Earlier this week, Colorado basketball coach Tad Boyle lamented the number of guards in his team’s rotation that have not been playing up to their potential.
It appears Josh Fortune’s playing time might be the biggest casualty among those underachieving guards.
For the first time this season Fortune was not in the starting lineup Thursday against No. 4 UCLA, with freshman Deleon Brown getting the nod with his first career start.
While it was easy to understand why Fortune, mired in a shooting slump, would be sent to the bench, he also seemingly was well out of the rotation against the Bruins. The senior played only three minutes, all in the first half.
After the Buffs’ 104-89 defeat head coach Tad Boyle declined to discuss the personnel move, saying only it was “a coach’s decision.” Fortune’s three minutes was by far the fewest he has played since joining the Buffs prior to last season. Fortune’s previous low was 14 minutes, a mark he hit in the Pac-12 Conference opener at Utah in addition to three times last year.
Fortune missed his lone attempt, a 3-pointer, and also had a turnover that led to CU points. That errant shot leaves Fortune with an 0-for-9 mark on 3-pointers in league play. Brown finished with three points, two rebounds, no assists and no turnovers in 16 minutes.
CU freshman Bryce Peters enjoyed an opportunity to play in front of his uncle, former NBA star and current UCLA radio analyst Tracy Murray. Though Murray, a UCLA alum, provides Peters with a strong family tie to the Bruins, Peters actually grew up a USC fan and is looking forward to reconnecting with a couple old friends when the No. 25-ranked Trojans visit Sunday night.
“I was always a USC kind of guy,” said Peters, a southern California native from La Puente. “My parents like USC and my mom thought about going there for a while. I went to a lot of football games, and one of my good friends is (USC guard) Jordan McLaughlin. We played on the same travel team. I know him and (guard) Jonah Mathews on that team. They’re like my brothers and I kind of grew up with them, so I’ve been looking forward to that game.”
Peters enjoyed perhaps his best game of the season against the Bruins, going 3-for-4 from the floor and 4-for-6 at the free throw line to finish with a season-best 11 points.
Recruit Evan Battey, who signed with Colorado in November, attended Thursday’s game…Dom Collier posted a season-high four assists…The Buffs’ 11 turnovers matched their lowest total so far in Pac-12 play.