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Buffaloes falter against USC, lose 75-64

The Buffs were swept by USC.

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Even if the feeling isn’t mutual, it’s always an experience when the Colorado Buffaloes host the USC Trojans. Unfortunately, these matchups usually end with USC taking the win, often in convincing fashion. This wasn’t the same as Matt Barkley throwing 7 touchdown passes, but it still hurts to see the Trojans win this game.

Colorado got off to a strong start as they were playing with confidence and seeing contributions from everyone on the floor, especially Dom Collier. But that only lasted long enough for CU to build an early 16-10 lead.

The Buffs lost to USC earlier this season because they couldn’t deal with their monstrous size and athleticism. USC is without Bennie Boatwright, but they still have Chimezie Metu, a freakishly athletic 7-footer who was built in the same lab as noted CU villains Malik Dime, Kaleb Tarczewski and [throws up in mouth] Jordan Bachynski. With Metu front and center, it should be illegal that USC’s defense is so lengthy and athletic. Once Colorado’s threes stopped falling, they didn’t really know how to score. Until Tyler Bey’s block that led to a buzzer-beating layup by McKinley Wright, CU didn’t score in the final four minutes of the first half.

On the other end, USC had it’s way with the CU defense after their slow start. The Buffaloes showed all the signs of a fatigued team as they struggled to rotate quickly or close out on shooters. The Buffs also had no answer for the connection between Jordan McLaughlin and Metu. The Trojans took control of the first half with a 16-5 run late in the second half wherein they made 8 consecutive shots. All things considered, the Buffs were probably fortunate to be down just 36-31 at the half.

USC continued to have control of this game as they started the second half shooting so hot that it felt like they would never miss again. Led by McLaughlin razzling and dazzling, the Trojans built a double-digit lead. It looked like they were ready to finish the game early, but this Colorado team will always fight, and that they did.

After trailing 50-38, CU went on a 14-0 run to storm back and take the lead. The hero of this run was none other than Lucas Siewert. The sophomore big has struggled mightily this season, but he has been superb in recent weeks. In this run, he scored 9 of those points on two threes and a game-tying and-1 layup. (It felt like a Brazilian points, lol.) He finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds, both team highs.

The Buffs fought with the Trojans for a while, but it didn’t last. Colorado was tied at 58 with 8:30 to go, but the Buffs went the next 6 minutes without a point. USC had a scoring drought themselves, but they still managed to build a double-digit lead late in the second half. Unlike the last game, the Trojans ran out the clock without taking a timeout to rub it in. The final score was 75-64.

The Buffs are surely out of the NCAA Tournament after their three-game losing streak. Now at 15-13, it’s hard to say what their chances at the NIT are. They may have to win against UCLA and at Utah to get in to that, but neither of those are easily winnable, especially if CU continues to struggle with fatigue.

Next up for CU is Senior Day against UCLA (2:00, ESPNU). If you can make it there, please do so as the Buffs honor George King, Dom Collier and Josh Repine. The Buffs also need you to be there to have the best chance at knocking off the Bruins.