LOS ANGELES — — The Colorado men's basketball team features one of the best big men in the Pac-12 Conference in Josh Scott.
During the second half on Thursday, though, the Buffaloes looked elsewhere.
The Buffs made just three of 15 shots from 3-point range in the second half of a 92-74 loss to UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, while Scott took just four shots.
"We fell in love with the 3," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "We've got to play through Josh, we've got to attack the rim, we've got to get to the free throw line. Sometimes our guys think the answer is the 3. The 3 is a big part of any offense, and it's a great equalizer in college basketball, but when you live by it, you're going to die by it, and we took too many in the second half."
Scott finished with 20 points, but had just seven in the second half.
The Buffs got especially 3-happy during UCLA's game-changing 11-0 run. CU went 0-for-3 from beyond the arc during that run, and then relied too much on the 3 in an effort to get back in the game late - going 0-for-7 in the final eight minutes.
"We can't just be taking them out of nowhere or early in the shot clock," said junior Askia Booker, who was 2-for-7 from 3. "That's something I have to work on, as well, especially. I got a little shot crazy. Same thing with (Xavier) Johnson. But I think we'll be fine coming into Sunday."
Although he struggled from 3-point range, Booker finished with a career-high 12 assists. He tied his previous career high of seven by halftime.
It marked just the seventh time in CU history that a player has had as many as 12 assists in a game, and the first time since Jose Winston had a school-record 15 against Coppin State on Jan. 2, 2001.
"I'm just trying to get everybody involved, especially in transition," he said. "I feel like I'm one of the fastest guards in this league or maybe in the country when I have the ball in my hands. When I draw everybody, I try to find the open man and I think I'm getting better at making the right decision."
With 16 points, as well, Booker had the first double-double of his career. He also had just two turnovers.
Boyle is a staunch believer in man-to-man defense, so it was surprising to see him start the game with his players in a zone defense. It even surprised the players.
"It threw me off, personally," Johnson said.
It didn't take long for Boyle to go back to man defense. UCLA opened up a 13-5 lead during the first 4:15 against the CU zone.
"I didn't like our matchups (going into the game)," Boyle said of why he went with a zone early. "UCLA is a really hard team to match up against. I just thought the zone might throw them off.
"The whole idea behind the zone is to make them make jump shots over your hand. They got wide-open shots against our zone and they got layups, so it wasn't a very good coaching move on my part, that's for sure."
Wesley Gordon (twisted left ankle) missed his second straight game for the Buffs. Tre'Shaun Fletcher (left knee) hasn't played since Jan. 12, but did go through warm-ups for the first time since then. Boyle said he's not sure when either will play but "they're both getting close." ... CU is now 12-1 this season when holding a double-digit lead. ... The Buffs were out-rebounded 37-27, their worst margin of the season in that category.