Being egocentric isn't always a bad thing for shooting guards.
Scorers must have enough self-confidence to believe that the next shot is going in, no matter what type of a slump they're in.
It's no secret that Colorado's Askia Booker -- who is 12-for-52 (23.1 percent) from the field over the last four games -- is struggling on the offensive end.
But with the Buffs' 71-58 victory over No. 9 Arizona in the balance on Thursday night, Booker delivered his most important assist of the season ... from the bench.
When Tad Boyle told Booker to check back into the game midway through the second half, as the Wildcats were mounting a comeback, the sophomore asked the head coach to leave Xavier Talton on the floor.
"I just felt like he didn't need to come out," Booker explained. "I know sometimes coach relies on the veterans like Spencer (Dinwiddie) and myself to go back into the game. But the flow of the game was just great when he was in. ... I guess coach took my advice."
After Arizona's Jerrett Grant hit a 3-pointer to cut the visitors' 15-point deficit down to six (45-39) with 10:57 remaining, Talton calmly answered with a clutch make from behind the arc on the other end to spark the decisive 11-2 run by the Buffs.
Talton finished with six of CU's eight bench points in seven memorable minutes of playing time.
"It definitely helps my confidence knowing that the players ahead of me trust me," Talton said. "Ski is definitely coming into some new leadership roles and being more unselfish. It's a good thing for our team."
CU will need another team effort in Saturday night's less-hyped but equally important revenge rematch against Arizona State at the Coors Events Center (7 p.m., ESPNU).
The Buffs (17-7, 7-5) have moved into a four-way tie for fourth place in the Pac-12 with the Sun Devils (18-7, 7-5). Surging Cal (15-9, 7-5) and surprising USC (12-13, 7-5) are also in position to grab a top-four seed at the conference tournament.
"We proved that we belong, but it is short lived," Boyle said of the statement victory over Arizona. "Our biggest challenge is getting those guys turned around quickly, mentally, emotionally. This place was electric (Thursday), there was a lot of emotion in here, and we have to have the same thing on Saturday."
Jordan Bachynski scored 16 points and rejected nine CU shots during Arizona State's 65-56 win in Tempe on Jan. 3. The 7-2 center is looking to break out of his own statistical lull after averaging just 3.3 points and 3.0 rebounds over the last three games.
Freshman Jahii Carson (17.6 ppg, 5.0 apg) and senior Carrick Felix (14.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg) comprise one of the best backcourts in the Pac-12.
The three Sun Devil stars didn't align during Arizona State's 60-55 loss at Utah on Wednesday.
"Jahii Carson is as talented physically as anyone in our league," Boyle said. "Carrick Felix, just his demeanor and the way he's playing and the sense of urgency that he's playing with, it reminds me of Carlon Brown for us last year. A fifth-year senior that knows this is his last go-round. You can tell every game means something to him. He's giving them everything he has and it's a lot. He whipped us last time. ...
"Bachynski is a guy we're going to have to take the ball at and finish over him or around him. That's easier said than done, but we still have to attack the lane and attack inside."
Dinwiddie followed up a perfect shooting night at Oregon State with 21 points against Arizona. He is 17-for-17 at the free throw line over the last two games.
Xavier Johnson added a career-high 19 points while Andre Roberson grabbed 13 more rebounds to move into second place on CU's all-time list.
Booker managed 10 points on 4-for-11 shooting but impressed his coach with his selfless gesture down the stretch.
"It meant a lot to me. I think if he plays that way and truly feels that way for the rest of the year, it's a good sign for us," Boyle said. "When Ski plays within himself and plays for the team, he's a good player. Sometimes when he gets a little frustrated and wants to force the issue a little bit, that's when things tend to go down hill for him. He's an important part of our team, there's no question about it."
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CU men's hoops preview
SATURDAY: The Colorado Buffaloes (17-7, 7-5) host the Arizona State Sun Devils (18-7, 7-5) at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.
BROADCAST: Television on ESPNU with Dave Flemming (play-by-play) and Sean Farnham (analyst). Radio on KOA (850 AM) with Mark Johnson (play-by-play) and Chad Brown (color). Follow on Twitter: @RyanThorburn.
CU STORY LINES: The Buffs are coming off a 71-58 victory over No. 9 Arizona on Thursday. ... CU has defeated nine top-10 teams in the 33-year history of the Coors Events Center. Three of those wins have come under Tad Boyle (defeated No. 5 Texas and No. 8 Missouri in 2010-11). ... Spencer Dinwiddie led CU with 21 points against Arizona. The sophomore point guard has made 17-of-17 at the free throw line in the last two games. ... Xavier Johnson scored a career-high 19 points after scoring 18 points in the home win over Cal. The freshman forward is 19-for-27 from the field in the last two home games. ... CU will honor the 1962-62 Buffs, who won a share of the Big Eight regular-season title, during the game.
ARIZONA STATE STORY LINES: The Sun Devils are coming off a 60-55 loss at Utah on Wednesday, which dropped Arizona State's RPI from 67 to 81. ... Jordan Bachynski, who had 16 points and nine blocks against CU in Tempe, has averaged 3.3 points and 3.0 rebounds over the last three games. He leads the conference in blocked shots (3.8 bpg). ... The Sun Devils are only shooting 59.5 percent from the free throw line in conference play. ... The Sun Devils are second in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (.457) while the Buffs are second in field goal percentage defense (.398).
KEY STAT: Andre Roberson has 978 rebounds, having passed Cliff Meely (1968-71, 971) for second place on the all-time rebounding list with 13 boards against Arizona. Roberson needs 77 rebounds to pass Stephane Pelle (1999-2003, 1,054) and become CU's all-time leader on the glass
SERIES: CU leads 4-3 with a 3-0 record in Boulder. Arizona State won the first meeting 65-56 on Jan. 6 in Tempe.
COACHES: Boyle is 65-33 in his third season at CU. Herb Sendek is 116-103 in his seventh season at Arizona State.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Colorado -- F Andre Roberson, 6-7, Jr., 10.4 ppg, 11.7 rpg; F Josh Scott, 6-10, Fr., 11.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg; F Xavier Johnson, 6-6, Fr., 8.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg; G Spencer Dinwiddie, 6-6, So., 15.0 ppg, 3.0 apg; G Askia Booker, 6-1, So., 13.5 ppg, 2.3 apg. Arizona State -- G Carrick Felix, 6-6, Sr., 14.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg; G Jahii Carson, 5-10, Fr., 17.6 ppg, 5.0 apg; G Evan Gordon, 6-1, Jr., 11.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg; C Jordan Bachynski, 7-2, Jr., 9.4 ppg, 3.8 bpg; F Jonathan Gilling, 6-7, So., 9.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg.
UP NEXT: The Buffs host Utah on Thursday at the Coors Events Center (8 p.m., Pac-12 Network).