BOULDER, Colo. — The CU Events Center continues to be Oregon’s torture chamber.
No matter the record, ranking, roster, month, day or year, the Ducks cannot win at Colorado.
Payton Pritchard scored 21 points to go with six rebounds and three assists but too often was doing too much either out of force or necessity for the No. 4 Ducks, who saw their five-game win streak snapped in a 74-65 loss to Colorado before a raucous 10,770 Thursday night.
“The ball wasn’t moving; we got to move it a little better,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We got to put him in in a better spot. We got to run some more things. The ball has to got move a lot better.”
Oregon (11-3) had Shakur Juiston (lower leg) back after he missed five games over the last month and C.J. Walker remained in the starting lineup after suffering a minor back injury against Alabama State. But even with the healthiest and deepest lineup they’ve had all season, the Ducks trailed for nearly the final 30 minutes of their ninth loss in as many visits to Colorado.
“We’ve won a lot of games; this is just one place we’ve had a hard time,” Altman said. “Colorado’s won once at our place. We haven’t won here. It’s one of those things. They got a good team and one of the best home courts. You look at KenPom, it’s a good place, tough place to play.”
What was painfully obvious though was Oregon’s reliance on Pritchard was different than games earlier this season when he had dominant heroics.
Oregon’s four other starters combined for four points during the first half, including nothing on one missed 3-pointer by Anthony Mathis and two points on 0 for 4 shooting by Chris Duarte.
Duarte had eight points and four rebounds in the second and Mathis added seven but the inconsistency nearly did Oregon in before halftime.
“We got to put them in a better position,” Altman said. “That’s part of my fault; I got to demand some better ball movement and got to get guys in better position. The ball has got to move a little better. We tried Shakur back in there and he went 4 for 5 and had some awful turnovers, especially late there. We got a long way to go.”
Pritchard scored six of Oregon’s first 14 points as the Ducks took an early lead. Colorado went on an 11-2 to take a 24-16 lead, went to half up 28-22 and never looked back.
The Ducks went just 3 for 18 from 3-point range, with 10 straight misses to open the game.
“We had some good looks,” Altman said. “Didn’t knock them down early. Starting out 0 for 10 before we finally hit one. Going to have to do a better job.”
Another 11-2 Buffaloes run made it 43-28 early in the second half, but Oregon (11-3) went on an 8-0 run and eventually trimmed the gap to 57-53 with 4:34 to go.
Then McKinley Wright IV (21 points, eight assists and five rebounds) hit a three to spark a 7-0 run for Colorado (12-2), which got 15 points and 14 rebounds from Tyler Bey and D’Shawn Schwartz added 13 points.
“A couple of bad defensive possessions, bad offensive possessions with the turnovers,” Altman said. “We put ourself in position and just didn’t get it done.”