It’s February 21st. The Buffs are 7-8 and find themselves out of contention for a top 4 seed in the Pac-12. After a road trip that resulted in consecutive losses, and with 3 remaining games left in the season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Buffs fold the envelope and mail it in. On Wednesday night, however, the players of the University of Colorado set aside the past and threw every weapon they could at the USC Trojans. However, the young Buffs squad came up short with a final score of 75-64.
Despite ending the first half down by 5 points, the Buffs had established a rapid pace in their offense with solid ball-movement and hitting shots from the perimeter. Offensively, it was evident that Colorado could hold their own against USC. However, any team can only sink so many 3 pointers.
With help from their bench, Colorado responded well after the half with a 14-0 scoring run that put them ahead 52-50. #23 Lucas Siewert led the charge with back to back 3 pointers before converting a lay-up and 1. Unfortunately for the Buffs, USC maintained their composure and played to their strengths.
“I don’t know how much we were down, but we got back into the game, and we just couldn’t close it out,” said Siewert.
From there on, Trojan forward Chimezie Metu figured it was an appropriate night to put on a clinic of how to score in the post. The Buffs simply did not have an answer for him. If anything, the Buffs focused all attention on him which allowed USC guard, Jordan McLaughlin, to find his rhythm beyond the arc. USC continued to chip away as the Buffs failed to score a single point for an entire 7 minutes.
On their defensive performance, CU Head Coach Tad Boyle said, “Our defense was not good enough tonight. We got some stops, but we couldn’t get rebounds.”
Turn-overs. Along with giving up offensive rebounds, this has been an unfortunate theme for this young Buffs squad throughout the season. The Trojans exposed this weakness as they forced 8 turnovers in the second half.
With less than 10 minutes left in the game, the desperation to score resulted in a predictable and easily defendable Colorado offense. Nearly every possession for the Buffs in the latter part of the second half was halted by the Trojans. Point Guard McKinley Wright, would bring the ball up and call a play, only to pass and dribble with no open shot in sight. Only until the shot-clock was down to 8 did the Buffs approach the basket. Colorado seemed to wait for mental errors by USC rather than putting on the pressure and forcing them to make mistakes.
The Buffs will look to redeem a hard-fought season this Sunday, at 2 PM, with their final home game against the UCLA Bruins. This will be one of the last opportunities for Colorado to address their flaws before the Pac-12 tournament that takes place in March.