Fast break

What went right: The Buffs fought all night and kept the game fairly close until the closing minutes.

What went wrong: CU missed too many shots, especially close the basket. The Buffs also had 17 turnovers and gave up 11 offensive rebounds.

Star of the game: Askia Booker. The junior stepped up his game and was as efficient as he's been on offense at any time in his career. He scored 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including a career-high five 3-pointers.

What's next?: The Buffs host Southern Cal on Saturday at noon.

Leading up to Thursday's game against UCLA, there was a lot of speculation as to how good the Colorado men's basketball team could be without its leader.

Playing without Spencer Dinwiddie for the first time in three years, Buffs head coach Tad Boyle learned something about this squad.

"This team is going to be OK," Boyle said. "It's just, we just weren't good enough tonight."

The 21st-ranked Buffaloes fought hard, but just didn't have enough firepower, as they fell to No. 25 UCLA, 69-56, at Coors Events Center.

CU (14-4, 3-2 Pac-12) has lost two in a row for the first time this season and lost at home for the first time this season, dropping to 11-1 at the CEC.

"That was a winnable basketball game," Boyle said. "It had nothing to do with Spencer being out and Fletch being out. It had everything to do with we just didn't do what we needed to do to win that game."

Dinwiddie tore the ACL in his left knee on Sunday at Washington. Freshman reserve Tre'Shaun Fletcher also injured his left knee that day and will miss six to eight weeks.

The Buffs didn't have a lot of time to prepare for facing one of the most talented teams in the country.

Dinwiddie had started all 86 games of his career up until Thursday and watched the game from the bench. Although CU kept the game within striking distance, they missed their leader.

"It's rough," junior Askia Booker said. "I mean, he's the third amigo. He's one of our best scorers. He's the best, probably, player on the team. It's rough playing without him.

"Personally for me, I still have to get over it."

Booker stepped up and played a solid game, leading the Buffs with 21 points. Center Josh Scott was very good, too, finishing with 19 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Together, they were 14-for-23 from the floor.

Unfortunately for the Buffs. they got very little production from the rest of the lineup.

Aside from Booker and Scott, the rest of the Buffs went 6-for-27 from the floor, including 0-for-10 from 3-point range, and combined for 16 points.

"There's no more excuses," Booker said. "We just have to keep fighting, stand by one another. We have to make up for (losing Dinwiddie). Someone on this team besides Josh and I is going to have to step up. Tonight kind of showed it. We missed a lot of easy put-backs and layups and we need those at this point in time."

Norman Powell led the Bruins (14-3, 3-1) with 19 points, while Jordan Adams had 14 points and 13 rebounds. David Wear added 11 points.

It was Adams who killed the Buffs, especially in the second half. The Bruins made just 30.6 percent of their shots in the second half, but had seven offensive boards in the final 20 minutes. Adams had six offensive rebounds and eight points after intermission.

"Jordan Adams manhandled us," Boyle said. "He was the difference in the game in the second half - no ifs, ands or buts, question marks. He manhandled our entire team and there was not one answer we had for him. That's disappointing."

CU kept the game within reach most of the night. The Buffs were down seven at the half, but Booker and Scott led them back. Scott hit a handful of free throws and Booker a 3 as CU cut the Bruins' lead to 42-39 with 14:33 to go.

UCLA extended the lead again, though, going up 49-41 with 12:40 to go.

CU then held the Bruins scoreless for five minutes, but couldn't capitalize on offense. While UCLA couldn't score in those five minutes, CU went 1-for-7 from the floor and 1-for-3 at the free throw line, knocking just three points off the Bruins' lead during that stretch.

With 5 minutes to go, UCLA's Kyle Anderson got a steal and an assist to Powell for a dunk. That gave the Bruins their biggest lead of the night at the time, 58-46.

CU responded with a quick 5-0 spurt, but could never catch up to the Bruins, falling to 0-3 against them since joining the Pac-12.

"I think overall we played hard," Scott said. "We just didn't do the little things it took to be in the game.

"No one here wanted to lose or make excuses. It just wasn't good enough."

Contact BuffZone.com Writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/brianhowell33.