Buffs facing must-win

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Colorado has pushed Gonzaga and Arizona to the brink in the first two games of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

Yet the Buffs are 0-2 and in the last-place game tomorrow against host Chaminade.

After two “moral victories” this team feels like I did after swallowing a pint of the Pacific Ocean during a body surfing mishap last night.

“This is life,” associate head coach Steve McClain said after CU’s 91-87 overtime loss to the Wildcats on Tuesday at the Lahaina Civic Center. “The players did everything I asked them to do, but they didn’t get that carrot.”

McClain all but promised a victory over Chaminade. He knows Jeff Bzdelik, who is in Chicago with his ailing mother, could use some cheering up.

“I talked to him for just a minute, we didn’t talk about it too long,” McClain said of the 76-72 loss to Gonzaga in the tournament opener. “I was busy preparing for this game. All he said to me was, ‘Steve I thought the kids played hard, handled the game the way you should have.’

“I’m sure he’ll feel the same way today when I talk to him.”

If the Buffs beat Chaminade they should fly home with some confidence after nearly upsetting the Zags and Wildcats.

If they lose to the Division II Silverswords … well, McClain knows he can’t let it happen.

“We’re going to come in and play hard,” McClain promises. “I watched them on TV for two days and they’ve got a good team and they’ve played everybody tough. They’re sitting there waiting for somebody to not want to play.”

About ryan

Ryan Thorburn has been a sports writer at the Camera since 2000. He covered the Denver Broncos beat for eight seasons (2000-2007). For the last six years Ryan has been covering the University of Colorado athletic department, including beat writing duties on men's basketball and column writing on football.
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