What went right: Not much, though 18 second-chance points off 15 offensive rebounds was a bright spot.
What went wrong: Turnovers and rebounding. Oregon turned 14 CU turnovers into 21 points. And while the Buffaloes claimed a 42-38 overall rebounding advantage, the Ducks recorded 12 second-chance points.
Star of the game: George King. It wasn’t the sophomore’s best shooting night (6-for-19), but King scored seven consecutive points in a 13-2 second-half run that briefly kept the game close. King also led CU with eight rebounds.
What’s next?: The Buffs complete their two-game swing through Oregon by visiting Oregon State on Saturday, 6:30 p.m. MST.
EUGENE, Ore. — The game plan, according to Colorado Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle, was simple.
In order to pick up the sort of marquee road win that has proven elusive to CU this season, Boyle knew his Buffs needed to limit their turnovers and dominate the glass in order to knock off No. 16 Oregon on Thursday night.
CU did neither.
The Ducks took advantage of 14 CU turnovers to produce 21 points, while also adding another 12 second-chance points. It all added up to a 76-56 victory for Oregon, which retained sole possession of first-place in the Pac-12 Conference.
“There was two points of emphasis to beat the Oregon Ducks — one was to take care of the ball, and the other was to limit them to one shot,” Boyle said. “They had 33 points in those two categories … and we lose by 20. Those are things we can control. We can box out. We can take care of the ball. But we get four points of their turnovers, they get 21 off ours. That’s the ball game.”
Oregon reeled off an early 10-0 run and never looked back, netting 11 points off eight CU turnovers in the first half. The Buffs started the game 3-for-18 from the field and never found a rhythm offensively, finishing 6-for-20 from 3-point range. The top free-throw shooting team in the league, CU’s frustrations even extended to the charity stripe, where they finished just 6-for-14.
Oregon extended its lead to 22 points early in the second half before the Buffs attempted to rally, using a 13-2 run to trim the Ducks’ lead to 46-35. Minutes later a George King 3-pointer brought CU within 10 points, but Oregon promptly answered with an 11-2 run that essentially put the game out of reach.
“In terms of shooting the ball, I don’t know what’s going on in terms of why we’re not hitting,” senior forward Josh Scott said. “We had good looks for the first five minutes, we just didn’t hit them. That’s on each person to a man to figure that out.”
It was the second consecutive game in which the Buffs dug themselves a hole with poor shooting early. CU (17-6, 6-4 Pac-12) was able to bounce back from a 1-for-19 start in a home win Sunday against Cal, but an Oregon team that committed just six turnovers proved much tougher to rally against.
“It wasn’t the start that killed us tonight. It was the 40 minutes of basketball that killed us tonight,” Boyle said. “We got good looks. We didn’t make them. Our defense kept us in the game the other night. Tonight our defense didn’t keep us in the game.”
Scott led the Buffs with 17 points and seven rebounds, while King added 16 points and a team-leading eight rebounds despite a tough 6-for-19 night from the floor.
Four players scored in double figures for the Ducks, led by 18 points from Elgin Cook.
CU will be tasked with shaking off the setback in a hurry, as the Buffs visit Oregon State on Saturday night. In the team’s two previous road trips in Pac-12 play, the Buffs dropped the opener but managed to win the finale and not return home empty-handed.
“The next game is going to be that much bigger, because this game kind of weighs on you a little bit,” King said. “This one is gone, but you never want to go home 0-2 on the road.”
Pat Rooney: email@example.com or twitter.com/prooney07
No. 16 OREGON 76, COLORADO 56
Gordon 0-3 0-0 0, Collier 2-7 0-1 5, King 6-19 1-2 16, Scott 7-12 3-8 17, Fortune 2-6 0-0 5, Talton 0-6 0-0 0, Stalzer 0-0 0-0 0, Fletcher 1-5 0-0 3, Miller 4-7 2-3 10. Totals 22-65 6-14 56.
Benson 3-6 1-2 9, Dorsey 3-12 5-6 13, Cook 7-16 4-4 18, Brooks 4-8 1-1 10, Boucher 2-8 2-2 7, Benjamin 4-8 1-2 11, Bell 2-3 4-4 8, Heller 0-0 0-0 0, Noebel 0-0 0-0 0, Small 0-0 0-0 0, Sorkin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-61 18-21 76.
Halftime_Oregon 40-21. 3-Point Goals_Colorado 6-20 (King 3-7, Collier 1-4, Fortune 1-4, Fletcher 1-4, Talton 0-1), Oregon 8-24 (Benson 2-4, Benjamin 2-5, Dorsey 2-6, Brooks 1-3, Boucher 1-5, Cook 0-1). Fouled Out_Brooks. Rebounds_Colorado 42 (King 8), Oregon 38 (Boucher 12). Assists_Colorado 12 (Talton 5), Oregon 11 (Brooks 3). Total Fouls_Colorado 18, Oregon 17. Technicals_Fletcher, Fortune, Brooks, Dorsey. A_7,226.