CU men's basketball schedule
Nov. 11 - Ft. Lewis 57, CU 85
Nov. 17 - Wichita State 67, CU 58
Nov. 18 - Maryland 78, CU 71
Nov. 20 - CU 81, W. Michigan 76
Nov. 23 - Air Force 73, CU 76, OT
Nov. 28 - CU 70, Georgia 68
Nov. 30 - CU 64, Colorado State 65
Dec. 7 - CU 71, Fresno State 64
Dec. 9 - Wyoming 65, CU 54
Dec. 19 - CU 70, CSU Bakersfield 64
Dec. 22 - CU 56, Texas Southern 51
Dec. 28 - CU 92, New Orleans 34
Dec. 31 - CU 73, Utah 33
Jan. 5 - CU 87, Washington 69
Jan. 7 - CU 71, Washington State 60
Jan. 12 - Cal 57, CU 50
Jan. 14 - Stanford 84, CU 64
Jan. 19 - CU 69, Arizona State 54
Jan. 21 - CU 64, Arizona 63
Jan. 26 - CU 74, USC 50
Jan. 28 - UCLA 77, CU 60
Feb. 2 - CU 83, Oregon State 57
Feb. 4 - CU 72, Oregon 71
Feb. 9 - Arizona 71, CU 57
Feb. 11 - CU 63, Arizona State 49
Feb. 18 - CU 55, Utah 48
Feb. 23 - Stanford 74, CU 50
Feb. 26 - Colorado 70, California 57
Mar. 1 - Oregon 90, CU 81
Mar. 3 - Oregon State 83, CU 69
March 7 - Pac-12 Tournament: CU vs. Utah, 9:40 p.m. at Los Angeles, Calif.
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Twenty wins. A first-round bye at the conference tournament. Solidifying a spot in the NIT and/or getting back into NCAA Tournament consideration.
The Buffs had a lot to play for entering the final weekend of Pac-12 play.
And somewhere along their Oregon trail, Tad Boyle's team got lost.
Colorado, which began the road trip in pursuit of a top-four finish, gave up 173 points while getting swept down the standings.
The Buffs now have been blown out in three of their last four games after suffering an 83-69 drubbing by Oregon State on Saturday at Gill Coliseum.
"We're playing like the world owes us something right now. The world doesn't owe us anything," Boyle said outside a depressing visitors locker room. "Our season will be over in the blink of an eye if we don't figure it out."
Boyle and Co. were in contention for a piece of the Pac-12 title until Stanford whipped them 74-50 on Feb. 23. The late-season collapse, coupled with UCLA's sweep of the Washington schools, dropped the Buffs down to the No. 6 seed at the Pac-12 Tournament.
CU will play No. 11 Utah in the opening round at 9:40 p.m. on Wednesday night at the Staples Center.
Athletic director Mike Bohn believes the Buffs (19-11, 11-7) are still in solid position to earn an NIT bid and to host at least one home game. In the unlikely event that CU regroups and wins four games in four nights in Los Angeles, it would steal a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
"We've got 19 wins and we've got a young team," Bohn said. "We've run into some tough-shooting teams, but we feel good about that (the NIT) possibility.
CU actually took a 32-30 lead over the Beavers on a Carlon Brown 3-pointer early in the second half.
A four-point play by Jared Cunningham followed by an Angus Brandt 3-pointer gave the Beavers a 41-34 advantage with 16:40 remaining.
And then Ahmad Starks happened. The 5-foot-9 sophomore guard played like Gary Payton used to back in the day at Gill Coliseum.
Starks, who was averaging 12.2 points and did not score in the first half, went on a personal 14-0 run that included an and-one and a three 3-pointers to make the score 55-36 with 12:26 to play.
"He made some tough shots," CU point guard Nate Tomlinson said of Starks, who went 7-for-11 from the field with 18 points, five assists and two turnovers. "He got hot and we couldn't cool him down."
A Jeremy Adams hoops cut CU's federal-like deficit from 24 points down to 69-54, but that would be as close as the Buffs could get.
The Buffs committed 14 turnovers, gave up 10 offensive rebounds and missed 14 free throws to finish 3-6 on the road in Pac-12 play.
"It's mental," Askia Booker said of CU's recent defensive struggles. "We're not going to play anymore games until the tournament, so until then we just have to mentally prepare ourselves."
CU was outscored 54-40 in the second half of Thursday's 90-81 loss at Oregon.
The Beavers (17-13, 7-11) won this second half 53-42.
"You're not going to win this time of year if you don't guard in the second half," Boyle said.
CU trailed 30-27 at halftime after committing 11 turnovers that led to 13 points and allowing six offensive rebounds that added up to 10 more points for the home team.
The Buffs had a 20-15 edge on the glass and held Oregon State to 39.2 percent from the field. The Beavers also missed six free throws in the first half.
Booker had nine of his team-high 15 points before the break and made a 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left to keep the visitors in the game.
"I thought we were fortunate to be down only three at half for as poorly as we played in the first half," Boyle said. "But our defensive effort in the second half was atrocious. It was embarrassing, quite frankly. For that I'm not real happy."