No. 25 UCLA beats No. 21 Colorado
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — While many of his UCLA teammates struggled with their shooting touch, Norman Powell had little problem getting his shots to fall.
Powell matched his season high with 19 points and No. 25 UCLA pulled away in the second half to beat No. 21 Colorado 69-56 Thursday night, handing the short-handed Buffaloes their first home loss of the season.
"I’ve really been working on my shot," said Powell, who went 8 of 13 from the field, including two 3-pointers. "I haven’t been shooting the 3-ball the way I wanted to. I’ve been getting up extra shots at practice and on my own. I feel like it’s really paying off. I’m really confident in my shot and it’s going in."
Jordan Adams had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and David Wear added 13 points for UCLA (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12), which has won consecutive games since a narrow loss to top-ranked Arizona a week ago.
"We didn’t shoot the ball very well," said UCLA coach Steve Alford, whose team hit 39.4 percent from the field, a fraction off Colorado’s 40 percent mark.
"You have to give Colorado credit," he added. "Their kids really played hard and stepped up and played with great energy with the injuries that they’ve had to try to deal with. It’s not easy. To get a double-digit win and do the job on the backboard, this team a month ago could not win a game on the road shooting 39 percent. Now we’ve proven we can. I think that’s the biggest statement. That’s what I told the guys."
Askia Booker scored 21 points and Josh Scott 19 for Colorado (14-4, 3-2). The Buffaloes were playing for the first time since guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who was leading the team in scoring, assists and steals, sustained a season-ending knee injury during last Sunday’s loss at Washington.
Colorado also was without Tre’Shaun Fletcher, who injured his knee in the same game and is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle said it will take time for his team to adjust to those losses.
"It is going to be a process because we lost a key component of our team — two of them," Boyle said. "Is it going to take time? Yes, but that’s not an excuse. We didn’t lose this game tonight because Spencer Dinwiddie and Tre’Shaun Fletcher didn’t play. We lost this game because we didn’t play well enough to beat UCLA. It was a winnable game. We had a shot. We just didn’t do what we had to do."
Boyle said the production of younger players thrust into more prominent roles because of the injuries will improve with time. Scott and Booker combined for 14 of Colorado’s 20 baskets. No other player made more than two shots from the field.
"The reality is, we’ve got guys who are capable of playing better," Boyle said. "They know that. I want them to know I believe in them."
It was the first loss in 12 home games for the Buffaloes, who fell to 0-3 against UCLA since joining the Pac-12 three years ago. Colorado dropped to 1-7 overall against the Bruins, with its lone victory coming 52 years ago.
Down seven at the break, Colorado made it 42-39 on a pair of free throws by Scott. But the Bruins scored seven of the next nine points to go up 49-41 with 12:35 remaining.
UCLA then took advantage of a cold stretch by Colorado — the Buffaloes went without a field goal for roughly 8 minutes — as the Bruins extended their lead to 58-46 when Powell finished a 9-1 burst with a dunk.
Scott’s dunk with 3:52 remaining ended Colorado’s shooting drought and Booker followed with a 3-pointer to get the Buffaloes to 58-51 with 3:22 left.
Booker connected on a 3 and a jumper on successive possessions to pull Colorado to 31-29 with 4:23 left in the first half, but the Bruins closed with a 5-0 spurt. They got a 3-pointer from Zach LaVine and a jumper from Adams to grab a 36-29 halftime lead.
The seven-point advantage matched the Bruins’ biggest lead of the game to that point.