There was bound to be a less-explosive night from long range for the Colorado Buffaloes at some point.
In recent weeks, head coach Tad Boyle warned as much, although those concerns might have been difficult to absorb as the Buffs continued to light it up from long range.
On Thursday that long-range touch vanished. Sure enough, the Buffs didn’t have anything else to fall back on in a listless and stunning 82-65 home loss against Arizona State.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys right now that rely on their offense, and rely on their shot going in to score the basketball to give them energy to play the game,” Boyle said. “Because we don’t have the maturity to sustain it in terms of executing a defensive game plan. I’ve talked about it for the last three weeks — we’ve got to prepare ourselves to win games, or win a game, when the shots aren’t falling. Tonight was that night, and we were unable to do it because we couldn’t guard. We couldn’t stop them.”
CU entered Thursday’s game with the top 3-point mark in the Pac-12 in league games (.390) and had not posted a 3-point mark lower than .417 during the five-game winning streak that ended against the Sun Devils. However, the Buffs struggled to a 7-for-27 mark on 3-pointers while ASU, which entered the game ranked last in league games in 3-point shooting (.299), took advantage of the open looks provided by the porous CU defense to go 9-for-17.
“I’m going to get angry at our team and our players. And I’m angry right now. But I’m going to get angry for three reasons,” Boyle said. “One is lack of effort, which we showed tonight. Unacceptable. Two is lack of concentration, which we showed tonight. Which is unacceptable. And three is selfishness. I don’t think we were selfish tonight, although I think we took more bad shots tonight than we took in the last three games combined.”
Injured senior guard Elijah Parquet is ready to say farewell to CU when he takes part in Senior Day on Saturday, but Parquet may not yet be done with college basketball.
This week, Parquet told BuffZone he may be interested in using his extra season of eligibility granted by the NCAA from last year’s COVID season, particularly after a foot injury ended his final year at CU after 18 games.
“I’ll probably use my COVID year, but I don’t know where I’ll use it at,” Parquet said. “Especially after the way this year ended.”
“Lack of effort. Lack of toughness. End of story.”
— Boyle, explaining his team was outrebounded 38-26 by an ASU team that entered the game ranked 11th in Pac-12 games in average rebounding margin (minus-7.7). CU had outrebounded its previous six opponents, and the minus-12 deficit against the Sun Devils was the second-largest margin recorded by a CU foe this season, trailing only the 47-32 rebounding edge posted by USC in Boulder on Jan. 20.
Odd stat of the night: CU recorded two more turnovers than Arizona State (14-12), yet the Buffs posted a 19-6 advantage in points off turnovers…Thursday’s defeat was CU’s fifth at home this season, matching the 2014-15 squad for the most during Boyle’s 12 seasons in Boulder with Saturday’s date against No. 2 Arizona still ahead…Between the end of the first half (5:37) and the start of the second half (2:07) the Buffs went a total of 7:44 without a field goal…CU matched a season-low with eight assists. The Buffs also had eight in a loss at Washington State on Jan. 30.