SEATTLE — Even when compared to the disappointment of an unexpected under-.500 season two years ago, Colorado's Tad Boyle admits he is trying to navigate uncharted waters in his coaching career.

His Buffaloes' overtime loss late Wednesday night at Washington dropped the Buffs to 0-6 in the Pac-12 Conference, the first 0-6 start for the program in league play since the 1992-93 season. The unprecedented losing streak — the Buffs also have lost nine straight road games in the league — has created the sort of challenge he hasn't before faced in his 11 seasons as a Division I head coach.

"It's not even close (to 2014-15)," Boyle said. "Because this team is really trying, they're just not getting it done in terms of making winning plays. They practice hard. Their attitude is good. It's frustrating because I'm not able to help them as much as I want to help them."

The Buffs had not previously lost as many as five games in a row under Boyle, and the current six-game losing streak is the longest since CU ended the 2008-09 season with 12 consecutive losses.

Dreams of reaching a fifth NCAA Tournament in six seasons is growing more dim with each game, and CU has a short turnaround before attempting to finally break into the win column Saturday afternoon at Washington State.


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"It's our last game on the road trip and we don't want to go 0-2 on the road," CU junior George King said. "Everything rides on this next game against Washington State."

Zone up

At the beginning of the year Boyle promised fans would see more zone defense out of his club. It hasn't happened too often when foul trouble wasn't involved, yet the Buffs utilized zone often Wednesday night at Washington.

"Number one, it took their ball-screens out of the equation," Boyle said. "Their ball-screens were hurting us and in the first half we were able to get them to pass it around the perimeter and take contested shots. In the second half we got spread out and they drove it around us and we weren't able to get those same stops.

"The zone I thought was good to us because it did get them standing around a little bit. But it doesn't matter what defense you play...we talked about exerting control defensively over the 15-foot radius from the basket. In the first half we did that. In the second half we didn't do that."

Notable

For the first time this season sophomore guard Thomas Akyazili did not play...After struggling enough of late to lose his starting job senior Josh Fortune turned in a solid effort at Washington, going 3-for-5 from the floor with seven points, two rebounds, and one assist in 15 minutes...Washington's Malik Dime, the team's only senior, missed his third consecutive game due to a broken finger...King went 2-for-3 on 3-pointers and has gone 10-for-18 over the past four games...CU senior Wesley Gordon posted 11 rebounds for his fifth double-figure effort of the season...Junior guard Dom Collier made his second start of the season.

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07