I don’t know what it is about Colorado teams playing outside of Boulder, but none of them seem to know how to win on the road.
The football team finally won a road game this past season at Utah but before that they had not won away from Colorado since 2007. As for the basketball team, they only won two road conference games last year in the Big XII and so far have only won once on the road this season in the Pac-12. It’s never easy to win on the road especially in conference but it just seems like the Buffs can’t figure it out.
This takes us to last night’s game at Arizona. Arizona is turning it on of late sweeping the bay area teams on the road and they are starting to play together as a team. The game was nip and tuck for most of the first half with the Buffs keeping up early. Arizona almost took control right before the half but Nate Tomlinson hit a 3 to keep Colorado within six at the half. CU stormed out of the break and quickly tied it up but then their old road habits started to creep up.
They began to take bad shots, started to turn the ball over and became lackadaisical on the defensive end. Next thing you know Arizona took back the momentum, got the crowd back into the game and went on a 12-3 run midway through the second half to take control of the game. Arizona eventually went on to win 71-57 as the Buffs shot a dismal 37% from the field including a 4-19 performance from the 3-point line.
It’s the Buffs’ M.O. to keep it close early but then let the home team get on a run that they can never come back from. It happened at Stanford, it happened at UCLA and it happened again last night at the McKale Center. For some reason the Buffs just lose focus for periods during the second half and next thing you know they are down by double digits. It’s hard enough to win on the road, let alone come back from a big deficit on the road.
Granted, the Buffs have a young team and they lost a lot of their scoring from last season, but a mark of a good team is to learn how to win on the road. Head coach Tad Boyle said last week after the Oregon game that you first learn how to win at home, then you learn to beat good opponents at home and then you learn how to win on the road. The Buffs have figured out the first two but that last one will take a little while to figure it out.
They have their next chance to put it all together tomorrow evening when they travel to Arizona State to take on the Sun Devils.