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Head coach Tad Boyle says practice habits have kept Quincy Allen from CU Buffs rotation

BOULDER,CO:February 23: Colorado Buffaloes' Quincy Allen, left, battles against USC Trojans'Drew Peterson in Boulder on February 23, 2023. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER,CO:February 23: Colorado Buffaloes’ Quincy Allen, left, battles against USC Trojans’Drew Peterson in Boulder on February 23, 2023. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Quincy Allen’s omission from the rotation at the outset of the season was perhaps understandable.

The Colorado men’s basketball team began the season with a glut of wing players expected to make the two-guard/small forward rotation one of the team’s strengths. The Buffaloes also added three transfers during the offseason — J’Vonne Hadley, Jalen Gabbidon and Ethan Wright — who were expected to fill rotation roles.

Coming off a major hip injury that kept him sidelined throughout his true freshman season of 2021-22, Allen had to sit and bide his time.

Yet when January arrived and CU’s offense continued to flounder, Allen continued to sit. When injuries hit, Allen continued to sit. When January flipped to February and some of those rotation players still weren’t pulling their weight, Allen continued to sit.

That finally changed on Thursday, as Allen, ranked as the No. 71 recruit in the nation in the 2021 class by 247Sports when he signed with the Buffs, received his first meaningful playing time of the season in a loss against USC. With the Buffs’ rotation still shortened due to injuries, Allen is likely to get another chance to show his skills when the Buffs host No. 4 UCLA on Sunday afternoon.

Following practice on Saturday, CU head coach Tad Boyle defended Allen’s lack of playing time this season, saying the talented 6-foot-8 forward simply has not been consistent enough at practice to be trusted with regular playing time.

“It all comes down to practice. What happens at practice. That’s the one thing that people don’t see,” Boyle said. “He did some really good things the other night (against USC), but (Saturday’s) practice, he struggled. But he’s going to play because we’re down to eight dudes. That’s a good thing for Quincy. Hopefully he makes the most of it and can learn and grow.

“But any time your team’s not having success and playing inconsistently, you can always second-guess your decisions. Certainly the fans can second-guess it. Players can second-guess it. You just go with the guys who, in practice day in and day out, give you what you’re looking for. It’s not a knock. It’s just the reality of what I see every single day at practice.”

Boyle said the Buffs once again will play without Jalen Gabbidon (concussion) and Javon Ruffin (knee), both of whom missed the loss against USC. Both players also missed time in January, but the door perhaps was not as open for Allen then because Gabbidon and Ruffin were sidelined simultaneously for just one of those games, the Jan. 19 home loss against Washington. The Buffs also still had leading rebounder J’Vonne Hadley in the rotation last month, but he hasn’t played since suffering a season-ending finger injury on Feb. 2.

Of course, the Buffs likely are less concerned about who plays than how they play, as for the first time this season Boyle questioned his team’s fight after the loss against USC. The Bruins also will be looking to celebrate on the CU Events Center floor. Arizona State’s stunning buzzer-beating win at Arizona on Saturday will give the Bruins a chance to secure the Pac-12 regular season championship with a win against the Buffs.

“I don’t know what was going on Thursday. It was disappointing, to be honest,” CU forward Luke O’Brien said. “Stuff like that shouldn’t happen ever. It’s UCLA. They’re a great team. Why wouldn’t you go out and play hard on your home court? Only two games left in the regular season, we’re one game away from .500 (overall) and to me, I don’t like that. We’re not giving up.”

No. 4 UCLA Bruins at CU Buffs men’s basketball

TIPOFF: Sunday, 2 p.m., CU Events Center.

TV/RADIO: TV — CBS. Radio — KHOW 630 AM.

RECORDS: UCLA  24-4, 15-2 Pac-12 Conference; Colorado 15-14, 7-11.

COACHES: UCLA — Mick Cronin, 4th season (92-34, 457-205 overall). Colorado — Tad Boyle, 13th season (269-169, 325-235 overall).

KEY PLAYERS: UCLA — G/F Jaime Jaquez Jr. 6-7, Sr. (17.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, .488 FG%); G Jaylen Clark, 6-5, Jr. (13.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg); G Tyger Campbell, 5-11, R-Sr. (12.4 ppg, 4.8 apg); G David Singleton, 6-4, Sr. (9.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, .435 3%).  Colorado — F Tristan da Silva, 6-9, Jr. (16.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, .509 FG%); G KJ Simpson, 6-2, So. (15.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.9 apg); F Luke O’Brien, 6-8, Jr. (5.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg); G Nique Clifford, 6-6, Jr. (6.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg).

NOTES: CU has lost six of its past seven games against UCLA, including a 68-54 loss in Los Angeles on Jan. 14. The Buffs held a nine-point lead in that game with 10:21 remaining, but the Bruins outscored CU 33-10 the rest of the way. … Barring a matchup against either the Bruins or Arizona at the Pac-12 tournament, this will be CU’s final shot at a ranked opponent this year. The Buffs are 2-2 against ranked teams, winning neutral-floor games against Tennessee and Texas A&M in November before losing at UCLA and Arizona in conference play. This will be the only home game of the year against a ranked team, and CU hasn’t gone an entire season without defeating a ranked opponent at home since 2014-15 (excluding 2018-19, when the Buffs didn’t play a single ranked opponent). … The Bruins have won seven consecutive games. … In conference games, UCLA leads the Pac-12 in average rebound margin (plus-4.7). The Bruins also rank third in league games in overall defensive field goal percentage (.406) and defensive 3-point percentage (.304). … CU completes the regular season at home on Saturday against Utah (3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network).