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Late push allows No. 20 CU Buffs to survive Loyola Marymount upset bid

D’Shawn Schwartz 3-pointer spurs Buffs down the stretch

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    BOULDER, CO - Dec. 4, 2019: University of Colorado's McKinley Wright IV drives to the hoop for a layup during a NCAA basketball game against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday at the Coors Event Center on the CU campus in Boulder. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    BOULDER, CO - Dec. 4, 2019: University of Colorado's Daylen Kountz gets a huge dunk late in the first-half during a NCAA basketball game against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday at the Coors Event Center on the CU campus in Boulder. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    BOULDER, CO - Dec. 4, 2019: University of Colorado's Tyler Bey takes a shot during a NCAA basketball game against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday at the Coors Event Center on the CU campus in Boulder. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Going into the 20th-ranked Colorado Buffaloes game at Arizona State, guard Maddox Daniels has been enjoying a hot streak. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    BOULDER, CO - Dec. 4, 2019: University of Colorado's Evan Battey goes for a layup over Jordan Bell during a NCAA basketball game against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday at the Coors Event Center on the CU campus in Boulder. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    BOULDER, CO - Dec. 4, 2019: University of Colorado's D'Shawn Schwartz takes a shot over Jordan Bell during a NCAA basketball game against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday at the Coors Event Center on the CU campus in Boulder. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    BOULDER, CO - Dec. 4, 2019: University of Colorado's Daylen Kountz goes for a layup over Eli Scott during a NCAA basketball game against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday at the Coors Event Center on the CU campus in Boulder. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    BOULDER, CO - Dec. 4, 2019: University of Colorado's D'Shawn Schwartz takes a shot over Ivan Alipiey during a NCAA basketball game against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday at the Coors Event Center on the CU campus in Boulder. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    BOULDER, CO - Dec. 4, 2019: University of Colorado's McKinley Wright IV gets fouled during a NCAA basketball game against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday at the Coors Event Center on the CU campus in Boulder. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    BOULDER, CO - Dec. 4, 2019: University of Colorado's Shane Gatling takes a shot during a NCAA basketball game against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday at the Coors Event Center on the CU campus in Boulder. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Seven-footer Dallas Walton could be called upon to help defensively against Kansas standout Udoka Azubuike. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

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It was not at all the final tune-up the Colorado Buffaloes wanted before their biggest game in years.

It still was a win, and the 20th-ranked Buffs improved to 7-0, but head coach Tad Boyle will have plenty of talking points over the next few days before CU hits the road for a much-anticipated date at No. 2 Kansas.

The Buffs survived another turnover-plagued effort and converted big baskets down the stretch Wednesday night to hold off Loyola Marymount for a 76-64 win at the CU Events Center.

No CU opponent had shot better than .408 against the Buffs’ defense through the season’s first six games, but the Lions managed to post a .519 mark in large part because of 18 CU turnovers that Loyola Marymount often turned into easy transition buckets. Even in the half-court attack, Loyola Marymount proved adept at getting to the rim and finished the game with a whopping 48 points in the paint.

D’Shawn Schwartz made the big shot for the Buffs down the stretch, knocking down a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 41 seconds remaining that broke a 61-61 tie and started CU on a game-clinching 15-1 run.

“They had (48) points in the paint. They were just driving us and we’ve got to guard the ball better,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “Fifty-two percent in our building, that should never happen. But we told our team coming into this game Loyola was 13th in the nation in field goal percentage. We were 270th and I’m not sure we moved up shooting 41 percent. Loyola, they’ve got some good players. They’ve got a lot of young players. They’re going to be good as they grow and develop.”

After getting away with a season-most 19 turnovers in a win last week against Sacramento State, Boyle and the Buffs preached ball security leading into the first matchup against Loyola Marymount in 19 years. It didn’t happen, as the Buffs committed turnovers on their first two offensive possessions of the game before finishing with 18, leading to a 24-19 advantage for the Lions in points off turnovers.

