Inspiration always can arrive in many forms. And after his club's discouraging two-point loss against Oregon State Thursday night, Colorado men's basketball coach Tad Boyle found it in the form of a fan letter.

After his team's thorough 73-51 dismantling of Oregon on Saturday night at the CU Events Center, Boyle shared the story of a letter he received from Dan Cashmore, a 2007 CU graduate and a first responder with Mountain View Fire and Rescue.

Boyle didn't share the particulars of Cashmore's letter, but he did recount Cashmore's memories of the moribund state of the basketball program during his college days, and how the heightened expectations that grew from the success early in Boyle's tenure have also caused the heartache from losses like Thursday's to sting a little more fervently.

Boyle said he shared the letter with his team prior to their pregame meal Saturday.

"I thought it gave great perspective of where this program is today relative to where it's been," Boyle said. "After losses like Thursday that are gut-wrenching for coaches, they're gut-wrenching for players, they're gut-wrenching for fans, he brought perspective to where this program is and the fact our expectation levels have risen externally, internally. With our coaches, with our fans. But let's not forget where it's been.

"When he was a student you could throw a rock in this place and not hit anybody. So it's changed. The expectation level has changed. When you have a loss like that, people are upset. And they should be. But that's a testament to the players that have before, and it helped turned this thing into a place where we can have a crowd like we did tonight after a tough loss on Thursday, and our team responds."


Long distance support

For the first time in his three years at Colorado, the parents of forward Alex Strating were able to make the trip to the Netherlands to take in a pair of Buffaloes games. It was good timing, as Strating put together the most impactful performance of his career in Thursday night's loss against Oregon State, going 2-for-2 from the floor with a career-best five points.


Oregon's six assists was a season-low. The Ducks' 53 points matched CU's 68-53 win against Charlotte on Dec. 25 as the lowest total by a Buffs opponent this season...CU freshman Eli Parquet grabbed a season-best five rebounds. Parquet also recorded a pair of blocked shots...In an odd statistical twist, the Buffs suffered three more turnovers than Oregon (14-11) but enjoyed a 14-8 advantage in points off turnovers. The Ducks were unable to turn any of CU's nine first-half turnovers into points...Oregon went just 4-for-25 on 3-pointers, lowering CU's defensive field goal percentage to .297 in Pac-12 games and .307 overall...Saturday's attendance of 8,654 was the largest this season at the CU Events Center...ESPN announced that next week's game at USC will air on ESPNU.

Pat Rooney: or