What went right: The Buffs outrebounded Oregon State 47-20 and compiled 20 second-chance points.
What went wrong: Turnovers, again. A season-high 24 CU giveaways led to 21 points for OSU.
Star of the game: Tre'Shaun Fletcher. The junior scored all 15 of his points in the second half to lead CU's comeback attempt. He also finished with a season-bests of six rebounds and two steals.
What's next?: The Buffs return home to face Washington on Thursday at 8 p.m.
CORVALLIS, Ore. — It is becoming a tired refrain for the Colorado Buffaloes.
Despite a commendable second-half rally with their best player sitting on the bench, the CU men's basketball team continued to show its turnover plague seemingly has no cure. In the end the giveaways proved too much to overcome, as a series of late free throws by Oregon State allowed the Beavers to escape with a 60-56 victory at Gill Coliseum Saturday night.
CU committed a season-high 24 turnovers, which led to 21 points for the Beavers. The loss marked the first time this season the Buffs have dropped consecutive Pac-12 Conference games, a trend they will try to reverse Thursday when Washington State visits Boulder.
"We'd better figure it out, because (turnovers) is one of our Achilles heels," head coach Tad Boyle said. "There's two Achilles heels this team has, and one of them is turnovers. One is free throw box-outs. Those two things cost us the game.
"Quite frankly, you turn the ball over 24 times, how are you even in the game? That says something about our guys' competitiveness and fight and desire. But, you don't take care of the ball and you put so much pressure on your defense...it's frustrating on a lot of different levels."
CU trailed 30-19 at halftime and appeared doomed when leading scorer and rebounder Josh Scott limped to the bench with a left ankle injury late in the first half. Scott did not return, but the Buffs nonetheless were able to rally behind a spirited second-half surge led by Tre'Shaun Fletcher and Xavier Talton.
A pair of Talton 3-pointers immediately after the break set the second-half tone, and Fletcher came off the bench to contribute 15 points, scoring all of them after halftime. Fletcher also was credited with six rebounds but kept several more loose-ball situations alive under the basket for his teammates to clean up.
"That's a hard way to win a game with 24 turnovers," Talton said. "I'm going down swinging with all those guys. I think they all have great fight in them, and they're all competitive. Fletch came out and showed that really well."
The game was tied 52-52 with three and a half minutes remaining when Oregon State senior Gary Payton II made 1-of-2 free throws gave the hosts a one-point lead. After CU committed a shot-clock violation, Payton drove through the Buffs' defense for an easy bucket that extended OSU's lead to 55-52 with 2:17 to go.
Talton, though, delivered the shot of the game with another 3-pointer that beat the shot clock buzzer, tying the game at 55-55 with just under two minutes to play.
But two free throws from OSU's Stephen Thompson Jr. gave the Beavers a 57-55 lead with 28.3 seconds left, and CU's George King made just 1-of-2 with 14.8 seconds to go. Thompson made 1-of-2 at the other end to make it 58-56. However, on Thompson's missed second attempt OSU senior Payton II was able to come away with the rebound, and his two free throws with 11.2 seconds remaining sealed CU's fate.
Wesley Gordon recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. But it was enough for a Buffs team that received just one point apiece from its top two scorers, Scott and King.
"We lost that game in the first half tonight," Boyle said. "You're two leading scorers, you get one point out of one, you get one point out of the other one, and we have a chance to win a game on the road. That says a lot about this team. You can take a lot of negatives from it, which obviously we're going to do, but there's some positives hopefully we can build upon individually that will hopefully help this team win some games down the stretch."
Oregon State 60, Colorado 56
Gordon 5-9 3-4 13, Scott 0-3 1-2 1, Talton 3-5 0-1 9, Collier 2-6 1-2 6, King 0-6 1-2 1, Akyazili 0-2 0-0 0, Fletcher 6-9 2-2 15, Miller 3-5 2-2 8, Fortune 1-8 1-2 3. Totals 20-53 11-17 56.
OREGON ST. (14-8)
Tinkle 3-7 1-2 7, Eubanks 0-1 2-2 2, Schaftenaar 1-7 0-0 3, Payton II 5-13 5-7 17, Duvivier 2-5 1-2 6, Thompson Jr. 5-7 3-4 14, Bruce 0-2 2-4 2, N'diaye 0-0 0-0 0, Morris-Walker 1-3 0-0 3, Rakocevic 0-2 2-4 2, Reid 1-4 2-2 4. Totals 18-51 18-27 60.
Halftime — Oregon St. 30-19. 3-point goals — Colorado 5-17 (Talton 3-4, Collier 1-2, Fletcher 1-3, King 0-1, Miller 0-1, Gordon 0-1, Akyazili 0-2, Fortune 0-3), Oregon St. 6-19 (Payton II 2-3, Thompson Jr. 1-2, Morris-Walker 1-2, Duvivier 1-3, Schaftenaar 1-5, Bruce 0-1, Tinkle 0-3). Fouled out — Talton. Rebounds — Colorado 47 (Gordon 11), Oregon St. 29 (Payton II 6). Assists — Colorado 8 (Collier, Talton 3), Oregon St. 7 (Payton II 4). Total fouls_Colorado 20, Oregon St. 17. A_6,517.