Still, the Buffs committed their 17th turnover with a little over 14 minutes remaining and committed just one more the rest of the way.

“They didn’t force us into turnovers,” CU point guard McKinley Wright said. “We did it upon ourselves. One-hand catches. One-hand passes. Not coming to two-foot jump-stops. Just making the wrong reads. We know that we have to cut those down for Saturday. We can do that. We’ve shown it before.”

CU scored the game’s first eight points and led by four with seven and a half minutes left in the first half when Loyola Marymount started taking advantage of the Buffs’ miscues. The Lions put together a 14-2 run to take an eight-point lead late in the first half, though CU cut the deficit to 34-30 at the break.

Marymount extended its lead to 43-34 early in the second half before CU finally began chipping away, eventually regaining the lead for the first time since midway through the first half with a 9-1 run capped by a Lucas Siewert 3-pointer.

Four players finished in double figures for the Buffs, with Schwartz and Wright scoring 16 points apiece. Wright also recorded six rebounds and five assists, and he will go into the Kansas showdown needing only three points to become the 35th member of CU’s 1,000-point club.

Tyler Bey posted 13 points, nine rebounds, and a career-high-matching five blocked shots. After starting the game 3-for-7 on free throws, the Buffs went 17-for-21 at the line in the second half and finished 25-for-33 overall.

“Number one, we have to tip our cap to them. And number two, we make it really hard on ourselves,” Boyle said. “We have to make the game simpler and easier, and the way you do that is just making simple and easy plays. Right now, some of our guys aren’t doing that. You don’t make simple plays and turn it over 18 or 19 times like we have the last two games, respectively. We’ve got to get better. But there were some really good things I thought in the second half, in terms of offense. I thought we had some really good possessions.”

Fast break

What went right: CU went 17-for-21 at the free throw line in the second half and outrebounded Loyola Marymount 38-30.

What went wrong: Turnovers. After recording a season-high 19 in their previous game against Sacramento State, the Buffs committed 18 against Loyola Marymount, which posted a 24-19 advantage for the Lions on points off turnovers.

Star of the game: D’Shawn Schwartz. The junior from Colorado Springs knocked down four 3-pointers, including the shot that finally gave the Buffs the lead for good with about 2:41 left, before finishing with 16 points.

What’s next: The 20th-ranked Buffs visit No. 2 Kansas on Saturday (5 p.m. MT, ESPN2)..

No. 20 COLORADO 76, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT 64

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT (3-5)
Scott 12-20 6-9 31, Alipiev 2-3 0-0 5, Leaupepe 0-1 0-1 0, Jawara 1-2 0-0 3, Johansson 0-2 0-0 0, dos Anjos 0-1 0-1 0, Dortch 3-7 0-0 6, Williams 4-8 1-5 9, Zivanovic 4-6 0-1 8, Bell 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 27-52 7-17 64.
COLORADO (7-0)
Battey 2-5 4-6 8, Wright 4-10 8-11 16, Parquet 0-0 0-0 0, Schwartz 5-9 2-3 16, Bey 3-6 6-6 13, Siewert 1-3 0-0 3, Walton 0-3 0-0 0, Gatling 3-8 1-2 8, Kountz 4-6 3-3 11, Daniels 0-4 1-2 1. Totals 22-54 25-33 76.
Halftime — Loyola Marymount 34-30. 3-point goals — Loyola Marymount 3-9 (Jawara 1-2, Scott 1-2, Alipiev 1-2, Leaupepe 0-1, Johansson 0-2), Colorado 7-21 (Schwartz 4-7, Bey 1-1, Siewert 1-2, Gatling 1-5, Wright 0-1, Walton 0-1, Kountz 0-1, Daniels 0-3). Fouled out — Williams. Rebounds — Loyola Marymount 30 (Scott 10), Colorado 38 (Bey 9). Assists — Loyola Marymount 7 (Jawara, Alipiev 2), Colorado 9 (Wright 5). Total fouls – Loyola Marymount 30, Colorado 16. Technicals – Scott, Loyola Marymount team. A – 6,169.