The CU men’s basketball team is working to break a four-game losing streak at the Coors Events Center.
After starting conference play with three straight wins, the Buffs (14-8, 3-4 Big 12) have fallen into a funk over the past two weeks with losses against Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas and Baylor. They look to regain their early-season momentum against the Iowa State Cyclones (14-8, 1-6 Big 12) Tuesday in Boulder.
“We have to get back to the same game [as before],” said sophomore guard Alec Burks, who has led the Buffs in scoring for 14 games this season and is currently the Big 12’s leading scorer.
Head coach Tad Boyle said consistency on both the offense and the defense has been a struggle for his team in recent games, and he hopes to see improvement against ISU.
“It’s partly focus, partly concentration, partly maturity,” Boyle said. “We have to play with a sense of urgency every possession… like it’s the last one of the game.”
The Cyclones will bring some serious threats to the Coors Events Center on Tuesday. ISU senior guard Diante Garrett, who is ranked third in the Big 12 in scoring and second in assists, is a force to be reckoned with.
“He is the best guard that nobody talks about,” Boyle said. “He can score and he can make his team better.”
Besides Garrett, the Cyclones have several other three-point shooters to look out for. Junior guard Scott Christopherson and senior forward Jamie Vanderbeken average 2.8 and 2.5 three-point field goals per game, respectively.
One of the most important tasks for Colorado will be “knowing where they are at all times,” said Buffs junior guard Nate Tomlinson.
Last year CU went head-to-head with the Cyclones twice, and both were close matchups. Colorado lost to ISU early in the season on the road, 69-70, but took them down at home a month later, 75-72.
Tomlinson said that playing at home brings a valuable energy to the team.
“Whenever the students come out and support us, it gives us a boost,” Tomlinson said. “When they get behind us, we play better.”
Burks said his team fed off of the intensity of the crowd in the Buffs’ home game against Kansas last Tuesday, and he hopes for a similar showing Tuesday night.
“It was very positive,” Burks said. “They showed us great love out there.”
Support from the fans alone can’t win a game, though. Boyle said following through to the second half will be crucial, especially after Saturday’s loss to the Baylor Bears. In that game, the Buffs led for the entire first half but let Baylor rally from a 17-point deficit to take the win.
“We lost everything we’d worked for [in the second half],” Boyle said. “Our defense got a little soft, we didn’t move the ball as well offensively. We battled, but we just didn’t make plays down the stretch.”
Iowa State leads the all-time series against CU 76-68, but the Cyclones are only 16-47 against Colorado in Boulder.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Caryn Maconi at Caryn.firstname.lastname@example.org.