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Game day notes: Rough early Jan. night sparks recent bench run from CU Buffs’ Luke O’Brien

Colorado sophomore Luke O'Brien has enjoyed a strong run off the bench going into the Buffs' date at Oregon State.  (Courtesy photo/Paradise Jam)
Colorado sophomore Luke O’Brien has enjoyed a strong run off the bench going into the Buffs’ date at Oregon State. (Courtesy photo/Paradise Jam)

Luke O’Brien had reason to be concerned about how the remainder of the season might unfold for him personally after he got off the bench for only two minutes during a Jan. 6 home win against Washington State.

After a little soul searching and a heart-to-heart talk with associate head coach Mike Rohn, O’Brien has enjoyed the best run of his still very young collegiate basketball career.

Heading into Thursday night’s makeup date at Oregon State (7 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Network), O’Brien has averaged five rebounds off the bench over the past four games. That run includes a career-high eight rebounds against the Beavers in Boulder on Feb. 5, when the sophomore forward also went 3-for-5 with seven points.

Since that two-minute cameo against the Cougars, O’Brien has picked his spots well on offense, going 5-for-10 on 3-pointers.

“That was one of the lowest points in the season for me,” O’Brien said of that WSU game at home. “What do I have to do? Am I not rebounding? Am I not playing defense well enough? I met with coach Rohn for about an hour the next day because I was really frustrated with how things were turning out for me in the season. He just said practice definitely is a time to get better. I’ve done that and it’s paid off.”


CU began Tuesday at No. 94 in the NET rankings and No. 104 at OSU is No. 251 in the NET and No. 231 at KenPom… CU has three players among the Pac-12’s top 10 free throw percentage leaders in league games — Keeshawn Barthelemy (third, .854), Tristan da Silva (fourth, .839), and Jabari Walker (10th, .766)…The broadcast team of Roxy Bernstein and Bill Walton will be on the call for the Pac-12 Network.