Contact CU Independent Men’s Basketball Beat Writer Alissa Noe at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @crazysportsgirl1.
After amassing as much as a 15-point lead late in their game at USC on Wednesday night, the University of Colorado men’s basketball team looked like it had pulled off a major upset. But due to a lack of execution on both ends of the floor down the stretch, the Buffaloes couldn’t get the job done and fell, 79-72.
For nearly the last eight minutes of the matchup, the Buffs couldn’t muster a basket to save their lives. Not one. Not until there were nine seconds left on the clock and all hope was already lost for the big win.
Along with that abysmal statistic, the Buffs added 20 turnovers to put salt in the wound, with 22 Trojan points coming off of those TOs.
Senior forward Josh Scott, however, provided the sole bright spot for Colorado as the big man returned from injury to score a team-high 17 points, followed by sophomore guard George King (13), junior forward Wesley Gordon (13) and junior guard Josh Fortune (10).
The team also scored 37 points off the bench, but it didn’t matter much in the end.
For the game, the Buffs shot a decent 25-of-54 (46.3 percent), but they only shot 7-of-18 (38.9 percent) from three-point range.
On the other side of the ball, the Trojans shot 24-of-50 from the field (48 percent) and 4-of-14 from deep (28.6 percent), and their 27 free throws off of 35 attempts certainly didn’t hurt.
Additionally, the Trojans’ Jordan McLaughlin was an absolute nightmare for Colorado as he scored 25 total points and dished out five assists.
The Buffs got off to a bit of a slow start after letting the Trojans go up by three points unanswered. Enter junior guard Tre’Shaun Fletcher off the bench, and before you knew it, he had scored five points to get the Buffs back in the game.
Thanks to eight early points from Fletcher and a bucket from Akyazili eight minutes in, the Buffs gained their first lead of the game, 16-14.
Once Scott entered the game for the first time after missing the previous two games, the Buffs immediately found a spark and ignited a 22-8 run to give them a nine-point lead with five and a half minutes remaining, 31-22.
Scott showed ‘em, as one announcer at the game said, what an old man can do in a league of high-risers.
The Trojans tried to cut down on that deficit before halftime, but only did so by one point as the Buffs went into halftime with a 37-29 advantage. And for the first time all season, USC trailed at halftime on their home court.
For the half, the Buffs shot 46.7 percent (14-of-30) and 4-of-8 from the three-point range while only committing eight turnovers. And although they added eight assists to those numbers, their most impressive stats came from their 21 bench points and 23 rebounds.
USC, on the other hand, shot just 37 percent (10-of-27) and 22.2 percent from long range (2-of-9), and committed seven turnovers. They only recorded 11 rebounds and four bench points.
Right out of the gate in the second half, the Trojans took the floor with a chip on their shoulders and recorded five unanswered points.
But the Buffs came back, and they came back big.
With just under nine minutes remaining, the Buffs extended their lead to 15 with a 60-45 score. But the game was far from over.
Over the next five minutes, the Trojans went on a 17-4 scoring rampage to pull within two, 64-62.
With 3:25 left on the clock, they tied it back up at 65 for the fourth time all night and the first time since the first half. Not long after, they regained the lead after a three-pointer from Jordan McLaughlin.
From there on out, it was game over for Colorado, which could not get any stops or shots from the floor.
The Buffs fell in what should have been their biggest win of the season, 79-72.
The Buffaloes head to take on UCLA on Saturday, Feb. 20 as they take on the Bruins at 9 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.