LAS VEGAS — A year ago when the Colorado Buffaloes lost in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Conference tournament, the mood was decidedly somber.
The elimination loss against Oregon left CU two games under .500 — a first under head coach Tad Boyle — and facing the end of a run of three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
While no CU player was jumping for joy after Thursday’s 82-78 Pac-12 quarterfinal loss against Arizona, the mood was markedly less dire than last year, with the Buffs ready to wait patiently to learn their NCAA fate on Sunday.
“We have four seniors on this team and some terrific underclassmen as well, but those four seniors, there’s no question in my mind that last year’s experience and what they went through…they learned from that,” Boyle said. “I’ve always said if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. And one thing these guys did from a leadership standpoint, and it started in the spring and even summer months, is they took it upon themselves to say ‘We’re not going to go back to where we were last year.’
“This is a completely different feeling than last year. It’s still disappointing, but I’m really proud of what Josh (Scott) has done, the leadership he’s shown, as well as our other three seniors. These guys really deserve to finish their college careers on a high note, and I sure hope we get that opportunity.”
“The short answer is yes. The realistic answer is it doesn’t matter what I think.”
— Boyle, when asked if he believed his club’s resume was strong enough to warrant an NCAA Tournament bid for the fourth time in five seasons.
Fouls doom Dom
Sophomore point guard Dom Collier suffered foul trouble in both games of the Pac-12 tournament, severely limiting his effectiveness. Collier logged a total of just 27 minutes in the two games, going scoreless against Arizona while finishing with a tournament ledger of two assists and three turnovers.
The Buffs’ 51-35 rebounding advantage against Arizona included a season-most 25 offensive rebounds. That total was the program’s best since notching 26 offensive rebounds against Northern Colorado on Dec. 2, 2006, and it was the Buffs’ best postseason total since recording 26 against Oklahoma in the 1989 Big Eight tournament quarterfinal.
CU’s 51 rebounds overall was its best postseason mark since they grabbed 54 against Kansas in the quarterfinals of the Big Eight tourney in 1996.
Scott’s double-double (16 points, 13 rebounds) was his 12th of the season and 35th of his career, moving him into a tie with Scott Wedman for the ninth-most all-time at CU…Scott also has scored exactly 500 points this season, becoming the 28th Buffs player to reach that mark…Senior guard Xavier Talton moved into a tie with former teammate Askia Booker for the second-most games played in CU history with 134. The Buffs will need to win another postseason game for Talton to match Austin Dufault’s all-time record of 136 games played…The Buffs’ 58 second-half points were the most in a half by an Arizona opponent this season.