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Colorado Comes Up Short in LA

Jan 11, 2021

Quotes | Box Score (PDF) | Boxscore

LOS ANGELES – Colorado's best basketball came in the final 10 minutes at Southern California, but the effort proved to be too little too late on Monday. The Buffaloes trailed by as many as 12 in the game and cut the deficit down to two in the final quarter, ultimately falling 56-52 at the Galen Center.

Junior Peanut Tuitele and senior Mya Hollingshed led the Buffs' comeback efforts. Tuitele went 6-for-9 from the floor, finishing with a season-high 15 points. Hollingshed recorded her fifth double-double of the season, totaling 14 points and 10 rebounds. Junior transfer Tayanna Jones led the Buffs off the bench, going 2-for-3 from 3-point distance on her way to eight points. 

Free-throws continued to stymie Colorado. The Buffs missed 10 free-throws on the day, closing the contest 9-for-19 from the free-throw line. 

Jordan Sanders led a quartet of Trojans in double figures, scoring a game-high 16 points. USC played only eight players on the day, getting all by three points from its starting five.  

The loss drops Colorado to 4-6 on the season and 2-5 in Pac-12 play. USC improves to 5-5 overall and 3-5 in conference play. 

HOW IT HAPPENED: The afternoon started on a high note for the Buffs. Colorado got the first five points, all from Tuitele inside the first minute of play. The Trojans woke up soon after, running off nine straight points to gain the four-point lead. USC's lead hit five, 12-7, off a Rogers 3-pointer with 4:10 to go in the period. CU scored the next four points to close within one, 12-11, with just over two minutes to go. The Trojans wrapped up the quarter with another 3-ball, taking a 15-11 lead.

Tuitele (7), Hollingshed (2) and Aubrey Knight (2) were the only Buffs to find the basket in the opening frame. The trio went 5-for-8 in the quarter while the rest of the team was 0-for-6.  

Neither side had an impressive second quarter. The Trojans outscored Colorado, 15-13, but shot just 5-of-13 from the field. CU had had a slightly better shooting performance, boasting a 4-for-10 effort. The Trojan lead hit 11 twice in the quarter, but CU used a 5-0 run to close the half trailing 30-24. 

Colorado struggled in the first half both from the floor and from the free-throw line. CU went just 9-for-24 shooting in the first 20 minutes and hit 3-of-10 from the free-throw line. The Trojans shut down sophomore Jaylyn Sherrod and freshman Frida Formann, holding the duo to a combined 1-for-8 in the half.  

The Women of Troy opened the third quarter with a 9-3 run, growing its lead to 12 (39-27) in the opening four minutes. The shooting woes continued on both sides in the third. CU suffered through an 0-for-7 slump, while USC had a similar 0-for-5 drought. Hollingshed broke the scoreless streak with three straight points, cutting the USC lead down to eight, 39-21. The Trojans advantage held the rest of the quarter, leading by eight going into the final stanza. 

Colorado got a quick four points from Hollingshed and Tuitele to make it a four-point game, 43-39, with 8:22 left to play. The USC lead hovered between four and six points as each time Colorado scored USC would find an answer on the following possession. 

A Sanders 3 with 5:40 to go broke the pattern, putting USC up by nine. This time it was Sherrod who answered back with a big 3-point shot of her own to cut the deficit to six, 46-52, on CU's next possession. Knight drew a foul and made 1-of-2 from the free-throw line, helping CU get within five points (52-47) with 3:35 on the clock.

A 5-0 run from Hollingshed and Tuitele brought CU back to within two points, 54-52, with 1:28 let to play, but that would be the end of CU's scoring for the day. Hollingshed and Knight each came up empty inside the final 30 seconds and USC hit a pair of free-throws to ice the game with one tick left on the clock. 

KEY MOMENT: The Buffs, trailing 24-16, in the second quarter had a shot to get within six points from the free-throw line. CU came up empty and USC went back down the court off the miss and hit a 3-pointer to go up 11, 27-16, effectively turning the series of events into a five-point swing.

KEY STAT: CU's 9-for-19 free-throw performance was the second-lowest of the season. It is the fifth game of the season CU has been at or below 60 percent from the free-throw line. 

QUOTABLE: "To miss 10 free throws and lose by four—that's extremely frustrating. We do pressure free throws [in practice]. We shoot a ton of them. We have to be able to step up and knock them down. That's unbelievable frustrating." - JR Payne

NOTES: Colorado is now 0-3 this season in games decided by four points or less…CU is 4-11 under JR Payne in games decided by the same margin…The Buffs are now 8-15 overall against USC and haven't beaten USC on its home floor since Feb. 3, 2013 (2-9 vs USC on the road)…CU's 52 points marked a season-low (previously 53 at Oregon and Oregon State)…CU outrebounded USC, 34-31…Colorado had 14 second-chance points while limiting USC to six…Formann was held scoreless for the first time this season (0-for-5)…Hollingshed now has 1,037 career points, five behind Raegan Scott (1,042).

 UP NEXT: Colorado returns home for its next two games this weekend. The Buffs will host California on Friday (3:30 p.m. MT) and No. 1 Stanford on Sunday (noon MT). Both games will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.