The University of Colorado Boulder men’s basketball team fell short against Massachusetts in the Myrtle Beach Invitational at the HTC Center in Conway, S.C. Colorado now holds a 2-2 record and continues its preparations as the team approaches the start of Pac-12 play.
The game against UMass was a close contest for the entirety of the first half. Colorado held an early lead, but the Massachusetts Minutemen fought their way back with a 7-0 run as both teams traded blows, but it was Massachusetts who took the lead 37-34 at the break.
A positive for the Buffaloes was the display from sophomore center Lawson Lovering who managed a career-high 8 points in the game. On the opposing end of the spectrum was CU’s defense. For the entirety of the first half, Colorado struggled to manage defensively.
“Our defense in the first half was atrocious,” said Head Coach Tad Boyle.
Because it was a close-contested game, UMass had no problem using its physicality to its advantage. This very physical game led to many questionable calls, with most close decisions working against Colorado. Still, Boyle was disappointed with the team’s performance and not the standard of officiating.
“Sometimes the whistle doesn’t go your way away from home,” said Boyle. “We had some really good looks that didn’t go in. We have to be tough, and UMass was the tougher team.”
The turning point of the game came in the second half. The game remained an exciting close contest, and with 13 minutes left on the clock, junior guard J’Vonne Hadley made the game 47-47 off of a Massachusetts turnover.
Colorado then proceeded to fail to score for almost six minutes. An unanswered 11-point run from UMass made the game 58-47, as CU could not unlock their offense and spent the rest of the match clawing back at that lead.
But in the end, the Buffaloes fell short. CU’s offense misfired during the game, shooting just 34% from the field, and Colorado’s free throw woes continued as the Buffaloes only hit seven out of 13. The defensive display was better in the second half, but during the 11-point run, the Buffs looked collectively lost.
Colorado’s final rally came in the last few minutes of the game. Junior forward Tristan Da Silva, who led the Buffs in points with 17, made a three-pointer with 1:17 left on the clock, which cut the lead to 65-61, and then with 53 seconds left, Da Silva got another two off a turnover from Massachusetts, and the gap fell to just two.
“We put ourselves in that situation,” da Silva explained. “It’s all about energy from the get-go. That’s what it ultimately comes down to.”
Seconds later, Da Silva missed another 3-pointer attempt, which would have given Colorado the lead. Sophomore guard KJ Simpson missed two more 3-pointer attempts in the final six seconds, and Colorado’s comeback ultimately fell short. The Buffs lost 66-63, leaving Boyle and the team disappointed by the result.
“I like the competitiveness of our group,” said Boyle. “But we’re just not good enough for 40 minutes.”
Colorado played No. 24 Texas A&M in the consolation bracket on Nov. 18, at 10 a.m. MST and looks forward to another game on Sunday. They’ll return to Boulder next weekend to face Yale on Nov. 27 at 1:00 p.m MST.