However slightly, a reeling Colorado men's basketball team has improved on the turnover woes that marred the nonconference schedule — particularly during the disappointing 1-2 showing at the Diamond Head Classic in late December.
That slight improvement will be put to the test Saturday night against Oregon (7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network).The Buffaloes will be taking on a Ducks team that has forced a league-best 17.1 turnovers per game in Pac-12 Conference play.
In Thursday's win at Utah, Oregon was able to erase the Utes' 14-point lead in the first half by forcing 17 turnovers and turning those extra possessions into 29 points.
"We better handle their press, because they turn you over," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "If you can't handle for 40 minutes, you're going to have problems. We're going to be really, really tested with the press."
The Buffs averaged 14 turnovers per game through their 12 nonconference games, and they still enter the Oregon game averaging 13.5 per game. Yet that average has dwindled somewhat in recent weeks. After committing 17 turnovers in the Pac-12 opener at Arizona on Jan. 3, the Buffs have committed 12 or fewer in five of the past six games after achieving that feat just twice in the season's first 14 games.
Granted, many of those turnovers still are occurring in crippling bunches. CU didn't commit any in the second half at Utah on Jan. 20, but the 11 turnovers in the first half was a big reason why the Utes built a 22-point halftime lead. In Thursday's home loss against Oregon State, the Buffs had only three turnovers at halftime. Yet they committed eight in the second half, with the Beavers finishing with a 14-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
"We've got to be more consistent, and we've got to do it for 40 minutes," Boyle said. "Because our margin for error, we're not going to out-talent people in our league. We can outplay them, we can out-execute them, we can out-tough them. We're didn't do that (against Oregon State)."
Recruit Lamont Butler is visiting CU this weekend. Rated as a three-star guard by 247Sports.com as well as Rivals.com, Butler is a 6-foot-1 guard out of Riverside Poly in southern California who has been offered by the Buffs for the 2020 class...In three games since a one-game absence due to a left shoulder injury, point guard McKinley Wright has shot 15-for-26 overall (.577) with a 4-for-7 mark on 3-pointers. Wright needs two assists to reach 273 for his career and match Jaquay Walls for 15th-place among CU's all-time. Next up is Chauncey Billups with 282...Since scoring a career-best 22 points against Washington on Jan. 12, starting guard D'Shawn Schwartz has gone 6-for-17 in the past four games, including a 2-for-9 mark on 3-pointers.