It’s been a rough start for the Colorado Buffaloes in Pac-12 conference play. In fact, it hasn’t been this bad since the 1995-96 season, when the team also started 0-5 inside the conference.
The Buffs kept pace with the No. 25 ranked USC Trojans on Sunday night, but ran out of gas in the end, losing 71-68. The loss marked the fifth in a row for Colorado, which also dropped a home game against the high-powered UCLA Bruins on Thursday night.
Colorado got 16 points from George King and 15 from Xavier Johnson, but it wasn’t enough as Chimezie Metu poured in 24 for the Trojans.
Colorado shot the ball better than USC, including 45 percent from the field and 54 percent from three-point land compared to 39 percent and 15 percent for USC. The Buffs also rebounded the ball better. But the difference in this game was turnovers, as Colorado coughed the ball up 17 times.
Colorado got off to a great start and led by as many as 11 points in the first half. However, USC was able to trim that all the way down to one point before halftime.
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The teams traded buckets in a tightly-contested second half, but with just under three minutes to play, USC pushed its lead out to seven points. Colorado clawed back and with 47 seconds to play, Johnson nailed a three to put the Buffs up by one.
Metu came back with a quick bucket for USC and off a miss by King, got a rebound and kicked the ball to Elijah Stewart, who was fouled. Stewart sank both free throws to put USC up 71-68 with just three seconds to play. Colorado had a shot to tie at the buzzer, but King’s three point attempt was off.
Colorado drops to 10-8 on the season and will be on the outside looking in when it comes time for the NCAA tournament unless Tad Boyle and his staff can turn things around in a hurry.
The Buffs’ next three games are against Washington, Washington State and Oregon State. All three of those games are winnable, and the Buffs need to take care of business before this season is completely lost.