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The past two games for CU men’s basketball have come down to the wire, including the most recent game on Sunday. This time however, the outcome was not as lucky.
The Buffs fell to the Wyoming Cowboys 76-73 on Sunday afternoon at the Coors Events Center in front of 2,288 fans. Leading the way for the Buffs was sophomore forward Jermyl Jackson-Wilson. Jackson-Wilson had 16 points to go along with 14 rebounds. CU’s standout guard Richard Roby tallied 16 points as well but was just 5-16 from the field.
In the first half, senior Dominique Coleman hit a three-pointer with 11 minutes left to put the Buffs up 19-11. Wyoming responded in turn thanks to the help of its sophomore guard Brandon Ewing, orginally from Chicago. Ewing, who entered the game as the Mountain West Conference’s second leading scorer, hit two of his game-high six 3-pointers in a couple of minutes to tie the game at 19. He finished with 29 points and three assists.
Wyoming went into the half with a one point lead over the Buffs. CU managed to keep it close in the second half despite shooting just 43 percent from the field. Keeping CU in the game for much of the second half were Roby and Coleman, with a combined 22 points out of the team’s 41 in the second half.
Thanks to good defensive pressure, CU took the lead in the final minute. A steal and a lay-in by Coleman with 31 seconds left put the Buffs up 73-71. The lead was short-lived however after Wyoming countered with a 3-pointer play by Daaron Brown.
In an attempt to stop the clock and get the ball back, CU freshman forward Xavier Silas was called for an intentional foul on Wyoming guard Brad Jones. The Buffs got the ball back down by three with eight seconds left. Colorado Head Coach Ricardo Patton elected to not use one of his team’s two timeouts and Coleman missed a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.
Much of the talk after the game surrounded Patton’s decision to not call a timeout when his team had the ball in the final 10 seconds trailing by three. Patton said he felt comfortable with the momentum his team had at the time.
“It looked like we were blowing it up on the floor and were going to get an easy bucket. Again, we had a nice catch on the wing, we had momentum, we had the last shot,” Patton said. “I didn’t think they could foul at that point.”
Coleman said he felt he had a good look at the basket and shot with confidence.
“It was a good shot. I make that shot in practice consistently, I should’ve made it now. It just didn’t fall tonight,” Coleman said.
CU used a zone defense throughout much of the game. The zone struggled to contain Wyoming’s starting backcourt of Ewing and Brad Jones. The two players combined for 46 points. Patton said the zone is something he doesn’t prefer to play for the portion of a game.
“I don’t particularly like playing as much zone as we’ve been playing but it seems to be our best defense at this point,” Patton said. “We switched it up in the second half by playing a little bit more man-to-man and that got us back in the game. We had a chance to win and that’s all you can ask for.”
Patton said Ewing was tough to handle.
“He’s a good basketball player. He did a nice job of working off of screens to get himself open looks and he buried them,” Patton said.
The struggles of the team’s best player also contributed to the team’s loss. Roby is shooting just 32 percent on the season and has committed a team-high 18 turnovers. Patton indicated that his star player is still learning how to adjust to all the attention that opposing teams give him.
“I think he has to continue to realize that teams are going to really get up and guard him. He has to elevate his level of intensity,” Patton said.
One member of the Buff team that has carried his fair share of weight thus far in the season has been Jackson-Wilson. The sophomore transfer continues to be a force for the Buffs in the paint. Although disappointed by the loss, Jackson-Wilson understands that the young team can only learn from these games.
“We have a lot of people coming back next year. It’s early in the year and there is a lot of time left. We’ve got a lot of good things to do this year,” Jackson-Wilson said.