Colorado men's basketball coach Tad Boyle still is taking applications for a defensive stopper along the perimeter.
In a deficiency familiar to Buffaloes fans, Monday's 89-83 loss against Notre Dame in the Legends Classic exposed a CU defense still vulnerable to the driving tactics of experienced, quick-footed guards.
This time it was Notre Dame's Matt Farrell who did the bulk of the damage against CU, slicing through the Buffs' defense for a slew of layups that led to a 20-point, six-assist performance for the junior guard.
"Farrell took us from the top, 25-feet from the basket, to the rim on multiple occasions. And he did it on multiple guys," Boyle said. "We've got to find somebody that can guard the ball. And look, there wasn't a ball-screen involved. He just took us to the rack and dropped us off. We've got to find somebody, a defensive stopper on the perimeter.
"I think Bryce Peters can become that, and that's why he was in late in the game, but he got took too."
Boyle was pleased with how his defense adjusted overall from the first half to the second, particularly the Buffs' transition defense. Notre Dame posted a .545 mark from the field in the first half with 11 fast-break points. The Fighting Irish went 10-for-33 in the second half, including an 0-for-5 mark from 3-point range, with just four fast-break points.
"Our transition defense was better in the second half. We didn't give them a lot of open looks in transition," Boyle said. "Our ball-screen coverage we changed midway through the first half and I think that helped us."
An ominous tone was set when Wesley Gordon, the team's top interior defender, went to the bench after just three and a half minutes after picking up his second foul.
Typically in those situations Boyle keeps players on the bench until the second half, but he admitted he toyed with the idea of re-inserting Gordon. The senior forward remained on the bench through halftime and finished with a season-low four rebounds.
"Once we started switching the ball-screens, now the question is if Wes comes back in the game and he's switched on to Farrell or one of those guys driving at him, is he going to pick up his third foul?" Boyle said. "I trust Wes, but if we had been in different ball-screen coverage and been doing it better than we were, we would've gone back to him."
Despite the late rally that fell short, the Buffs received a glowing review from Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, who has led his program to consecutive appearances in the Elite Eight.
"I never thought we were going to beat them by 20. They're too good a team," Brey said. "They're an NCAA Tournament team, and I think they're going to be pretty darn good in the Pac-12. They could make a run at the Pac-12 title, so you're not going to just put them away. I expected a run."
CU matched a season-low with 10 turnovers, though nine were charged to Derrick White (5) and George King (4)...CU's 18-for-19 showing at the free throw line was the program's best effort since a 26-for-26 performance against Georgia almost three years ago...Freshman guards Peters and Deleon Brown still have yet to commit a turnover this season, though Brown played a season-low seven minutes against the Irish.