It was an unusually long road trip, and one that ended with an unusually poor performance from the Colorado Buffaloes.
This time, the Buffs hope to take advantage of some wisdom from the experience.
Three weeks ago, the Buffs embarked on a three-game, three-city road trip that was outside of the typical routine in Pac-12 Conference play. That trip began with a spark, as CU posted a comeback win at Oregon. But personnel problems and two of the Buffs’ poorest performances of the season at Washington and Washington State only made the long trip more painful.
Thanks to a makeup date at Oregon State on Tuesday night, the Buffs are setting out for another three-game trip, this time playing three road games in five days concluding with a date at Stanford on Saturday.
CU head coach Tad Boyle mentioned the previous lengthy trip last month was a learning experience that could prove useful this week.
“The first one was a Tuesday-Thursday-Sunday, which is really a long one,” Boyle said. “We’ve got to find a balance between not spending too much time in hotel rooms and not wearing them out. We’re not going to go sightseeing in the Bay Area between games. But I think limiting our practice time, maybe even limiting our film sessions, just finding a way to keep our guys mentally and physically fresh. Which is hard to do when you’re on the road.
“Anybody who travels for a living knows you get tired of hotel rooms. We’re going to try to do the best we can to figure it out. And maybe that’s getting more input from our team about what they feel like they need. Because the bottom line is we need unbelievable energy and effort for the two to two and a half hours on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Whatever we have to do to get that. I’ve got to do a better job than I did maybe that last trip.”
The Buffs ended the three-game losing streak that began during the Washington trip by routing Oregon State in Boulder on Feb. 5. Tuesday’s rematch of a game originally scheduled for New Year’s Day will provide CU its fourth opportunity to secure a season sweep of a Pac-12 foe. The Buffs defeated Oregon, Washington and Washington State in their first matchup against each of those teams, only to lose the rematch (CU also will have a chance to post a season sweep at Stanford on Saturday).
OSU is suffering through a nightmare season just 11 months removed from the Beavers’ improbable run to the Pac-12 tournament title and the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. OSU enters the game mired in a nine-game losing streak, but the Beavers should at least be in better shape personnel-wise than they were just 10 days previous in Boulder. Point guard Dashawn Davis, who is trying to become the first OSU player since Gary Payton in 1989-90 to lead the Pac-12 in assists, did not play at CU but has since returned to the rotation. And Warith Alatishe, OSU’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder, played only six minutes at CU due to an injury but has logged at least 24 minutes in the Beavers’ two games since.
“We’ve had three teams now we beat the first time that beat us the second time,” Boyle said. “Here we’ve got another chance with Oregon State. It’s going to be a different game in Corvallis than we saw here. There’s no doubt in my mind, and we just have to prepare for that.”
CU Buffs men’s basketball at Oregon State Beavers
TIPOFF: Tuesday, 7 p.m. MT, Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, Ore.
BROADCAST: TV — Pac-12 Network; Radio — 850 AM and 94.1 FM.
RECORDS: Colorado 15-9, 7-7 Pac-12 Conference; Oregon State 3-19, 1-11.
COACHES: Colorado — Tad Boyle, 12th season (248-152, 304-218 overall). Oregon State—Wayne Tinkle, 8th season (116-128, 274-219 overall).
KEY PLAYERS: Colorado — F Jabari Walker, So., 14.1 ppg, 9.0 rpg; F Evan Battey, R-Sr., 11.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, .468 3-point percentage; G Keeshawn Barthelemy, R-So., 11.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.5 apg; Tristan da Silva, So., 9.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg. Oregon State — G Jarod Lucas, Jr., 13.7 ppg, .405 3-point percentage; F Warith Alatishe, Sr., 10.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg; G Dashawn Davis, Jr., 9.2 ppg, 5.4 apg.
NOTES: The Buffs have won their past two games at OSU…In Pac-12 games, OSU ranks last in defensive field goal percentage (.491) and 10th in defensive 3-point percentage (.361). The Buffs own the Pac-12’s top marks in conference games in 3-point percentage (.378) and free throw percentage (.757). The Beavers also are surrendering a league-most 79 points per game in conference games…Four CU players scored in double figures in the Buffs’ home win against the Beavers on Feb. 5, led by 16 points from Barthelemy and a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double from Walker…Battey is set to become the 12th CU player to record 100 starts in his career. He needs five points to move past Marcus Hall and Vince Kelly into 24th-place on the program’s all-time scoring list…Buffs freshman guard KJ Simpson leads the team at 2.8 assists per game, and he has averaged 3.7 assists over the past seven games…CU’s three-game road swing continues on Thursday at Cal (7:30 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Network).