What went right: CU shot the ball reasonably well (.466) and outrebounded UCLA 34-28.
What went wrong: 3-point defense. While UCLA is one of the top offensive teams in the nation the Bruins found far too many open looks against the CU defense, connecting on a total of 19 3-pointers.
Star of the game: Derrick White. The senior guard paced five CU players in double figures with 20 points. White went 9-for-10 at the free throw line and also added four rebounds.
What’s next: The Buffs continue their homestand Sunday night against No. 25 USC (6:30 p.m., ESPNU).
No doubt, the Colorado Buffaloes didn’t play defense the way they wanted to. And the Buffs are falling into a hole in the Pac-12 Conference that is becoming more and more difficult to climb out of.
Sometimes, though, credit must be given where credit is due. And, offensively, No. 4 UCLA is good. Very good.
Unable to slow a Bruins 3-point torrent spearheaded by senior guard Bryce Alford, CU suffered a 104-89 defeat Thursday night in a Pac-12 battle at the Coors Events Center.
UCLA, which entered the game ranked first in the league and third in the nation in scoring, became the first team to score 100 against CU since the Buffs surrendered 103 at Texas on Jan. 9, 2010 in the final season of Jeff Bzdelik’s tenure as head coach. UCLA also knocked down 19 3-pointers, falling just one short of the record by a CU opponent.
“My hat goes off to UCLA,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “I’ve been here for seven years, and every time after a loss usually I’m pointing a finger at either myself or what we didn’t do. Tonight it was as much about what UCLA did. There are times in life where you have to tip your hat to your opponent. They deserved to win. They were a better team than us tonight.
“That’s one of the things we talked about in the locker room is how we can learn from them in terms of how they move the ball, how they move without the ball, how they screen.”
The loss dropped the Buffs to 0-4 in the Pac-12, giving the program its first winless record through the first four conference games since the 2008-09 season, when CU lost its first four league games on the way to a 1-15 mark in the Big 12 Conference.
CU trailed 51-45 at halftime and remained within six points early in the second half when UCLA took charge, getting three 3-pointers from Alford in an 11-4 run that pushed the Bruins’ lead to 13 points.
UCLA’s 15th 3-pointer of the game extended the lead to 20 points with about 11 and a half minutes remaining, and the Bruins’ advantage soon topped out at 21 points.
“They came out and they started to play their UCLA basketball,” CU’s George King said. “They did a good job of pushing the pace, moving the ball. They made some shots and got going and it was hard to stop them after that point.”
The Buffs made things mildly interesting with a 9-2 run that trimmed UCLA’s lead to 14 points, and a 3-point play from CU’s Derrick White cut the deficit to 13 with seven minutes to play. But UCLA immediately reeled off the next seven points, including Alford’s sixth 3-pointer, to regain a 20-point edge.
UCLA finished 19-for-31 on 3-pointers, with Alford making 9-of-14 on a night where he scored a career-best 37 points.
Xavier Johnson led five CU players in double-figures by going 8-for-14 with a team-leading 21 points and six rebounds. White finished with 20 while King added 13 points with five rebounds.
“(UCLA) is as good an offensive team as I’ve coached against at the collegiate level in 23 years,” Boyle said. “They just move the ball and share the ball. They’re very difficult to guard in transition and in half-court.”
No. 4 UCLA 104, Colorado 89
At Coors Events Center
UCLA (17-1, 4-1)
Leaf 4-7 2-3 12, Welsh 2-7 0-0 4, Ball 3-6 3-3 11, Hamilton 7-11 2-2 20, Alfrod 11-18 6-6 37, Holiday 5-8 2-2 14, Anigbogu 2-4 0-0 4, Goloman 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 35-62 15-16 104.
Colorado (10-7, 0-4)
Gordon 3-6 6-10 12, Johnson 8-14 2-4 21, Brown 1-3 1-1 3, White 5-12 9-10 20, King 4-9 3-4 13, Akyazili 1-1 0-0 2, Miller 0-1 0-1 0, Collier 2-6 2-2 7, Peters 3-4 4-6 11, Siewert 0-1 0-0 0, Fortune 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-58 27-38 89.
3-point field goals — UCLA 19-31 (Leaf 2-2, Ball 2-5, Hamilton 4-5, Alford 9-14, Holiday 2-5); Colorado 8-19 (Johnson 3-6, Brown 0-1, White 1-4, King 2-2, Collier 1-3, Peters 1-2, Fortune 0-1). Total fouls — UCLA 25, Colorado 17. Fouled out — Welsh. Rebounds — UCLA 28 (Welsh 6); Colorado 34 (Gordon 6, Johnson 6). Assists — UCLA 16 (Ball 8); Colorado 11 (Collier 4). Fouled out — Welsh. A — 8,755.