For the better part of the first 20 minutes of the Colorado Buffaloes' road battle Tuesday at Auburn, it looked like the same problems, different year.

Among the myriad pratfalls that plagued the CU men's basketball team in a 2014-15 season that ended with a 16-18 record were turnovers and often porous defense along the 3-point line.

Turnovers reared their ugly head once again during a season-opening loss against No. 7 Iowa State, as 18 CU giveaways led to 16 Cyclones points in what turned out to be a six-point loss.

Tuesday's contest against Auburn began just as generously with the giveaways, and CU displayed vulnerability from 3-point range. Yet the Buffs managed to overcome their shortcomings in a hurry, protecting the ball far better than they had in the season's previous three halves while shoring up their defense enough to return from Alabama with a hard-fought road win.

"I think with 3 minutes, 50 seconds to go in the second half, we had two turnovers (in the second half)," Boyle said. "Now, at the end there against their press we coughed it up a few times and we have to get better at that. But I thought for the most part our guys took much better care of the ball in the second half."

CU's upset bid against Iowa State may have succeeded if not for turnovers. During the first half against Auburn, it seemed like a repeat performance, with the Tigers compiling 16 points off 11 CU turnovers before halftime. However, the Buffaloes finally were able to flip the script, committing only six second-half turnovers.


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Sophomore guard Dom Collier, clearly upset after his six-turnover performance against Iowa State, finished with a sturdy line of eight points, five assists, one steal and just two turnovers in 23 minutes.

"For myself, I worked on taking care of the ball and I feel like I did a pretty good job of that today," Collier said. "That's what I really put my main focus on, and getting my teammates in position to score."

Auburn's hot start from 3-point land cooled abruptly, with the Tigers' 8-for-14 mark in the first half turning into a 2-for-10 struggle after halftime. The Buffs also held what is generally considered a good-shooting Iowa State team to a 2-for-10 showing from 3-point range.

Take away the torrid 5-for-5 start from 3-point range from Auburn's Kareem Canty, and the Buffs have limited their opponents to a 7-for-29 mark through two games.

"There wasn't really any adjustment. We had the same game plan as the start of the game," Collier said. "It was man-up. (Auburn) ran some offensive stuff, but really it was just one-on-one. Like getting back to the old playground, just guard your man and man-up. We took that to heart."

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07