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Turnovers Plague Buffs In Loss To Oregon

Feb 3, 2022

 

BOULDER — Colorado couldn't contain the turnover bug Thursday and the Buffaloes watched Oregon break open a tight game in the second half to take a 66-51 win at the CU Events Center.

CU's third straight loss dropped the Buffs to 13-9 overall and 5-7 in Pac-12 play. The Ducks recorded their first win ever in Boulder after 10 straight defeats to improve to 14-7, 7-3.

The Buffs, who won at Oregon just nine days previously, received 16 points from Keeshawn Barthelemy, all in the first half. CU's Jabari Walker recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds and Evan Battey had 10 points for the Buffs.

Jacob Young led Oregon with 21 points.

The Buffs had a solid first half and were down by just one, 36-35, at intermission. But they committed 13 of their 20 turnovers in the second half, leading to 19 points for the Ducks as Oregon outscored Colorado 30-16 in the final 20 minutes.

It was the Buffs' fifth straight game with at least 16 turnovers. CU shot just 39 percent (19-for-49), including a 6-for-22 effort in the second half, meaning the Buffs had twice as many turnovers as baskets in the final 20 minutes.

Oregon connected on 42 percent of its field goal tries, but hit 13 of 28 attempts after halftime.

Colorado coach Tad Boyle, who tested positive Covid-19 earlier in the week, missed the game. Associate head coach Mike Rohn served as acting head coach.

"I didn't do a very good job in the second half," Rohn said. "We knew turnovers were going to be important in this game and I think we just got sped up a little when we got down in the second half. You can't turn the ball over against a good team like Oregon. That was basically the whole game."

In CU's 82-78 win in Eugene last week, the Buffs had 17 turnovers but shot 50 percent from the floor, including 8-for-15 from 3-point range. Thursday, CU hit just 5-of-19 from long range.

HOW IT HAPPENED: After trailing by one at intermission, the Buffs pulled into a 40-40 tie on two Tristan da Silva free throws three minutes into the second half.

Oregon then regained the lead but Colorado pulled back to within two, 45-43, on Battey's 3-pointer four minutes later.

But from that point on, the Ducks took control as Colorado's turnover woes exploded. CU committed 12 miscues over the next 12 minutes, leading to 17 Oregon points, and the Ducks pushed their lead to double digits midway through the half, 54-43, following four straight CU turnovers.

Oregon then extended its cushion to as much as 19 in the final minutes, as the Ducks finished with 25 points off CU's 20 turnovers.

While it was the first home loss ever against the Ducks, including eight straight wins in the Boyle era, the Buffs refused to use Boyle's absence as an excuse.

"Coach instills confidence in me and my teammates and there was that sense of presence missing, but that doesn't have anything to do with the game," Battey said. "It's just more on us throwing away the ball. He can't save us from turning the ball over 20 times."

Colorado trailed by one at intermission, 36-35, after a first half that featured 10 lead changes and four ties.

The Buffs' biggest lead of the half came with three minutes remaining after Barthelemy registered a steal and dunk to give CU a 32-27 advantage.

But Colorado managed just one more field goal down the stretch while Oregon put together a 9-3 run, taking the lead into the locker room on a Jacob Young 3-pointer at the buzzer.

TURNING POINT: With 13:19 to play, the Buffs still trailed by just two, after a Battey 3-pointer. But the Buffs then committed turnovers on their next four possessions, leading to a 9-0 Oregon run and CU never came closer than nine points again.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Buffs have lost five of their last six, including three straight at home — the longest home losing streak in the Tad Boyle era. Their overall three-game losing streak is also the longest since the 2019-20 season, when they finished the year with five straight losses. With two more home games before another three-game road trip, the Buffs desperately need a win Saturday against Oregon State.

KEY STATISTICS: Colorado committed 20 turnovers that led to 25 Oregon points … The Buffs were outscored 36-26 in the paint … CU shot just 27 percent from the floor in the second half (6-for-22) and just 8-for-16 from the free throw line.

QUOTEWORTHY: "Every team goes through tough stretches. But we have to go to work tomorrow and come back ready to play Saturday." — Acting head coach Mike Rohn.

NEXT UP: The Buffs play host to Oregon State on Saturday (4 p.m., FS1), then play just once next week when they host Utah in a 6 p.m. game Saturday, Feb. 12 (Pac-12 Networks).

Contact: Neill.Woelk@Colorado.edu