Boyle: Bu≠s had bet­ter “toughen up” on road

CU play­ing at Stan­ford af­ter los­ing Pac-12 opener at Cal

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pat Rooney

berke­ley, calif. » Ob­vi­ously, it’s too early for the Univer­sity of Colorado men’s bas­ket­ball team to panic.

But on the heels of what was the Buf­faloes’ worst per­for­mance of the sea­son, a 79-65 loss toCal­i­for­nia in a Pac-12 opener Fri­day night, their game Sun­day night at Stan­ford sud­denly has be­come big­ger.

“The pri­or­ity be­comes to toughen up,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “It’s league play and it’s time to raise your game. Noth­ing is go­ing to be given to you. We have to be stronger and tougher, andwe have to be more ef­fi­cient of­fen­sively.

“We can’t wal­low in this loss. We’ve got to learn fromit and it’s got to sting enough that we come out with the eye of the tiger on Sun­day night, ready to scratch and claw and do what­ever we’ve got to do.”

Af­ter shoot­ing a sea­son-low 32 per­cent from the floor and tal­ly­ing only six as­sists— four off the bench from fresh­man Thomas Akyazili, two from Josh For­tune and none from start­ing point guard Dom Col­lier in­20min­utes— CUwill at­tempt to get its of­fense back on track. That of­fense had been the team’s strength for much of the sea­son.

CU (11-3, 0-1 Pac-12) shot be­low40 per­cent just twice in its first 11 games but has been un­der that fig­ure in each of the past three games, shoot­ing only 36 per­cent dur­ing that span. The Buf­faloes’ scor­ing av­er­age has dropped from a sea­son-high 85.7 points per gameafter beat­ing Hamp­ton in Boul­der on Dec. 19 to 81.8.

Fri­day’s game against Cal­i­for­nia marked the sev­enth time this sea­son, and sec­ond game in a row, the Buffs fin­ished with more turnovers (eight) than as­sists (six).

“Ev­ery game is im­por­tant. We just have to ap­proach the (Stan­ford) game more ready than we were (at Cal­i­for­nia),” Col­lier said.“We’ve just got to have a short mem­ory and be ready for Sun­day, be­cause we know they’re a good team.”

Stan­ford (8-4, 1-0) strug­gled through in­jury is­sues dur­ing non­con­fer­ence games but opened Pac-12 play with an em­phatic state­ment, knock­ing off No. 21 Utah 70-68 in over­time.

“We’ve just got to learn from the (Cal­i­for­nia) game and move on to the next one,” said Josh Scott, a 6foot-10 se­nior. “You take what you learn and ap­ply it to the next game. It’s con­fer­ence play. Stuff hap­pens. You’re go­ing to have ups and downs. (Fri­day) was a down, butwe’re go­ing to learn from it and keep go­ing up.”

In­jured se­nior Xavier John­son re­joined the Buffs in the Bay Area but still has not met with Boyle re­gard­ing his sta­tus for the re­main­der of the sea­son. John­son suf­fered a torn Achilles ten­don last sum­mer and has yet to re­sume full work­outs at prac­tice. John­son re­mains in limbo as to whether he will at­tempt a come­back for the re­main­der of the Buffs’ Pac-12 sched­ule or take a med­i­cal red­shirt.

Sec­ond-lead­ing scorer Ge­orge King has made only 31 per­cent of his shots (10-of-32) the past three games, in­clud­ing a 4-for-15 per­for­mance from3-point range. ... For­tune played only four min­utes in the first half of the Cal game af­ter pick­ing up two quick fouls and fin­ished with a sea­son-low three points.

From left, Do­minique Col­lier, Josh For­tune, Josh Scott andWesley Gor­don watch fromthe Colorado bench Fri­day night as the Buf­faloes wrap up their 79-65 loss to Cal­i­for­nia in Berke­ley. Jeff Chiu, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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