s shoulder before ejecting Miller from the game.
Miller was not available for comment after the game.
Colorado coach Tad Boyle said he had not had a chance to view the replay and does not have a clear picture of what happened beyond the explanation he received from the officials.
“They saw something. The Air Force player said something and they felt like they confirmed it, and they booted him,” Boyle said. “We’ll deal with it.”
Boyle also spoke up in defense of Miller.
“Tory’s a great kid,” Boyle said. “I’m not talking about a good kid. Tory’s a great kid. He’s an emotional player, he’s a competitive player and he needs to learn to keep his emotions and those competitive juices in check.”
George King added 16 points for Colorado.
Zach Moer had 13 points to lead Air Force (3-2). Zach Kocur added 12 points and Graham finished with 11.
Up by 16 at the break, Colorado opened the second half the same way it closed the first half, on a tear.
Fortune, George King and Thomas Akyazili all connected from beyond the arc during a 17-7 surge that carried the Buffaloes to a 63-37 lead with just over 15 minutes left to play.
Colorado had the game well in hand with 12:25 left to play when Miller was ejected, and the Buffaloes maintained a double digit lead the rest of the way.
After Kyle Broekhuis drained a 3-pointer to pull Air Force within five points, Colorado outscored the Falcons 15-3 over the last 5:21 of the first half to take a 46-30 lead.
Fortune hit two 3-pointers, Brett Brady added another and Scott had a slam during the stretch.
Air Force: Sophomore F Ryan Manning left the game late in the first half with an apparent right knee injury. He did not return. ... The Falcons are still looking for their first road win. They are 0-2 away from home.
Colorado: Scott had seven rebounds and boosted his career total to 736, moving ahead of Vince Kelley (730) for sixth on Colorado’s all-time list.
Air Force: Hosts New Mexico State on Saturday.
Colorado: Hosts Northern Colorado on Sunday.