USC (19-5, 13-4 Pac-12) connected on just 38.3 percent of its field-goal attempts and shot five-of-16 from the 3-point line. The Trojans — who had a great start in their win over Oregon on Tuesday — came out flat in the first half.
The Buffaloes (18-7, 12-6 Pac-12) were the more intense of the two teams to begin and jumped out to an early 19-8 lead. But Evan Mobley and Chevez Goodwin got USC’s offense going, combining nine points during the Trojans’ 11-3 run to get back into it.
It remained close until late in the first half. After Ethan Anderson’s jumper cut USC’s deficit to just four points, Colorado went on a 10-1 run over the final 3:11 and took a 42-29 lead into the break.
The Trojans never recovered. Buffaloes forward Jeriah Horne’s layup with 12:50 left in the game extended the lead to 17, and USC never managed to get within single digits the rest of the way.
Mobley and Tahj Eaddy each finished with 13 points to lead the Trojans, who didn’t get much from the second unit. Horne led Colorado with 24 points, which is more than what the USC bench combined to score. The Trojan’s second unit had just 18 points on seven-of-21 shooting.
The good news is that USC gave itself enough cushion that losing this game shouldn’t have a big impact on its NCAA Tournament chances. Andy Enfield’s squad sits just half a hame behind cross-town rival UCLA for the top spot in Pac-12 with three games remaining.
The Trojans will play the Bruins in the regular season finale on March 6.