CU basketball notes: Buffs now clinging to spot in race for Pac-12’s top four

D’Shawn Schwartz suffers second scoreless outing in past four games

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BERKELEY, Calif. — Despite Thursday’s deflating loss at Cal, Colorado still is not out of the race for the Pac-12 Conference regular season championship. The road to get there got much further out of the Buffaloes’ own hands, however, and as it stands going into Saturday’s action, the Buffs might still need help to just to finish in the top four and secure a first-round bye at the Pac-12 Conference tournament.

Thursday’s loss dropped the Buffs to 10-6 in the league. CU will go into Saturday’s play one game back of three teams in the loss column, with Oregon and UCLA at 11-5 and Arizona State at 10-5. The Buffs also are even in the loss column with 9-6 Arizona, which holds the tiebreaker over CU.

Arizona and UCLA square off on Saturday, while ASU faces a tough road test at USC. Given UCLA and Arizona hold tiebreakers over the Buffs, those teams’ matchup on Saturday presents a conundrum for Buffs fans. A win by Arizona would aid CU’s dwindling chances of a conference title. Yet a win by the Bruins would give the Buffs slightly more leeway in landing a top-four spot and a first-round bye in the league tournament.

Regardless, any scenario will require a Buffs win Sunday at Stanford, and again next week in the regular season finale at Utah.

“We’ve got to win the next two games and keep our fingers crossed,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “If we don’t win the next game, forget league titles, forget seedings in the Pac-12 tournaments and first-round byes. We’ve just got to win the next game against Stanford. It’s not going to be easy.”

The nose No’s

After suffering a broken nose at Oregon State on Feb. 15, D’Shawn Schwartz bounced back last week by going 4-for-8 with three 3-pointers and 11 points in a home win against USC. Schwartz was 2-for-4 early in the second half in the following game against UCLA before taking a shot that started the blood flowing anew from his nose.

Schwartz retreated to the locker room to regroup, and though he returned to the floor a few minutes later, the same player has yet to resurface. Schwartz missed his only shot attempt the rest of the way against UCLA, and during Thursday’s loss at Cal he went scoreless, going 0-for-8 overall and 0-for-5 on 3-pointers.

In the game in which he got injured at Oregon State, Schwartz also went scoreless while going 0-for-8. He had not been held without a point since his fifth game of last season, but now has gone without a point in two of the past four games. Schwartz still owns a .386 3-point percentage, yet he has gone 3-for-16 from the arc over those past four games.

Notable

CU went 6-for-29 on 3-pointers against Cal and is 11-for-48 (.229) in the past two games…Reserve forward Jakub Dombek was unavailable after going into the concussion protocol earlier this week…Point guard McKinley Wright IV nabbed one steal to become the 21st CU player to collect 100 steals in his career. Wright’s 18 points moved him past Jay Humphries into 17th-place on CU’s all-time scoring list. He is one point behind David Harrison at 16th-place…Cal’s 76 points was its highest scoring output in Pac-12 play