Southern Cal-Colorado Preview


Colorado expects to experience plenty of bumps along the way while trying to move on without its leading scorer.

The No. 21 Buffaloes hope to avoid a third straight defeat and keep visiting USC winless in Pac-12 play Saturday.

Colorado (14-4, 3-2) was rolling along until junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie tore his ACL during the first half of a 71-54 loss at Washington on Sunday. The Buffaloes were outscored 49-29 after the injury to Dinwiddie, who averaged team highs of 14.7 points, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals.

The Buffaloes also lost promising reserve freshman Tre'Shaun Fletcher for at least six weeks to a knee injury in the same game.

"We can't feel sorry for ourselves,'' said guard Askia Booker, who scored 21 during Thursday's 69-56 home loss to No. 25 UCLA. "We have to go out there and hoop. If we don't do that, we're going to be in trouble."

After shooting 34.5 percent and committing a season-high 20 turnovers at Washington, Colorado made 40.0 percent of its shots and turned the ball over 17 times while falling to 11-1 at home Thursday.

"It is going to be a process because we lost a key component of our team - two of them," coach Tad Boyle said. ''Is it going to take time? Yes, but that's not an excuse. We didn't lose this game 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."

Colorado's recent struggles, however, began when Dinwiddie was held to a season-low six points and the team shot 41.2 percent during a 71-70 overtime win at Washington State on Jan. 8.

"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.''

Boyle will continue to lean on 6-foot-10 sophomore Josh Scott, who is tied for second in the Pac-12 at 9.2 rebounds per game and has averaged 16.4 points in the last seven. He had a team-high 14 points in last season's 66-60 home win over USC (9-8, 0-4).

Booker went 0 for 9 from the field and didn't score at Washington, but bounced back to hit 7 of 11 shots and five 3-pointers Thursday. He scored 12 on 4-of-12 shooting against USC a year ago.

Colorado is 3-0 all-time at home against the Trojans, who have averaged 63.0 points while giving up 85.8 and 50.4 percent shooting in league play this season. USC, which lost its first eight conference games two years ago, shot 50.0 percent Thursday, but allowed Utah to score 27 points off 17 turnovers in an 84-66 road loss.

"We had a couple crucial turnovers, missed some layups," said USC coach Andy Enfield, whose team ranks last in the Pac-12 averaging 14.5 turnovers.

Guard Byron Wesley averaged 21.0 points in the previous five games but finished with eight Thursday. He had 10 points, five rebounds and four of his team's season-high 23 turnovers at Colorado last season.

USC fell 73-53 to No. 1 Arizona at home Sunday in its only previous game this season against a ranked opponent. The Trojans have dropped four straight league road games to Top 25 teams since a 72-63 win over No. 4 UCLA six years and day to this matchup.