Boulder, CO – Late Thursday night, the Colorado Buffaloes (15-14) faced off against the USC Trojans (20-8) at the CU Events Center in Boulder, CO. Led by senior combo-guard Boogie Ellis, the Trojans cruised to a 84-65 victory.
While the Buffs scored the first five points of the first half, the Trojans were hot from the jump, shooting 63% in the half, taking control with a 13-2 run eventually building into a 43-30 halftime lead. After the break, USC extended their lead to 17 points before the Buffs had a spark, embarking on an 11-2 run led by Sophomore KJ Simpson and grad transfer Ethan Wright (6 points on 2/6 shooting) .
CU came within nine points of the Trojans multiple times in the second half, but were put away by USC on a 12-1 run that gave Ellis and the Trojans a 75-53 lead. Ellis, the reigning Pac-12 player of the week, led the Trojans with 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting. Exhibiting his swift and forceful dribbling skills, Ellis tallied six points in the paint. Furthermore, Ellis utilized his agility and power on the defensive end, persistently pressuring and intercepting passes, resulting in six turnovers for Colorado.
This season, Ellis is averaging 13.4 points per game on 44.2% shooting from the field, including 38.8% from three-point range. He’s also averaging 2.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. At 6’2″ and 175 pounds, Ellis is a bit undersized for a shooting guard, but he more than makes up for it with his quickness and athleticism. Ellis is a dynamic scorer who can create his own shot off the dribble, attack the rim with physicality, and knock down shots from beyond the arc. He’s also a lockdown defender who can harass opposing guards and disrupt their offensive flow.
On the opposite side of the court, the Buffaloes were led by breakout sophomore guard KJ Simpson who had 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting along with six rebounds and four assists. While Simpson had his second turnover-free game of the season, CU struggled to slow down the high-scoring tandem of Ellis and Drew Peterson (11 points, 5/12 shooting). When asked post-game about his team’s play, CU head coach Tad Boyle said, “If you let a team shoot 57% and out-rebound you by eight, they’re going to be hard to beat.”
Tristan Da Silva struggled to find his rhythm on the offensive end, as the Trojans’ defense limited him to just six points on a 2-of-9 shooting from the field. Despite this seemingly off night, Da Silva has been a consistent scorer for the Buffaloes this season, averaging 16.1 PPG while shooting an impressive 50.9% from the field. Da Silva’s athleticism and versatility have made him a tough matchup for opponents in the PAC-12. He’ll look to bounce back in the Buffaloes’ next game on February 26th against UCLA.
The Trojans secured their second win against the Buffs for the season, placing them at a 20-8 record in the Pac-12. USC appears locked in for their next game against the 17-12 Utah Utes. The loss to USC was the Buffs’ third loss in the past four games. They’ll look to regain their form at home on Sunday against No.4 ranked UCLA.