What went right: The Buffs shot a solid .516 from the floor, while defensively CU surrendered a season-low point total while forcing a season-high 24 turnovers from WSU.
What went wrong: Very little, though freshman guard Deleon Brown missed his second consecutive game due to a concussion.
Star of the game: Derrick White. The senior guard put on another show for CU, going 9-for-11 from the field and finishing with 23 points, three assists, and three steals.
What's next: The Buffs return to the road for their annual two-game trip through Oregon, which begins Thursday night at Oregon State (7 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Network).
Three weeks ago, Washington State produced season-high totals in points and 3-pointers while stunning a defensively-challenged Colorado Buffaloes team in overtime.
On Sunday, the Cougars made the return trip to Boulder and were thoroughly dominated by the Buffs. The difference between the two games, according to CU senior guard Derrick White, hardly called for a deep scientific examination.
"We guarded," White said. "Last time they scored 91 points, then they scored 49 points. That's the biggest difference."
The Buffs continued their recent surge by putting together their most complete game of the Pac-12 Conference schedule, routing the Cougars 81-49 at the Coors Events Center for their fifth win in six games. The victory moved the Buffs into a share of seventh-place in the Pac-12 standings with five regular-season games remaining.
The Cougars' point total marked a season-low for CU's defense. The Buffs also forced 24 turnovers — the most by WSU this season and a season-high by a CU opponent.
While Washington State shot .538 and knocked down 13 3-pointers in its home win against the Buffs last month, the Cougars shot just .386 Sunday night while going 9-for-22 on 3-pointers. CU held Washington State's leading scorer and rebounder Josh Hawkinson to just eight points with nine rebounds. Hawkinson also recorded six of his team's 24 turnovers.
"We guarded the 3-point line better and our post guys really took on the challenge," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "I thought Wesley Gordon was very active down there. He had three steals and really moved his feet well. That's what post defense is all about. You're not going to win a wrestling match with Hawkinson or with (Conor) Clifford. So you have to move your feet. We wanted to front the post.
"Really, it comes down to we really guarded their post guys well, we guarded their perimeter well, we guarded the 3-point line much better."
CU never trailed, using a 13-0 run late in the first half to take control while building a 37-24 advantage at halftime. CU never looked back after scoring the first seven points of the second half.
White enjoyed another terrific all-around game for the Buffs, going 9-for-11 from the floor before finishing with 23 points, three assists, and three steals. White shot 15-for-21 in CU's two home wins over the long weekend and has scored at least 23 points in five of the past eight games.
Gordon and Xavier Johnson both returned from a two-game suspension due to a violation of team rules, with Gordon going 3-for-4 with seven points, a team-leading seven rebounds, and a season-best three steals. Junior guard George King added 11 points and four rebounds, while freshman guard Bryce Peters came off the bench to contribute 12 points.
"I think that was as good of an all-around performance as we've had all year," Boyle said. "There's not a lot of things I can point to as a coach that I was disappointed in, other than maybe the last two or three minutes it got a little sloppy. I thought our guys defended. They rebounded. We turned them over 24 times. Sixteen assists and 11 turnovers, a good ratio. Overall, it was a great team effort."
COLORADO 81, WASHINGTON STATE 49
WASHINGTON STATE (11-14, 4-9 Pac-12)
Pollard 1-1 0-1 2, Hawkinson 3-8 2-2 8, Iroegbu 2-7 0-0 5, Flynn 2-9 0-0 6, Callison 3-5 0-0 9, Franks 3-6 2-2 10, Clifford 1-1 2-2 4, Langston 1-3 0-1 2, Daniels 1-3 0-0 3, Shpreyregin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-44 6-8 49.
COLORADO (15-11, 5-8)
Gordon 3-4 1-1 7, Collier 2-5 0-0 4, White 9-11 2-3 23, G.King 5-11 0-0 11, Johnson 1-8 2-4 4, Miller 4-5 3-4 11, Siewert 1-2 0-0 2, Akyazili 0-2 0-0 0, Peters 5-9 0-0 12, Repine 0-1 0-0 0, Lombard 0-0 0-0 0, Fortune 2-4 1-2 7. Totals 32-62 9-14 81.
Halftime — Colorado 37-24. 3-point goals — Washington St. 9-22 (Callison 3-4, Franks 2-2, Flynn 2-6, Iroegbu 1-2, Daniels 1-2, Shpreyregin 0-1, Langston 0-2, Hawkinson 0-3), Colorado 8-21 (White 3-4, Peters 2-3, Fortune 2-4, G.King 1-3, Akyazili 0-1, Siewert 0-1, Johnson 0-2, Collier 0-3). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Washington St. 22 (Hawkinson 9), Colorado 34 (Gordon 7). Assists — Washington St. 9 (Callison 3), Colorado 16 (Johnson, White 3). Total fouls — Washington St. 17, Colorado 18. A — 7,612 (11,064).