Colorado gave up a season high in points and wasn't able to overcome their defensive struggles as they lost to Oklahoma St. at the MGM Grand tonight 78-73. Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and Le'Bryan Nash combined for 56 points and caused the Buffaloes' defense too many problems down the stretch. The bright spots for Colorado were Askia Booker and Josh Scott as they finished with 19 and 20 points respectively. With the loss, Tad Boyle's team is now 10-2 and lost their second game on a neutral court against a ranked opponent this season.
Things the Buffaloes did well:
Their defense was strong in the first half and they only gave up 32 points in 20 minutes. Colorado had tons of second chances throughout the game and grabbed 18 offensive rebounds. Despite never having a rhythm and struggling offensively, the Buffs managed to keep the game close and only lost by five points.
Josh Scott didn't get the ball in the post enough, but when he did, he made the most of his opportunities. He had 20 points, was 5-of-8 from the field and collected 12 rebounds. Askia Booker provided instant offense early with 13 points in the first half and also shot 3-of-7 from beyond the arc and finished the game with 19. Tre'Shaun Fletcher stepped up when most of the bench wasn't producing. He attacked the rim and got himself open for three throughout the game. Although he was only 3-of-8 from the field, he did have seven points and four rebounds.
Things the Buffaloes struggled with:
They were awful offensively. Oklahoma St. is a great team and wreaks havoc against opponents on defense, but the lead felt much larger than it was all game because of Colorado's ineptitude on offense. They turned the ball over 14 times, only had seven assists and shot 27 percent from three. They also couldn't attack the basket like they did in previous games. In the first 20 minutes, the Buffaloes attempted two free throws. The lack of aggressiveness, most notably from Wesley Gordon and Xavier Johnson, was a factor in the Buffs' loss too. Johnson finished with three points on 1-of-5 shooting and airballed two of his shots. Gordon was absent on the offensive end as well and was even worse defensively. He constantly looked lost and had trouble guarding every player he matched up with tonight.
The Buffs played rather poorly, but still managed to keep the game close throughout. Despite their inconsistencies, they only lost by five points to a national championship contender. Obviously the team still needs work and won't have the luxury of playing every game at Coors Event Center, but this was still one game and Tad Boyle's team continues to improve.
Colorado returns home to face Georgia on Saturday, Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. for their final non-conference game. The Bulldogs are 6-4 and have yet to face a team with the Buffs' talent so far this season. Colorado should respond to their loss with a victory and head into conference play with an 11-2 record.