Colorado welcomed one recently missing starter back to the lineup, though another remained sidelined.
The Buffaloes also played without head coach Tad Boyle, who missed his first game in 12 seasons as CU’s coach after testing positive for COVID earlier this week.
Returning home after a brutal finish to last week’s three-game road trip, the Buffs hoped their home court magic against Oregon would offset the team’s ongoing personnel issues.
The Ducks had a different result in mind.
Taking advantage of the miscues from a Buffs team that once again committed far too many turnovers, Oregon pulled away from CU throughout the second half to hand CU a 66-51 defeat in a Pac-12 Conference battle Thursday night at the CU Events Center.
With associate head coach Mike Rohn filling in for Boyle, Oregon won at the Events Center for the first time since CU joined the Pac-12 and ended its 0-10 all-time mark in Boulder.
It was CU’s third consecutive loss overall, giving the Buffs their first three-game losing streak since the end of the 2019-20 season. CU also fell two games under .500 within conference play for the first time since starting the Pac-12 schedule with a 2-6 mark in 2018-19.
The defeat was the Buffs’ third consecutive loss at the Events Center, giving the program its first three-game losing streak at home since the 2008-09 season.
“Turnovers led to them scoring in transition. You can’t guard a live ball turnover,” CU senior Evan Battey said. “We started turning the ball over and our energy dropped. We started feeling sorry for ourselves and that’s the story right there.”
CU played without senior guard Elijah Parquet for the fourth time in six games due to a nagging foot issue, while sophomore forward Tristan da Silva returned to the starting lineup following a two-game absence due to his own COVID setback.
The game was tied 40-40 early in the second half before Oregon took control with a 14-3 run, scoring the final nine points in a row. CU finished with 20 turnovers, their second-highest total of the season. CU has committed at least 16 turnovers in six consecutive games, and Oregon used the miscues to post a 25-6 advantage in points off turnovers.
A dunk from Jabari Walker kept the Buffs within nine points with 8 minutes, 58 seconds remaining, but CU didn’t score again for another 7:25.
CU shot just .273 after halftime and finished with a .388 field goal percentage overall. Keeshawn Barthelemy led the Buffs with 16 points, but he didn’t score after halftime. Take Barthelemy’s 6-for-11 night out of the equation, and the rest of CU’s team shot just .342 (13-for-38).
Defensively the Buffs were solid. Oregon entered the game leading the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (.479) and 3-point percentage (.365) in conference games, but CU held the Ducks well under those averages (.419 overall, 6-for-21 on 3-pointers). Still, it wasn’t nearly enough for the Buffs to overcome their second 20-turnover game of the season and third consecutive game with a shooting percentage under 39 percent.
“Bottom line — the turnovers, that was the name of the game,” Rohn said. “It just put too much pressure on our defense.
“When they’re not playing well and turning it over, they kind of get in a little bit of a mindset of ‘Oh, here we go again.’ And we can’t get out of it. We’ve got to find a way to get out of it. We had a good week of prep. We worked on things that we needed to. Taking care of the ball, handling the ball, decision making. Tonight, they weren’t selfish turnovers. We were trying to make the right reads and the right looks. We weren’t passing and catching as clean as we need to.”
What went right: CU’s defense was decent, as the Buffs held the Pac-12’s top-shooting team in league games below Oregon’s season averages. CU also outrebounded Oregon 37-35.
What went wrong: Pretty much everything else. CU shot just .273 (6-for-22) in the second half and committed 20 turnovers, the second-highest total of the season.
Star of the game: Keeshawn Barthelemy. The third-year sophomore point guard was the lone bright spot offensively, going 6-for-7 in the first half and finishing with 16 points, although he went scoreless after halftime.
What’s next: The struggling Buffs will attempt to end their recent slide against the Pac-12’s last place team, Oregon State, at home on Saturday (4 p.m., FS1).
Oregon 66, Colorado 51
OREGON (14-7, 7-3 Pac-12)
Guerrier 3-7 2-2 9, Dante 2-5 0-0 4, Harmon 3-9 1-2 8, Richardson 6-12 0-0 13, Young 8-17 3-5 21, Williams 3-7 2-2 9, Soares 0-2 0-0 0, Kepnang 1-2 0-0 2, Bittle 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-62 8-11 66.
COLORADO (13-9, 5-7 Pac-12)
Battey 4-9 0-0 10, Walker 4-12 2-5 11, da Silva 1-4 2-3 4, Barthelemy 6-11 2-2 16, Clifford 3-5 0-2 6, Simpson 1-5 1-2 3, Hammond 0-2 1-2 1, O’Brien 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-49 8-16 51.
Halftime — Oregon 36-35. 3-point field goals — Oregon 6-21 (Young 2-5, Harmon 1-2, Guerrier 1-4, Richardson 1-5, Williams 1-5), Colorado 5-19 (Battey 2-4, Barthelemy 2-6, Walker 1-4, Hammond 0-1, O’Brien 0-1, Simpson 0-1, Clifford 0-2). Rebounds — Oregon 35 (Guerrier 9), Colorado 37 (Walker 12). Assists — Oregon 5 (Richardson 3), Colorado 11 (da Silva, Simpson 3). Total fouls — Oregon 15, Colorado 10. A — 7,611.