United in disappointment.

Colorado continued its inconsistent play and poor start to the Pac-12 season with a 78-75 loss to UCLA on Saturday in front of 9,696 witnesses at the Coors Events Center.

The Buffs (11-5) fell to 1-3 in the conference and are 5-5 since climbing to No. 19 in the polls.

Askia Booker's 3-pointer from the corner, which would have completed a dramatic comeback from seven points down in the final 1:21, missed as time expired in regulation.

"These first four games haven't gone the way we want, but we still believe we can go 14-0 and become 15-3. That's just our mindset and the way we think," CU pointguard Spencer Dinwiddie said after scoring 23 points on 9-for-16 shooting.

"But being realistic, you have to clean up the things that have led to losses."

Missed free throws and defensive lapses continue to haunt the Buffs, who missed seven more free throws and allowed UCLA to make 15-of-28 field goals after the intermission.

Bruins freshman star Shabazz Muhammad -- who scored just six points during UCLA's 57-53 win at Utah -- had a 3-pointer to give the visitors a 40-34 lead early in the second half.

After Dinwiddie knocked in a 3-pointer that tied the score 42-42 with 16:07 left, the Bruins answered with an 8-1 run highlighted by a couple of Kyle Anderson baskets and a nice assist from the 6-9 freshman.

A dunk by Muhammad and a four-point play by Jordan Adams gave the Bruins a 58-45 advantage with 9:49 to play.


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"The margin for error is so thin in these games, and we're playing like the margin of error is like we're still playing Wofford or Texas Southern," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "This team is not anywhere near where we need to be right now."

The Bruins (14-3, 4-0) are in first place after picking up their ninth consecutive victory.

UCLA forced 14 CU turnovers and had a 17-4 advantage in fast break points.

"To come in here at 5,345 feet to win above sea level is a great thing," UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. "I'm really proud of our team.

Josh Scott, who Howland respected enough to double team on the post, sparked the second-half surge with two free throws and two layups.

A jumper by Dinwiddie closed the gap to 66-61.

But then 6-10 redshirt junior Travis Wear scored nine consecutive points for the Bruins, including a jumper from the baseline that made the score 70-63.

"He was the best player on the floor," Dinwiddie said. "He made it hard for everybody. ... You have to give him a lot of credit because he made it hard."

Booker and Dinwiddie hit shots from behind the arc to make it a one-possession game (74-71) with 30.6 seconds left.

Adams and Muhammad each went 1-for-2 at the line after getting fouled to keep hope alive for the home team.

Trailing 76-73 with 14.6 seconds left, Dinwiddie drove in for a quick layup. But Adams calmly made both free throws into the teeth of the C-Unit on the other end before Booker's attempt to force overtime failed.

"It felt pretty good," Booker said of the game's final shot. "I knew it was a little long though."

The Buffs trailed 35-34 at halftime after allowing UCLA to shoot 50 percent from the field and giving up 10 fast break points.

"Our game plan was to take away transition baskets," Boyle lamented. "And some of them were on made baskets."

Xavier Johnson (eight points, two rebounds) made his third career start for CU and drew two fouls on Muhammad before the first media timeout.

The Buffs took their largest lead, 23-19, after a 3-pointer by Johnson.

Wear abused Shane Harris-Tunks with a couple of easy baskets to help the Bruins surge ahead before the break.

CU's long road back to the upper half of the Pac-12 standings continues on Wednesday night in Seattle against Washington (9:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

"The conference season is long, but we're 1-3 right now and we have a home loss on our record, which stings," Boyle said. "And UCLA has two road wins."

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanThorburn

What went right

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 23 points and Josh Scott and Askia Booker added 18 points each as the Buffs mounted a dramatic late comeback. 

What went wrong

CU missed seven more free throws, allowed UCLA to shoot 51.7 percent from the field, and Booker's 3-pointer at the end of regulation missed.

Star of the game

Travis Wear scored 23 points, including nine straight for UCLA down the stretch, to lead the Bruins to their ninth consecutive win.

What's next?

The Buffs will plat at Washington on Wednesday night (9:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

UCLA 78, Colorado 75

UCLA

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Mhmmd 26 6-16 1-4 2-4 1 2 14

T Wear 33 11-17 1-1 1-4 0 2 23

Adams 34 6-11 4-5 0-1 2 2 18

Anderson 30 3-3 6-6 1-10 5 1 12

Drew II 35 0-4 0-1 0-1 5 0 0

Powell 17 3-6 0-0 2-3 0 3 7

D Wear 19 1-2 0-0 3-5 1 4 2

Parker 6 1-1 0-2 1-2 0 2 2

Totals 200 31-60 12-19 10-32 14 16 78

Percentages: FG .517, FT .632.

3-Point Goals: 4-8, .500 (Adams 2-5, Muhammad 1-1, Powell 1-1, T. Wear 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 2 (Adams, D. Wear).

Turnovers: 11 (Anderson 3, Drew II 2, Parker, Adams, Muhammad, T. Wear, D. Wear, Powell).

Steals: 9 (Drew II 4, Adams 2, Anderson, D. Wear, T. Wear).

Technical Fouls: None.

COLORADO

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Johnson 22 2-5 3-5 1-2 0 2 8

Roberson 35 2-4 1-2 1-12 2 3 5

Scott 33 6-11 6-6 6-9 0 1 18

Booker 31 6-16 4-4 0-3 1 2 18

Dinwiddie 36 9-16 3-4 0-2 2 4 23

HTunks 7 0-1 1-2 0-0 0 0 1

Chen 26 0-2 2-4 0-3 3 3 2

Adams 10 0-2 0-0 1-1 0 1 0

Totals 200 25-57 20-27 11-34 8 16 75

Percentages: FG .439, FT .741.

3-Point Goals: 5-17, .294 (Booker 2-5, Dinwiddie 2-6, Johnson 1-3, Chen 0-1, Roberson 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 0.

Turnovers: 14 (Roberson 5, Scott 2, Chen 2, Booker 2, Johnson 2, Dinwiddie).

Steals: 5 (Chen 2, Roberson 2, Booker).

Technical Fouls: None.

UCLA 35 43--78

Colorado 34 41--75

A -- NA.

Officials -- Kevin Brill, Ken Ditty, Brett Nansel.