An imperfect 10.

That's what Tad Boyle's rotation is right now.

Nine games into the season, Colorado's second-year head coach is still searching for the right court chemistry. It's an issue Boyle knows he must study and figure out this week while his players are taking final exams.

The inconsistent Buffs are 5-4 after Friday's 65-54 loss to Wyoming at the Coors Events Center.

"When things start going down, our negative energy just exudes through our pores," Boyle said after the program's 27-game winning streak against non-conference foes was rudely halted by the physical visitors from Laramie. "We've got to find a way to have positive energy. That takes maturity and it takes leadership.

University of Colorado Head Coach Tad Boyle argues a call with the referee during a game against Fort Lewis College on Friday, Nov. 11, at the Coors Event
University of Colorado Head Coach Tad Boyle argues a call with the referee during a game against Fort Lewis College on Friday, Nov. 11, at the Coors Event Center on the CU campus in Boulder. CU won the game 85-57. For more photos of the game go to Jeremy Papasso/ Camera ( JEREMY PAPASSO )

"I've got to do a better job of that as a coach, and I think our seniors have to do a better job of that on the floor."

One glaring problem: The seniors weren't playing well enough, or with enough poise, to warrant being on the floor during crunch time against the Cowboys.

Carlon Brown, Austin Dufault and Nate Tomlinson -- who combined for 14 points on 5-for-17 shooting -- watched helplessly from the bench as three freshmen and two sophomores did their best to rally the Buffs.

Wyoming upperclassmen scored 60 points and grabbed 30 rebounds in the game. CU freshman Spencer Dinwiddie (16 points) and sophomoreAndre Roberson (10 points, 12 rebounds) were bright spots on a dreary night for the home team.


"There's a laundry list," Dinwiddie said of CU's early-season shortcomings. "We have to rebound. It can't just be (Roberson) rebounding. No one else on the team had over four rebounds, and Andre had 12. The team has to rebound, it can't just be one guy. We shot a poor percentage. Fifteen turnovers, five assists. That's bad.

"There's a list of things we need to work on."

CU led 37-36 before allowing the Cowboys to go on a decisive 13-0 run midway through the second half.

"It definitely shell shocked us and we didn't have the right preparation or mentality to respond like we needed to," Brown said.

Boyle felt like the Buffs, despite only having one practice to prepare for Wyoming after Wednesday's 71-64 win over Fresno State, were ready to play.

"We've got a lot of guys who are capable of playing better to a man. I've got to coach better," Boyle said. "What's frustrating me is the difference between how we practiced (Thursday) and how we played (Friday). We didn't practice long, but you could tell our guys were dialed in and focused. And then we didn't play that way."

True freshmen Askia Booker (nine points) and Damiene Cain (four points in 12 minutes) played well in spurts off the bench.

Other reserves in the rotation -- Jeremy Adams, Shane Harris-Tunks and Sabatino Chen -- were not able to get in sync against the Cowboys' aggressive zone defense. Shannon Sharpe, Trey Eckloff and Ben Mills did not play.

The Buffs are 4-0 this season when a player off the bench scores in double figures and 1-4 without such a contribution.

It would not be surprising if the starting lineup and/or the minutes some players have been getting change when CU returns to action on Dec. 19 against Cal State Bakersfield at the Coors Events Center.

"I think we're still learning," Brown said after finishing with 10 points but only one rebound in 27 minutes. "We have a balance of young and veteran guys. We need to just find that chemistry and figure it out."