The Colorado Buffaloes dropped their third-straight game Sunday afternoon to the Stanford Cardinal, 72-64. The Buffs are now 21-9 on the season, sitting in fourth place at 10-7 in Pac-12 play.
The Buffs have one more regular season game prior to the Pac-12 Tournament, which begins Mar. 11 — a game they need to win to right the ship. Colorado beat Utah back on Jan. 12 at home by the final of 91-52, but the Utes are a much better team at home.
Let’s dive into the Stanford game.
Before we dive into the bad, I wanted to highlight a basic yet effective play Colorado ran on their second possession of the game.
Shane Gattling has the ball at the top of the key with D’Shawn Schwartz in the corner closest to the camera. The Buffs ran a rub screen low enforced by McKinley Wright, followed by a high screen from Evan Battey to get Tyler Bey open. Both Cardinal players run into one another following the Wright screen, creating more space for Bey.
Tyler unfortunately didn’t make the shot but a lot of moving parts forced Stanford to scramble. It was an uncontested shot nonetheless — something Colorado is going to need to knock down with tournament time just around the corner.
With the game tied at nine, Stanford ran a simple pick-and-pop. These are the type of plays that must stress Tad Boyle out. Stanford guard Daejon Davis calls a play for forward Oscar da Silva to come up and set a pick-and-roll, fading to the top right of the screen. Battey plays it perfectly right away, hedging out to prevent Davis from penetrating to the lane.
Senior forward Lucas Siewert then slides over to eliminate the three-point threat from da Silva, who is shooting just 32.5% from deep. da Silva makes the perfect read, throwing a bounce pass low to the cutting Jaiden Delaire for the easy dunk.
Siewert’s overcommitment led to an easy score for Stanford. It’s easier to said than done, but if Siewert would’ve shown a soft hedge, Battey likely would’ve recovered in time.
After a McKinley Wright missed putback attempt (it looked as if he got fouled), this play right here forced Colorado to call a timeout after a 7-0 Stanford run.
It was a really wacky play. Davis brings the ball down as Stanford has numbers (5-on-4) on the fast break. He then stops at the three-point line and turns around, finding a wide open Bryce Wills cutting to the lane uncontested.
It’s a play where you really can’t do anything other then prevent and slide over, hoping your defender gets back as soon as possible. However, this play pretty much summed up struggles Colorado has endured on their three-game losing streak.
This was by far one of the most frustrating plays of the game.
This is the result of Daylen Kountz’ second turnover on back-to-back possessions. Davis, once again, makes another fantastic play on the defense end.
Kountz wasn’t seen for the rest of the game.
He makes a hustle play deflecting the ball away from Kountz as he came close to regaining possession. The game clearly meant more to Stanford as they were diving all over the floor in Sunday’s contest.
Stanford freshman Spencer Jones made a diving attempt of his own to secure the ball, alertly flipping it to the wide open da Silva for another easy basket.
Another mental breakdown on this clip. Wills took this play coast-to-coast without a single Buff trying to stop him.
Number one rule is to stop ball — the Buffs didn’t even attempt to do so.
Wills had the hot hand in the final twenty minutes for the Cardinal, scoring 17 of his 19 points in the second half.
This clip is the ensuing inbounds pass from Siewert. Lucas almost stepped over the line, forcing the ball in it seemed. Schwartz was running up the court alongside Wright as Siewert’s pass went off D’Shawn’s feet. McKinley tried to make a diving attempt for the ball but it squirted away into the possession of Stanford.
Stanford moved the ball to the corner for a wide-open three from Wills yet again continuing his hot streak.
This was another frustrating play and quite possibly the turning point at the end. The Buffs were on a 10-0 run, cutting the lead to just three with 3:24 remaining as they were carrying all of the momentum.
That momentum was cut short.
Siewert tried forcing a entry-pass to Bey in the post with plenty of time — 20 seconds remaining to be exact on the game clock. Jones denied the ball and regained possession in the corner.
The bright side for the Buffs is these are all fixable mistakes. There were a lot of mental ones if you will. These are the things you can clean up on and improve moving forward. Not to mention, they came back from a 15-point deficit and had a chance late.
We know what this team is capable of if they’re focused at the task at hand. Buffs have one more game Saturday at Utah to clean up their mistakes prior to the Pac-12 Tournament.