For the third time in four games, Colorado was outrebounded by its opponent. This time, however, Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle wasn’t ready to hit the panic button.
UCLA topped the Buffs 65-62 on Saturday night in a well-played defensive battle in Los Angeles. The Bruins, who played without one of their top rebounders in Chris Smith, managed to outrebound the Buffs 31-29. Smith was leading the Bruins in overall rebounds — teammate Jalen Hill, who entered the game having played in two fewer contests, owned the Bruins’ top per-game average — but he suffered a torn ACL during UCLA’s Thursday win against Utah.
The void on the glass didn’t affect the Bruins, who received six rebounds from Hill and a seven off the bench from Jules Bernard.
The Buffs outrebounded each of their first six opponents but have now been beaten on the boards in recent weeks by Grand Canyon, Arizona, and UCLA. In this case, however, Boyle believed the glass battle essentially was a stalemate. Both teams grabbed nine offensive rebounds, though UCLA was able to post a 9-2 edge on second-chance points.
“Tonight was a battle. I thought our guys battled on the boards,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “We were up one on the boards in the first half, down three in the second half. I felt like we battled. They’ve got some big bodies, but quite frankly I was pretty pleased with it. I thought Cody Riley (five rebounds) kind of beasted us a couple times. Bernard kind of beasted us a couple times down there. But our guys were fighting and battling. That’s all you can ask for.”
Parquet stands out
Junior guard Eli Parquet put together a stellar two-way game for the Buffs. On defensive, his dogged work along the perimeter was a big reason why UCLA finished with 14 turnovers and a 3-for-15 mark on 3-pointers. Offensively, Parquet went 4-for-5 from the field and 2-for-2 at the free throw line, finishing with a career-high 10 points along with three rebounds, one assist, one steal, and only one turnover in 31 minutes.
Parquet entered the season with a career field goal percentage of .340, but Saturday’s effort improved his season percentage this year to .563 (18-for-32). Parquet also is a perfect 10-for-10 this season on free throws.
A first team All-Pac-12 selection and the winner of the league’s Most Improved Player award a year ago, Smith was averaging 12.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while shooting an even 50 percent from 3-point range. He was a thorn in the Buffs’ side a year ago, scoring 30 points in the Bruins’ home win against CU before adding 14 points during UCLA’s win at the Events Center.
“He’s got tremendous maturity, he’s such a team guy,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said. “He’s still going through shock probably. The game’s at 5 o’clock (PT), he found out early. I was with him and the medical staff, we broke the news to him before shootaround today. He’s mature, I’m probably more upset about it than him. He actually had to put his arm around me. He’ll be back, it’s tough for me. Tough for me being a coach today.”
In those two games against CU last year, Smith shot 12-for-23 overall, 5-for-11 on 3-pointers, and 15-for-17 on free throws.
“We found out 45 minutes before the game that Chris Smith is out,” Boyle said. “Our hearts go out to him. Being a senior, and coming back for a senior year, to have an injury like that is disheartening.”
Walton sits again
CU played its second consecutive game without 7-footer Dallas Walton, who is dealing with a lower leg issue. Walton is two years removed from the third ACL surgery of his basketball career, but so far this season he has performed closer to his pre-injury form, averaging 9.6 points and 3.0 rebounds with a .676 shooting percentage through the season’s first eight games.
It was an unusual night for Buffs on the turnover front.
CU finished with 13, which tied for the team’s third-highest total of the season. However, it was a game of runs for the Buffs in regard to turnovers. CU committed five within the first 4 minutes, 10 seconds of the game and added three more in quick succession early in the second half. But then the Buffs didn’t commit a single turnover over the game’s final 14 minutes.
Backup point guard Keeshawn Barthelemy celebrated his 20th by going 3-for-6 with six points, two rebounds, two assists, and no turnovers in 14 minutes…After missing the first four games of the season due to a toe injury, former CU star and Colorado native Derrick White returned to the rotation on Friday for the San Antonio Spurs. Making his season debut against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, White came off the bench to go 3-for-9 with nine points and two blocked shots in 23 minutes…A late 3-pointer from Maddox Daniels gave the senior a career-high-matching 12 points. Daniels previously scored 12 points earlier in the week at Arizona…CU finished with a season-low nine assists. It was only the second time this season the Buffs posted more turnovers than assists.