Colorado uses 3-point shooting to cruise past Middle Tennessee, will face Duke next

Middle Tennessee dared Colorado to shoot 3s. The Buffaloes shrugged their collective shoulders and knocked them down.

The No. 6 seed Buffs used a season-high 13 3-pointers to power past MTSU 82-60 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Guard Frida Formann led the way making 5-of-8 3s and scoring a game-high 21 points. Formann said she heard Cameron was a “shooter’s gym,” because of the intimate size and the lighting.

“I think Frida’s exact words were, ‘Well if it’s a shooter’s gym, I’m going to let it fly,’” Colorado coach JR Payne said.

Colorado advanced to face the winner of No. 3 Duke and No. 14 Iona on Monday in the second round.

The 5-foot-11 Formann, who also is a member of Denmark’s national team, erupted in the third quarter going 3-for-3 from behind the arc. Her five 3s tied a season-high set on Jan. 13 against Arizona and helped the Buffs expand a 14-point halftime lead into as many as 30.

“We lost her about three times, bam, bam, bam, she kills us,” MTSU coach Rick Insell said. “We knew she was a great shooter, we just had some players who just lost her.”

Formann helped the Buffs make a season-high 13 3s. It marked just the fifth time this season they made more than 10 in a game and it was the first since they made 11 against Alcorn State on Dec. 16.

MTSU had no answer for Colorado offensively, especially from behind the arc. The Blue Raiders flirted with and barely escaped shooting season-lows going just 4-for-24 from 3-point range. The only game that was worse was when they made only three against Florida Atlantic on Jan. 23 in a game they shot just 13 percent from 3.

They were expecting a physical game from Colorado and they couldn’t match up with their length either. The Buffs had seven offensive rebounds in the second quarter, and 10 overall in the first half, that led to six second chance points.

The Blue Raiders ranked 24th nationally in scoring defense allowing opponents an average of just 56.7 points per game. Colorado kept the ball moving offensively with three players recording five or more assists.

“It was just the way they played us, we just found our shooters wide open,” Formann said. “Even though it’s not maybe something we’ve done a lot before, if that’s what they’re given us, then I think we’re really good at just taking advantage of it.”