Colorado men’s basketball gives away opportunity at USC The Denver Post

LOS ANGELES — The Colorado men’s basketball team tried to conjure a little more Galen Center magic. But it didn’t happen this time.

The Buffaloes shook off a slow start but were undone by their second-half defense and their own turnovers while suffering a 68-61 defeat in a Pac-12 Conference battle at USC on Thursday night. The Buffs posted wins in their previous three trips to USC, but will sport a 3-4 conference record going into the Los Angeles trip finale on Saturday at No. 7 UCLA.

The Buffs limped out of the gate, committing five turnovers in the first 4 minutes, 15 seconds of the game while missing five of their first six shots. USC took advantage of the giveaways to get easy baskets and race to a 15-3 lead, but CU gradually chipped away at the deficit from there.

CU rallied to within 34-32 at halftime and kept the momentum rolling after the break, scoring six straight points to take a 40-36 lead. USC responded with a 14-2 run to push its advantage back to eight points, but the Buffs didn’t go away quietly. The Buffs cut the Trojans’ lead to three points on several occasions and finally got within 60-59 on a bank in the lane from KJ Simpson with two minutes remaining.

A step-back jumper from USC’s Drew Peterson made it a three-point game again, but CU wasted a couple chances down the stretch with two more turnovers. USC’s Kobe Johnson hit four free throws in the final 39.4 seconds to ice the win for the Trojans.

CU finished with a season-high 22 turnovers, leading to a game-changing 20-7 edge for USC on points off turnovers.

Center Lawson Lovering was a bright spot for the Buffs, recording the first double-double of his career with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

Southern Cal 68, Colorado 61

COLORADO (11-7, 3-4 Pac-12)

da Silva 5-12 2-2 13, Lovering 6-10 1-4 13, Clifford 0-4 0-0 0, Hadley 2-3 0-0 4, Simpson 7-14 2-2 17, O’Brien 1-4 0-0 2, Ruffin 3-8 3-3 12, Hammond 0-3 0-0 0, E.Wright 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-58 8-11 61.

SOUTHERN CAL (12-5, 4-2)

Morgan 5-8 2-4 12, Ellis 6-13 0-2 14, K.Johnson 1-4 6-6 8, Peterson 6-12 2-2 15, White 3-7 2-3 8, Dixon-Waters 4-11 0-0 9, Thomas 1-2 0-0 2, Iwuchukwu 0-2 0-0 0, Hornery 0-1 0-0 0, Niagu 0-0 0-0 0, Sellers 0-1 0-0 0, K.Wright 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-61 12-17 68.

Halftime — Southern Cal 34-32. 3-Point Goals — Colorado 5-17 (Ruffin 3-6, da Silva 1-3, Simpson 1-4, Hammond 0-1, O’Brien 0-1, Clifford 0-2), Southern Cal 4-16 (Ellis 2-5, Dixon-Waters 1-3, Peterson 1-5, Hornery 0-1, K.Johnson 0-1, White 0-1). Rebounds — Colorado 44 (Lovering 14), Southern Cal 29 (K.Johnson 7). Assists — Colorado 15 (Hadley 4), Southern Cal 16 (Ellis 6). Total Fouls — Colorado 16, Southern Cal 13.

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