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Buffs Look to Get Back on Track in the Desert

Jan 20, 2022

TEMPE, Ariz. – The No. 22 Colorado Buffaloes look to get back to its winning ways this week, starting at Arizona State on Friday (5 p.m. MT).

The Buffs, who started the season a perfect 13-0, have dropped its last two to No. 2 Stanford and at Oregon State in overtime. Monday's game at OSU was a rescheduled date that puts the Buffs in line to play a rare three-game Pac-12 schedule in the same week. 

"The team had Tuesday off, but I never take a day off," head coach JR Payne explained. "I was at work all day, working on the highs and lows from Oregon State and looking at Arizona State. There were a lot of both- more lows I think. The biggest thing was just having better discipline in what we're doing. There were things we work on every day in practice that wasn't necessarily done consistently and that ended up hurting us."

Colorado has led for the majority of the previous two games, only trailing in 25 total minutes. The Buffs trailed at the half (25-27) and the end of the third quarter (44-47) at Oregon State for the first time this season. CU's two losses have only been by a combined 11 points.

"Like I said, we as coaches never take a day off," Payne continued. "We have work to do. We make sure we're in the office getting organized, figuring out what we didn't do well as coaches? What didn't we do well as players? To make sure the next time we're in that situation, which we certainly will be, we are more prepared."

This season's veteran leadership led by players like Mya HollingshedPeanut Tuitele and Lesilia Finau is an encouraging presence that won't allow these Buffs to lose focus. 

"Like coach says all the time, we have to have a short memory," Tuitele commented. "We're not taking these two losses lightly. We know we should have won those games. If we defended better and got more shots to fall – but we have to learn from it and move on. It's the Pac-12. We've got the Arizona's coming up and they are just as good as any other opponent. On any given night, any Pac-12 team can win.

"This week of practice is very important for us to get back on our feet and regroup. I think the veterans and myself we're going to do a great job of that. We know what it's like losing and it's not a good feeling. We don't want this team to experience that."

Arizona State (8-5, 0-0 Pac-12) has been chomping at the bit to get back on the court. The Sun Devils have yet to play a Pac-12 contest and haven't played at all since scheduling Lipscomb on Dec. 30. ASU has had its last six dates postponed. 

The Sun Devils have had the upper hand in the series, winning the past 13 meetings. The two teams only met once last year in Tempe, having the second meeting in Boulder canceled. CU's last win came on Feb. 17, 2013 (71-63) in Tempe. 

The Buffs will continue down the road to Tucson on Sunday, taking on No. 10 Arizona. The Buffs and Wildcats also only played once last season in Boulder, resulting in a 62-59 loss.    

The Pac-12 Network's Cindy Brunson and Joan Bonvicini will call Friday's game. Cory Lopez and former Buff Shelley Sheetz will have the call on the Colorado Radio Network and 630 KHOW locally, starting at 4:30 p.m. MT.