The Colorado Buffaloes did enough to secure a winning record for the 2022-2023 season, but they did not do enough to beat UCLA, the best team in the conference. CU has been shorthanded since J’vonne Hadley came down with a season-ending injury, and were even more shorthanded in the Pac-12 Tournament, with an injured Da Silva and sick K.J Simpson. They also did not have the services of Javon Ruffin.
Despite all of these troubles, the Buffs hung tough in the 1st half. Ethan Wright and Jalen Gabbidon stepped up from beyond the arc, both making a pair of 3s in the first half. Julian Hammond continued his sensational performance in Vegas, starting strong in the 1st half and finishing with 14 points and 6 assists. A late run by CU at the half gave them a 1 point lead, 38-37.
The second half tilted UCLA’s way. Jaime Jacquez finally showed up and finished with 16 points and 9 boards. Amari Bailey finished with a new career high of 26 points in Jaylen Clark’s absence and constantly attacked CU’s interior defense. Tristan Da Silva tried to keep the offense alive for CU, but it wasn’t enough as UCLA’s depth and talent took over.
CU finishes the season 17-16 and may potentially garner an NIT invite. This offseason is a big one for the Buffs, as Cody Williams comes in with plenty of hype and this team has lots of questions to answer.