Coming into the weekend, Colorado had won just one road game this season: a three-point overtime win over an Air Force team that, let’s face it, isn’t very good. The good news for the Buffaloes is that this weekend in Los Angeles, they doubled their number of road wins; the bad news is, that one road victory came against a USC team that would be an underdog even against Air Force.
On Saturday, when the Buffs faced a physical UCLA team at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, they were again exposed as a team that doesn’t quite yet have what it takes to beat good teams on the road.
“To win on the road against good teams, we have to be tougher and we have to execute better,” said head coach Tad Boyle. “I thought we had great focus against USC and played well enough to win, but they’re struggling right now and everybody knows that. But UCLA, they’re as good as anybody in our league, talent-wise and coaching-wise.”
Tad Boyle Has His Team Within A Game Of The Conference Lead Halfway Through The Season (Cliff Grassmick/Daily Camera)
Colorado came to play early, racing out to a 12-4 lead and getting out on the break on a regular basis throughout the first half. But in the second half, Colorado’s defense, which came into the game as the best field goal percentage defense in the conference, was unable to slow the Bruins, allowing them to shoot 61.5% from the field. After the game, Boyle listed any number of defensive breakdowns (ball screen defense, post defense, guarding the ball, fighting through screens) that contributed to his team’s poor defensive performance. And their inability to keep the Bruins from scoring helped to limit the Buffaloes’ offensive game. “We couldn’t get stops,” he said. “We were getting stops early, and when you get stops you can run. But when you’re not getting stops, it is hard to run when you’re taking the ball out of the net.”
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