On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Colorado Buffaloes were defeated by the Oregon State Beavers, 52-60, during a disappointing showdown in Corvallis, Ore. This game may have sealed the fate of Colorado’s NCAA Tournament at-large bid, leaving only the Pac-12 tournament and a miracle run as potential pathways forward for the rest of the season. After this loss, Colorado’s overall record stands at 12-11, ninth in the Pac-12 conference.
Despite junior forward Tristan da Silva’s impressive double-double (22 points and 15 rebounds), which earned him the title of Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week, the Buffs could not keep up with Oregon State’s offensive plays. In the second half, Beaver freshman Jordan Pope launched an unstoppable surge, scoring 17 of his 19 points while also going 5-10 from a three-point range.
“When your team is not playing to the level of their capability, it’s on the coach,” said head coach Tad Boyle. “It’s my job to find the answers.”
“I wish I had the answers right now,” Boyle added. “I don’t, but it’s my job. It’s nobody’s fault but mine, and I have to do a better job with this basketball team.”
The Buffaloes had 13 turnovers throughout the game, making it difficult to stand their ground against the Beavers. Oregon State continued to shut down star sophomore guard KJ Simpson, holding him to four points with 1-13 from the field and 0-4 from three. This is the second game in a row where Simpson has struggled to score, only shooting 3-26 from the field in his last three games.
“People are going to game plan to take KJ out of the game,” Boyle said. “They’ll do what Oregon did to him and what Oregon State did to him tonight. We can’t let that happen. We can’t be a one- or two-trick pony in this league.”
Both the Buffs and the Beavers did not play very efficiently during this game, with both teams shooting less than 40% from the field. CU shot 21-60 (35%), while OSU shot slightly higher at 18-47 (38.3%). The main difference between the team’s percentages came from free throws. The Buffaloes failed to get to the line and convert free throws on Saturday evening, merely gaining 3-7 from the charity stripe. The Beavers, on the other hand, got to the line 22 times and made 17 of their free throws.
Colorado started this game firing early, hitting 56% of their shots in the first 10 minutes. Then, the Beavers switched to a zone defense, which threw the Buffaloes for a loop. Following this change, Colorado found themselves unable to score at all for five minutes, resulting in a very sluggish end to the first half. About halfway through the second half, the Beavers turned up the heat, going on an 11-0 run that crushed the Buff’s comeback aspirations once and for all.
J’Vonne Hadley and da Silva were the only Buffaloes to score double-digit points, with Hadley shooting 5-5 from the field for 11 points and da Silva dropping his smooth 22 points. The rest of the team failed to get many successful offensive plays, as shown by the dismal score. Though Colorado has some elite playmakers on their roster, who continue to dazzle this season, the team can’t quite piece it together.
Following these losses, the rest of the season will offer mixed challenges for this Colorado team. In the coming weeks, Colorado will have some favorable matchups against California, Stanford, Utah and Arizona State; however, they will also be tested by tough opponents, including the top-ranked teams from Arizona, USC and UCLA.
The Buffaloes will be back in Boulder this week to square off against the California Golden Bears at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2. Then, they will face the Stanford Cardinals at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5.
Contact Student Staff Writer Griffin Dreifaldt at firstname.lastname@example.org.