BOULDER - Color the Colorado Buffaloes red - make that Cardinal - with embarrassment.
Stanford shredded CU's home-court mystique in the Pac-12 Conference on Thursday night, rolling to a 74-50 win and dealing the Buffs their first league loss at the Coors Events Center and only the second overall at home this season.
It was CU's worst beating of 2011-12, surpassing a 20-point defeat (84-64) last month at Stanford. If you think the Cardinal has the Buffs' number, you might be right.
"I don't have much to say . . . other than it was an old fashioned butt-whipping we took in every phase," said CU coach Tad Boyle, who apologized to Buffs fans for being "cheated" and having to witness a bludgeoning that they (and Boyle) would have a difficult time explaining.
Boyle tried before conceding, "We had a lot more to play for than Stanford, but we didn't act like it or play like it at all. I didn't see this coming; I was a little surprised."
For the most part, his players were, too, theorizing that their subpar defense translated in an offensive night that fell somewhere well south of subpar. CU shot a season-low 29.6 percent from the field (16-of-54) and was 14-of-30 from the free throw line. The Buffs' starters combined to shoot 9-for-37 from the field.
"We let our offense get to our defense," said sixth-man freshman guard Askia Booker, the only CU player in double figures (12 points). "Shots weren't falling and I think that transferred right to our defense. Everyone's heads were down, didn't play defense, didn't get back on defense . . .
"Coach felt we were prepared, we felt we were prepared. We just didn't come in and handle our business."
It was a night of bad business in almost every category for the Buffs, who appeared overmatched at nearly every position. The Cardinal outscored them 17-1 in second-chance points and outrebounded them 50-26 - or as Boyle said, "They beasted us on the boards. It was not even close." The Cardinal won the rebound battle in the first game 35-27.
Boyle said matchup problems "go both ways . . . they obviously have great size, great athleticism (but) we have played against teams that are bigger, faster and stronger and we have competed against them. I know last year's team did. We are capable of doing it, but we haven't done it against Stanford for some reason."
The loss was CU's first in eight Pac-12 home games, dropping the Buffs to 10-5 in the conference and 18-9 overall. The Cardinal, which had lost six of nine games after bouncing the Buffs last month, improved to 19-9 and 8-7.
Keenly aware of CU's previous home dominance this season, Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said he was "proud of our guys' effort here. It's really fun to watch our guys grow in a game and work in an atmosphere like this.
"We just wanted t come out, play hard and compete. (CU is) a great team . . . well-coached. They've been having a terrific season and we wanted to just try and compete with them here in such a great environment."
CU entered game trailing only Pac-12 co-leaders California and Washington, each at 12-3, in the conference standings. Cal visits the Events Center Sunday afternoon (3:30 p.m.), and if the Buffs hope to stay afloat near the top of the Pac-12 standings, resurrecting themselves in their final regular-season home game will be a must.
"We have to," senior forward Austin Dufault said. "Our season is winding down and we are still, I think, one of the top teams in our league. We just have to look at this game, learn from it and move on. We need to put this in the rearview as fast as we can and get ready to play Cal because they're the number one team in our conference."
Thursday night's game was a near-sellout (11,036), and the crowd included former Buffs stars Cory Higgins and Alec Burks, both of whom now are in the NBA. Higgins is with Charlotte, Burks with Utah.
CU could have used both - and maybe a handful of their NBA teammates. Stanford, which played its best game to date against CU in Palo Alton, submitted yet another complete game. The Cardinal held the Buffs to their lowest first-half total of the season (20) while rolling up a season-high (40) point total against CU in the first 20 minutes.
Cardinal freshman guard Chasson Randle led all scorers with 20 points, while sophomore forward John Gage added 11. Buffs sophomore Andre Roberson finished with nine points and 11 rebounds, while Cardinal senior Josh Owens had 12 boards and nine points.
The Cardinal got the game's first points on a trey by Randle, and unfortunately for the Buffs it was a first-half preview. By intermission, Stanford had buried seven of its dozen three-point attempts and owned a 40-20 halftime lead. Randle & Co. hit half of their 18 trey attempts - one less than they buried against CU in the rout in Palo Alto.
The Cardinal's 40 first-half points equaled UCLA's output as the most the Buffs had allowed this season. And CU's 20 first-half points was a season-low, which wasn't hard to figure considering the Buffs opened 0-for-7 from the field and didn't get their first field goal until nearly 6 minutes in and wound up shooting 20.7 percent (6-of-29).
Meanwhile, Stanford kept pouring it on. The Cardinal's big first-half lead was 22 points (40-18) in the half's final minute. Randle finished with 10 first-half points, making both of his three-point attempts, while Gage went 3-for-4 from behind the arc and finished with 11 points.
Exacerbating the Buffs' scoring problems was their rebounding. The Cardinal crushed them on the board, going to the locker room with a 27-12 advantage in that area as well as holding lopsided margins in points in the paint (12-6), second-chance points (9-0), and points off the bench (21-4).
Clearly, the first half belonged to Stanford - and if there wasn't a dramatic reversal, the night would as well. The reversal never came.
The Cardinal outscored the Buffs 7-2 in the second half's 21/2 minutes and went up by 25 points (47-22). Just over 4 minutes later, after Randle buried another trey, followed it with a conventional three-point play, then hit two of three free throws, Stanford was up by 29 (57-28) - its largest lead of the night - and a slow exodus from the Events Center began.
Leaving early was a good call; CU never came closer than 20 points in the second half.
The Buffs close out the regular season next week with games at Oregon on Thursday and at Oregon State on Saturday. The Pac-12 tournament runs March 7-10 at Los Angeles' Staples Center.