ORLANDO, Fla. — The Colorado Buffaloes basketball team suffered their worst loss of the season on the NCAA’s biggest stage Thursday, falling to Pittsburgh 77-48 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament’s field of 64.
CU head coach Tad Boyle didn’t mince words.
“The defensive focus and intensity we had today was pathetic,” Boyle said following the loss.
The Buffaloes offense wasn’t much better on the day, as CU shot 35 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the 3-point line. Senior Askia Booker, CU’s top scorer this season, struggled as well, shooting 2-of-9 from the field on his way to six points, eight points below his season average.
CU played without its former leading scorer, Spencer Dinwiddie, for the 18th consecutive game Thursday. Dinwiddie tore his ACL 17 games into the season, and many suggested his absence was the reason CU struggled on offense for the second half of the season.
However, it didn’t appear as though Dinwiddie would have elevated the Buffaloes above a Pittsburgh team that saw balanced scoring from its entire lineup Thursday, including senior Talib Zanna, who led the way with 18 points.
Even still, it would be tough to consider the season a total failure for CU, as Thursday marked the third straight season the team has appeared in the NCAA Tournament. That’s a school record.
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CU also finished the year with a 23-12 record, which is the second best of their three straight tournament-bound seasons.
Though the Buffaloes will lose Booker next season, there’s a good chance the rest of their lineup — with the possible exception of Dinwiddie — will return. Dinwiddie, a junior, is expected to consider making the leap to the NBA.