LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tad Boyle figured what his young players didn’t know wouldn’t bother them, so the Colorado coach kept quiet about the Buffaloes never winning at Pauley Pavilion.
George King scored 26 points and Colorado defeated UCLA 68-59 on Saturday night, dropping the Bruins out of first place in the Pac-12.
It was Colorado’s first win in five games at Pauley since joining the Pac-12.
“When our seniors play well and our leaders play well, it makes our freshmen play well,” Boyle said. “We are a young team and we’re growing. We just have to be more consistent.”
King led the way, making a career-high six 3-pointers for the Buffaloes (11-7, 3-3), who earned their first road win of the season. The team’s lone starting senior finished one point short of his career high while grabbing 10 rebounds.
The Buffs start three freshmen along with King and junior Namon Wright.
Thomas Welsh scored 20 points — two off his career best — to lead the Bruins (13-5, 4-2). They shot 37 percent from the floor and were 5 of 25 from 3-point range.
“It’s definitely a tough one,” Welsh said.
King scored eight in a row, including consecutive 3-pointers, to push Colorado’s lead to 55-41.
Welsh took over for UCLA, scoring 10 in a row to close to 55-51. The 7-footer made two 3-pointers while teammate Chris Smith missed three free throws. King answered with his sixth 3-pointer and Colorado led 60-51. It was part of a 13-8 run the Buffs used to close out the game.
Most of the other Bruins were no better at the line, where the team was 8 of 18, a statistic surely galling to UCLA coach Steve Alford, who was a top foul shooter at Indiana.
“That was as poor as we’ve played all year,” Alford said. “Our effort was poor and we were flat.”
The Bruins were coming off a 19-point win against Utah on Thursday — Alford called it their best of the season — and a win would have given them sole possession of first place in the league after No. 17 Arizona won earlier.
“We got a lot of young guys doing it for the first time so maybe it’s understanding success,” Alford said.
After falling behind by 17, the Bruins closed the first half with a 12-5 run, including nine in a row, to trail 39-29 at the break. Four different players scored for UCLA, with Aaron Holiday contributing five straight. The Bruins shot 36 percent from the floor and made just 2 of 11 3-pointers in the half.
Holiday came in averaging 19.4 points as UCLA’s leading scorer, but he was held to 10 points playing a game-high 40 minutes. “I have to do more for us to win,” he said.
McKinley Wright IV guarded Holiday at the same time the Colorado freshman was the focus of UCLA’s defense. Wright finished with four points — well under his team-leading average of 15.6.
Colorado: The Buffs were 0-6 on the road, but the win got them back to .500. Defensively, they limited UCLA to 37 percent shooting from the floor and forced Holiday — UCLA’s best defender — into six of the Bruins’ 10 turnovers.
UCLA: The Bruins had their two-game winning streak snapped by losing to a team they had owned since the Buffs joined the league in 2011-12. UCLA is 11-3 all-time against the Buffs, and had won seven of eight coming in.
Colorado: Hosts Washington State on Thursday.
UCLA: Visits Oregon State on Thursday.
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