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Men's basketball notes: Now healthy, CU Buffs look to put it all together

Jan. 15—The Colorado men's basketball team didn't use any manpower issues as excuses for some recent struggles.

Playing shorthanded nonetheless proved taxing.

During the seven games missed by freshman standout Cody Williams, the Buffs went a solid 5-2, even if one of those defeats included the ugliest performance of the season in a 47-point loss at Arizona. CU also played three of those seven games without senior forward Tristan da Silva and another without reserve guard Julian Hammond III.

Williams' return against California last week wasn't enough to prevent the Buffs from wasting a 20-point lead, but with Hammond's return for Saturday's home win against USC, CU has its top seven rotation players in place for the first time in more than a month. With the Buffs (12-5, 3-3 Pac-12) among a crowd of five teams between 4-2 and 3-3 within the league, a healthy rotation putting it all together could provide CU with a huge boost.

Even when healthy early in the season, the Buffs often displayed an untenable habit of struggling to put two solid halves together. That will need to change if CU expects to make a push, and the Buffs will be challenged to overcome another off-half when league-leading Oregon visits on Thursday night (8:30 p.m., FS1).

"We're not putting two halves together. We're not there yet," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "It's been like that since the beginning of the season, even in the nonconference. (USC) didn't shoot 50% in the first half, but they shot well enough (.469). Our ball-screen coverages weren't very good in the first half, but the second half was a lot better."

Players of the Week

After posting its first home win against a top-10 foe in four years, Washington State swept the Pac-12 Conference weekly honors announced on Monday.

Forward Isaac Jones was named the overall player of the week after averaging 25.0 points and 12.0 rebounds as the Cougars began the week with a road victory against USC before topping the then-No. 8 Arizona Wildcats. Jones went 7-for-10 from the field and 12-for-15 at the free throw line before finishing with 26 points and 11 rebounds in the win at USC. Jones followed that effort by posting 24 points and 13 rebounds against Arizona.

Guard Myles Rice won the Freshman of the Week award for the third time this season, averaging 15.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in WSU's two wins. After recording 12 points, five assists and four rebounds at USC, Rice scored eight of his 18 points in the final 3 minutes, 13 seconds to help the Cougars hold off Arizona.

It was the first time WSU players nabbed both honors in the same week.

Notable

For the first time this season, the Buffs did not receive any votes in the latest AP top 25 released on Monday. Arizona remained the only Pac-12 team in the poll, dropping four spots to No. 12. ... Former CU guard Keeshawn Barthelemy is coming off one of his best games of the season for Oregon, going 5-for-7 overall and 2-for-4 on 3-pointers with 12 points in a win on Saturday against California. Barthelemy had gone a 4-for-16 with 12 points in the previous four games combined. Barthelemy has 15 assists against four turnovers in five Pac-12 games.