The Colorado Buffaloes looked to sweep the Los Angeles road trip, but fell 65-62 to the UCLA Bruins. The Buffs fell to 7-3 on the season struggled creating open looks in this tough loss.
This game was never going to be pretty. Tad Boyle and Mick Cronin are both for their gritty defense-and-rebounding styles and both have full rosters who have bought in completely. Neither defense allows open shots or commits fouls, so this game was full of long shot clocks and tough rebounds.
During the first half, both teams shot reasonably well when they got off a shot — 46% shooting for CU, 48% for UCLA — but that only happened when there wasn’t a turnover. The Buffs committed 9 turnovers in the first half and the Bruins had 10. UCLA is struggling to find their offensive identity without Chris Smith (torn ACL), while the Buffs got outmuscled by the Bruins’ bevy of physical wings, particularly Jaime Jaquez.
The second half was just as slow-paced, but the Buffs struggled without Evan Battey and Jabari Walker due to foul trouble, and Dallas Walton to injury. It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that the Buffs couldn’t box out or protect the rim when they played without any true big men. The bright side was Jeriah Horne scoring 10 points in the half, keeping the offense afloat practically by himself.
UCLA looked like they would pull away, as they took a 7-point lead with 2:16 left. The Buffs cut the lead down to 3, but Maddox Daniels missed two tough threes in the final 15 seconds.
This is a tough loss for CU, but it’s not all that bad considering it’s a road game against the preseason Pac-12 favorite. It turns out that it’s tough to win a physical game without any bigs.