Colorado Buffaloes men’s basketball knocks off No. 11 Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The same names were on the backs of the Colorado jerseys. But this was a much different squad than the one that began its five-game road trip two nights earlier.

And it wasn’t just about the lineup for the Colorado men’s basketball team. Head coach Tad Boyle decided to send a message after Friday’s ugly loss at Grambling State by juggling his starting lineup. It was hardly a unique tactic, but Boyle decided to turn to four bench players who had never before started for the Buffaloes to set the tone in hostile territory against the Tennessee 11.

The plan worked to perfection.

Less than 48 hours after an ugly loss at Grambling State, CU pulled off a stunner on Sunday afternoon on a not-so-neutral floor, upsetting No. 11 Tennessee 78-66 in front of a disappointed pro-Volunteers crowd at Bridgestone Arena.

It was the highest-ranked opponent the Buffs have defeated on a neutral floor since upsetting sixth-ranked Missouri in the 1990 Big Eight Tournament.

“I just felt like we had to send a message to the guys starting the game that they have a responsibility to bring energy and be ready to roll,” Boyle said. “Because we have quality depth on this team. It was also a message to the guys on the bench that hey, you better be ready. And I thought the guys that started the game, in the (first) media timeout we were Right there.

“We have a 10-guy rotation right now, and it’s hard to play 10 guys. But I thought it was a message that I sent both to the guys that are starting the game and the guys that are on the bench that we are All equally important and we have to be ready to go every time we step on the floor. Really proud of how they respond.”

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It was a stirring win that erased much of the bad taste left behind in Grambling, but one that was hardly without its flaws.

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