Contact CU Independent Men’s Basketball Beat Writer Alissa Noe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After coming off a heartbreaking loss at USC just three days prior, the University of Colorado men’s basketball team put its NCAA tournament hopes into an even more precarious position as the Buffaloes fell to UCLA at the Pauley Pavilion in spectacular fashion, 77-53.
For much of the game, the Buffs couldn’t seem to pull any defense together, nor could they find any spark on offense. After a 16-point deficit at halftime only grew larger in the second half, the Buffs took the complexion of their road performances from ugly to hideous.
With three and half minutes left in the game, the Bruins led by as many as 26 points, 72-46.
On the lone bright side, the Buffaloes made 16 assists and only 11 turnovers; a large improvement based on recent games.
Only two Buffs scored in double-digits, senior guard Xavier Talton with 12 points and junior guard Josh Fortune with 10. Senior forward Josh Scott narrowly missed another double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Overall, the Buffaloes shot a horrid 31.1 percent from the field (19-61) and 9-25 from the three-point range (36 percent). On the other side of the ball, the Bruins shot an impressive 50 percent from the field (30-60) and 55 percent from downtown (11-20). UCLA junior guard Isaac Hamilton led all scorers with 22 points.
The Buffs got off to a slow start on Saturday night as early turnovers kept them to single digits for the first eight minutes of the contest. After timid play on both offense and defense, Colorado dug itself into a 10-point hole 14 minutes in, 30-20.
As soon as the Buffs tried to fight back with a quick five points, UCLA responded in a big way. For the remainder of the first half, CU could not find a way to stop the Bruins, as UCLA finished on a 14-3 run and the Buffs sunk deeper into an irreparable hole, 44-28.
On the half, the Buffs shot an abysmal 31.3 percent from the field (10-31). In fact, 75 percent of their points came from beyond the arc, making seven of 15 attempts (46.7 percent). Colorado did, however, manage 10 assists and only six turnovers.
The Bruins fared much better than the Buffaloes from the floor, shooting 51.6 percent (16-31) and an impressive 77.8 percent from downtown (7-9). They had nine assists to two turnovers as the Buffs allowed Hamilton to score 17 in the first half alone.
Less than four minutes into the second half, the Bruins extended their lead to 24 points, 56-32, with no sign of a Colorado comeback. From there on out, the game was more or less over for the Buffaloes. When the clock hit 3:34, the Bruins had gained their biggest lead of the game, 72-46.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, the Buffaloes fell 77-53, bringing their overall record to 19-9, and 8-7 in the Pac-12.
The Buffs return home on Wednesday, Feb. 24 against Arizona. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN2.