Play together. Play loose. Take care of the ball.

Those were the simple pregame messages Tad Boyle wrote on the grease board inside the Colorado locker room for his team to focus on.

The Buffs had a total of five assists, shot 38.8 percent from the field and turned the ball over 15 times during a 65-54 loss to Wyoming on Friday night at the Coors Events Center.

"That was as disappointing a loss as I've been a part of in a long, long time. It certainly probably ranks up there since I've been at Colorado," Boyle said after losing for just the third time in his 24 games coached at the Coors Events Center. "Wyoming came in here and took it from us. They beat us fair and square."

CU's 27-game winning streak against non-conference opponents ended with a thud. The Buffs (5-4) hadn't lost a non-conference game in Boulder since a 62-46 defeat against TCU on Dec. 3, 2008.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys (10-1) stopped a 23-game losing skid in true road games (25 counting neutral court defeats) that dating back to a win at Air Force on Feb. 28, 2009.

"This team has not lost 23 in a row. This team is in the process of trying to write their own script," Wyoming head coach Larry Shyatt said. "How the script will go, no one knows. But up to this point, they're writing their own script. It has nothing to do with the past, but it's fun to talk about."

This CU team also is starting a new chapter as the program transitions into the Pac-12 after last season's run to the NIT Final Four. And Levi Knutson, Cory Higgins and Alec Burks aren't coming to the rescue.

The warm and fuzzy feelings from the program record 26-win campaign officially have left the building.

"Here's the deal. Levi's not here, Cory's not here, Alec's not here. That's a moot point," Boyle said when asked if he missed the clutch shoot-ing of the 2011 senior class in the second half when CU went 8-for-24 from the field. "We have to figure out how to win this game 54-53. And right now we're not there yet. ...

"I'm going to talk about it until I go to my grave, this program, and whatever basketball team I'm going to be a part of, is going to be known for their defense and their rebounding. And our defense wasn't good enough tonight. Wyoming's defense was better than Colorado's defense. And we didn't rebound the ball well enough tonight. That's why we lost the game."

CU ended a six-minute scoring drought with a pair of free throws by freshman Damiene Cain to take a 37-36 lead before allowing the Cowboys to go on a 13-0 run. Adam Waddell sparked the surge by the visitors with two powerful dunks, and a 3-pointer by Luke Martinez gave Wyoming a 49-37 advantage.

"Our defense wasn't playing as well as we could have," Carlon Brown said. "We couldn't get rebounds when we needed to get rebounds, which led to them getting second-chance points. We turned the ball over too much on offense.

"We didn't do anything solid."

CU trailed 54-40 with 5:53 remaining. That's when true freshman Spencer Dinwiddie made things interesting with a personal 8-2 run down the stretch.

An offensive rebound and hoop by Andre Roberson got the Buffs to within 56-51 with 2:00 left.

"It wasn't too late," said Dinwiddie, who led the Buffs with 16 points. "We had plenty of time. We were only down six, we just didn't get stops. We came down and turned the ball over.

Jeremy Adams was called for a momentum-killing charge with a chance to make it a one-possession game. Just before CU's last stand, senior point guard Nate Tomlinson was called for a costly technical foul.

"I've got to get that under control as a coach and I will. I didn't put him back in the game and we'll see what happens over the next 10 days," Boyle said. "Nate's got to play better and handle his emotions better and have better body language. Tonight was not one of his better nights."

Tomlinson did not score and finished with four turnovers and three assists. Austin Dufault had four points on 2-for-9 shooting.

Down the stretch, the entire freshmen class of Askia Booker, Cain and Dinwiddie was on the floor together.

"What's hard when you're a coach and you're coaching a team that's inconsistent is to try to find the right combinations," Boyle said. "I was searching tonight."

Wyoming entered the game ranked third nationally in scoring defense (49.4 ppg) and 12th in field goal percentage defense (35.4 percent).

The score was tied 30-30 at halftime after CU had stormed out to a 7-0 lead to open the game and led 14-4 following a basket by Booker with 14:27 left.

Martinez made back-to-back shots from behind the arc to tie the score 14-14. Another 3-pointer by Arthur Bouedo gave the Cowboys their first lead, 28-26, with 3:04 remaining before the intermission.

"We talked about just staying the course and enjoying the process," Shyatt said. "And making sure that any type of run didn't bother our connectedness. "

Waddell scored all 17 of his points in the second half. Leonard Washington (16 points, seven rebounds) also gave the Buffs fits down low.

Wyoming won the rebounding battle 34-29 and scored 20 points off CU's turnovers.

The Buffs will begin final exams today and will not play again until Dec. 19 against Cal State Bakersfield.

"The good news is we have 10 days between now and our next game to get better," Boyle said. "The bad news is we have to live with this feeling in our stomach for the next 10 days."

Wyoming 65, Colorado 54

WYOMING

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Wshngtn 28 6-11 3-5 1-7 0 3 16

Waddell 31 5-7 7-9 2-5 0 3 17

Luster 31 0-1 0-0 0-1 6 3 0

Martinez 35 4-8 2-3 0-6 0 3 14

Cruz 35 3-13 1-2 1-2 0 1 7

Bouedo 7 1-1 0-0 1-4 0 0 3

Gilmore 11 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 1 3

Nance, Jr 15 2-3 1-2 2-4 1 1 5

Wtsbgh 7 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 2 0

Totals 200 22-46 15-23 7-34 7 17 65

Percentages: FG .478, FT .652.

3-Point Goals: 6-17, .353 (Martinez 4-8, Bouedo 1-1, Washington 1-4, Cruz 0-4).

Team Rebounds: 4.

Blocked Shots: 3 (Washington 2, Waddell).

Turnovers: 15 (Luster 4, Cruz 4, Martinez 2, Washington 2, Bouedo, Nance, Jr., Gilmore).

Steals: 8 (Martinez 5, Gilmore 2, Nance, Jr.).

Technical Fouls: None.

COLORADO

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Dufault 25 2-9 0-0 0-1 0 3 4

Tmlnsn 21 0-1 0-0 0-3 3 4 0

Rbrsn 30 5-9 0-1 5-12 0 4 10

Dnwdd 33 5-9 4-4 1-4 0 3 16

Brown 27 3-7 3-5 0-1 1 0 10

Booker 24 3-8 2-4 0-1 1 2 9

Hrrs-Tnks 13 0-1 1-2 1-2 0 1 1

Chen 4 0-0 0-0 1-1 0 0 0

Adams 11 0-3 0-1 0-0 0 4 0

Cain 12 1-2 2-2 0-1 0 1 4

Totals 200 19-49 12-19 9-29 5 22 54

Percentages: FG .388, FT .632.

3-Point Goals: 4-16, .250 (Dinwiddie 2-3, Brown 1-3, Booker 1-4, Dufault 0-1, Tomlinson 0-1, Roberson 0-2, Adams 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 3.

Blocked Shots: 2 (Cain, Harris-Tunks).

Turnovers: 15 (Roberson 5, Tomlinson 4, Booker 2, Cain, Adams, Brown, Harris-Tunks).

Steals: 9 (Harris-Tunks 3, Roberson 2, Brown 2, Tomlinson, Booker).

Technical Fouls: Tomlinson.

Wyoming 30 35 -- 65

Colorado 30 24 -- 54

A -- 7,049. Officials -- Dick Cartmell, Bruce Hicks, Larry Spaulding.