Turnovers are a killer, but they aren’t the only story when it comes to sports. Witness: The Buffaloes set a season high with nine first-half turnovers in their game vs. Stanford. But Colorado played determined defense most of the first 20 minutes. A Levi Knutson trey with the clock under 3 seconds pulled the Buffs to within three points at the break.
Colorado committed just two turnovers in the second half. But the Cardinal buried the Buffs after halftime, nonetheless.
“We need to really be operating on all cylinders, and we’re not,” head coach Jeff Bzdelik said after the loss, which put the Buffs at 5-4 on the young season. “We have some tentativeness.”
That tentativeness showed up on the defensive end of the court in the second half. Stanford, who struggled shooting the ball early, turned up the heat, and shot 62.5 percent from the field in the second half. They scored 17 points in the paint after the break.
Meanwhile, the Buffs shot just 34.9 percent on the night.
“We just let up,” senior point guard Marcus Hall said. “As a team, in the second half, we played too soft.”
“We’re playing not to lose, as opposed to playing aggressively, to win,” Bzdelik added.
Stanford, a preseason top 25 (coaches poll) team, moved to 8-1 on the year with the win. The Cardinal is the first team that played mostly man-to-man defense against Colorado since the Buffs lost on the road to Wisconsin four games ago. It’s not as though the Buffs didn’t have good looks at the basket, especially in the first half. But the Buffs missed several layups and open jump shots.
Stanford featured a taller lineup than the Buffaloes much of the game. They outrebounded the Buffs 38-21, but that margin came mostly in the second half. Bzdelik said it wasn’t Stanford’s height that hurt Colorado on the boards.
Hall played all 40 minutes for the second consecutive game, and led all scorers with 16 points. Lawrence Hill and Anthony Goods led Stanford with 15 each.
“We’ve got to find something to make us more hungry,” Hall said. “Not to take anything away from Stanford, but I just don’t think they’re 24 points better than us, especially on our home floor.”
Points: Marcus Hall 16
Rebounds: Cory Higgins 6
Assists: Hall 4
Turnovers: Xavier Silas, Higgins 3
Blocks: Three with 1
Steals: Richard Roby, Levi Knutson 1
Points: Lawrence Hill, Anthony Goods 15
Rebounds: Hill 10
Assists: Fred Washington 5
Turnovers: Robin Lopez, Washington 4