The penance is over for Wesley Gordon and Xavier Johnson.
Suspended by Colorado head coach Tad Boyle before this past Sunday's loss at Cal due to a violation of undisclosed team rules, the duo sat out their second consecutive game while CU's depth — a team strength for much of the season — worsened throughout a 81-66 victory Thursday night against Washington.
While Johnson and Gordon remained in street clothes, freshman guard Deleon Brown also missed his first game of the season due to a concussion he suffered earlier this week at practice. The Buffs took another shot in the second half when senior guard Josh Fortune went down after a hard fall with 12 minutes, 45 seconds remaining and did not return. Boyle termed Fortune's setback as a potential jaw injury.
In a positive for the Buffs, Boyle said Johnson and Gordon will return from their two-game hiatus for Sunday's home date against Washington State. The status of Brown and Fortune will be reexamined over the next few days.
"I looked down to put (Fortune) in late in the game and he was in the training room," Boyle said. "XJ and Wes will be back Sunday. Hopefully we'll get Deleon back in the fold. He had a concussion at practice a couple days ago, so hopefully he'll pass those tests and we'll get him back. I think (Fortune) will be all right but we'll get a feel for that over the next couple of days."
While Boyle was appreciative of Thursday's win — it was 200th as a Division I head coach — the milestone didn't register as high as a down-the-stretch winning streak would in his list of personal accomplishments.
"The thing about coaching is the wins are nice, but they're almost a relief. The losses are what I'd like to get rid of," Boyle said. "Those are the ones...that's why I don't have any hair and what I have is gray.
"It doesn't mean a whole lot other than it's just another number, but it's a round number so people talk about it. I want to win every game as the head coach at Colorado. I'm more concerned about our team winning the last four out of five and getting on a roll here down the stretch than I am about getting 200."
Now in his seventh season at CU, Boyle owns a 144-91 mark with the Buffs and also went 56-65 in four seasons at Northern Colorado.
With Washington's Markelle Fultz on the sideline due to a sore knee, CU's Derrick White was denied a chance to make a better defensive impression against the Pac-12 Conference's leading scorer. Fultz, a favorite to become the top overall pick in this year's NBA draft, torched the Buffs for 37 points three weeks ago with White assuming much of the defensive chores against him.
"I was bummed. I wanted to go out there and compete against him but I couldn't," said White, who recorded 16 points and three assists without a turnover in 33 minutes. "We had to focus on their capable players they came out with. But yeah, I wanted to play against him."
Washington senior Malik Dime, sidelined due to a broken finger, reportedly got into an altercation with a fan at the end of the first half near the student section at the end of the Huskies' bench...With only eight turnovers Thursday, CU has kept its turnovers to single-digits in three of the past five games...Tory Miller's 11 points was a season-high...Freshman guard Bryce Peters tallied a season-best six assists...The Buffs have shot at least 50 percent from the field in three of the past five games.