Although the Buffaloes put up a good fight against No. 16 USC on Thursday night, critical turnovers and poor offensive production were the ultimate deciders in the loss.
Colorado was able to hold the Trojans down throughout the evening, with a tied score at halftime and a five-point lead late in the second half. However, USC took control over the final minutes of the game and pulled through with a slim victory.
Sophomore guard Nique Clifford got his first career start Thursday night with the loss of senior guard Elijah Parquet to a lower leg injury. Clifford added quality defense and five points, including a dunk that electrified the crowd at the CU Events Center.
Sophomore forward Jabari Walker led the team with 13 points and three steals. Sophomore forward Tristan da Silva and senior forward Evan Battey each added 10 points of their own.
Battey made a significant emotional impact on the floor and his passion and energy had the crowd chanting his name. He’s a fan favorite in Boulder and he was able to get the CU Events Center crowd loud and engaged.
“Evan’s given his heart and soul to this program and this community with what he’s been through. Everybody knows his story,” said head coach Tad Boyle. “Evan is the most beloved and cherished teammate that I’ve been around in 27 years of coaching.”
Despite the love he feels from the fanbase and his teammates, Battey made it clear that he was not pleased with the outcome of the matchup. As a senior, his time at Colorado is coming to a close and he emphasized the importance of taking advantage of the time he has left.
“I just said we don’t have many of these opportunities left,” said Battey. “Especially games at home, I’m running out of time personally. So I’m just trying to enjoy it and give it my all for my teammates and coaches.”
The Buffs will look for their redemption against No. 9 UCLA on Saturday night at 7 PM MST.