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CU basketball notes: Buffs waste Lucas Siewert’s career-best effort in loss to Northern Iowa

Buffs’ breakdowns on either side of halftime prove critical

BOULDER, CO - Dec. 10, 2019: University of Colorado's Lucas Siewert shoots after a technical foul during an NCAA game against Northern Iowa on Tuesday at the Coors Event Center in Boulder. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER, CO – Dec. 10, 2019: University of Colorado’s Lucas Siewert shoots after a technical foul during an NCAA game against Northern Iowa on Tuesday at the Coors Event Center in Boulder. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

Afterward, Lucas Siewert wasn’t in much of a mood to celebrate. Not after the Colorado Buffaloes lost on their home floor.

Still, a stunning 79-76 defeat Tuesday night for the 24th-ranked Buffs might have been much worse if not for the effort of Siewert, who finished with a career-high 21 points in the loss.

“I just got into a rhythm early in the game,” Siewert said. “It wasn’t enough to get the result we wanted, so it doesn’t really matter much.”

Siewert came off the bench to knock down his first five shots, including three 3-pointers, to shoot the Buffs into an early lead. His final 3-pointer with about 10:38 remaining gave the Buffs their first lead of the second half. It also gave Siewert a career-high five made 3-pointers, eclipsing the four he had connected on in three previous games.

Siewert’s previous career-high scoring effort was 19 points last year at Hawaii. His 21 points Tuesday also was the most by a CU player this season.

Halftime headaches

No doubt, the Buffs were out-executed down the stretch. Yet their play on either side of halftime is what gave Northern Iowa the opportunity to be in the game late.

Two Tyler Bey free throws gave CU a 32-25 lead with 3:58 left in the first half, but those would be the Buffs final points of the period. Northern Iowa finished the first half on an 8-0 run to take a 33-32 lead at the break and added the first 11 points of the second half to build a 44-32 lead.

“I look at the last four minutes of the first half and we had a (seven) point lead and I said, ‘The next four minutes guys are big, big-time in the game. We can expand this lead by getting stops and getting scores.’ But it went the other way,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “That four-minute stretch really hurt us, and then obviously coming out of halftime our guys weren’t ready to play.”

Notable

CU point guard McKinley Wright IV countered a season-high six assists with a season-most five turnovers, including two in the final three and a half minutes that led to Northern Iowa buckets. Wright scored 16 points and moved past Andre Roberson and Chauncey Billups into 33rd-place on CU’s all-time scoring list…The Buffs saw a 12-game home court win streak come to an end…CU recorded 12 steals, reaching double-figures for the fourth time this season. The Buffs posted only five double-figure games over the past three seasons combined…Northern Iowa’s 14 3-pointers was the most by a CU opponent this season. No previous team had connected on more than eight against the Buffs. It was just the fifth time since the start of the 2010-11 season (Boyle’s first at CU) that CU allowed at least 14 3-pointers.

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