The (13-2) UCLA Bruins traveled to Boulder, Colorado and showed why they were the ninth ranked team in the nation, as the (12-6) Colorado Buffaloes lost this matchup 71-65. Head coach Tad Boyle quickly summarized the good and the bad about this inner-conference matchup.
“What a disappointing loss,” Boyle said. “We shot ourselves in the foot for our second game in a row with our turnovers. I didn’t think it could get worse than 16 (turnovers vs USC), yet here we are tonight with 21 (turnovers vs UCLA). I have to tip my cap to our guys, they battled back in the second half. This team has fight, its got resilience, its got heart. We just have to understand the little things, every possession means something. We haven’t figured that out yet.”
UCLA led by 15 points heading into halftime, but the Buffaloes showed their resilience and diminished the bruins lead to just one point late in the second half. Colorado finished the game committing 21 total turnovers, 13 of which came in the first half. With 16 turnovers last matchup against USC, CU has now totaled 37 turnovers in the last two games.
The constant turnovers may be due to how often the offense shares the ball as Colorado had four players tally more than 10 points: Jabari Walker (19), Evan Battey (15), Tristan Da Silva (10) and KJ Simpson (10). Freshman guard KJ Simpson discussed how the plethora of turnovers gave them an early disadvantage.
“I just feel like in the first half we dug ourselves a hole,” Simpson said. “So our big thing was turnovers, we were doing this to ourselves. When we came out in the second half, I just felt like we needed more energy. So when I got into the game, I just tried to push it and get guys active. Get everybody up, get the bench up. When we play together as a team like that you see what happens.”
Despite the loss, sophomore forward Jabari Walker continued to showcase his talent by recording 10 points and four rebounds in the first half, and finished the night with 19 points and seven rebounds. The second half of the game was all about KJ Simpson as he continued to prove his case as a potential starter by contributing 10 points and tied the team-high in rebounds with seven. Boyle also mentioned how Walker’s minor adjustments from last game was a notable feature in his performance.
“Jabari Walker made great strides tonight,” Boyle said. “He had five of them (turnovers) on Thursday and tonight he only had one. That’s terrific. You can see him really trying to take heed to the things that he saw in our film session.”
The Colorado Buffaloes will face the (11-6) Oregon Ducks in Eugene, Oregon for their next matchup on Tuesday, Jan. 25th at 8:00 PM MST.
Contact CU Independent staff writer Brett Polley at email@example.com.