Colorado s Josh Scott (40) passes to a teammate while defended by Washington State s Jordan Railey (20) and Dexter Kernich-Drew (10) during the first half
Colorado s Josh Scott (40) passes to a teammate while defended by Washington State s Jordan Railey (20) and Dexter Kernich-Drew (10) during the first half Wednesday night in Spokane, Wash. ( Young Kwak )

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Going into Wednesday night, everything pointed to a Colorado Buffaloes blowout win.

The 15th-ranked Buffs were fresh off a win against undefeated Oregon on Sunday. The last-place Washington State Cougars were blown out in their first two Pac-12 games. And, they went into Wednesday without star guard DaVonte Lacy.

Throughout the night, though, it was the Buffs who played on their heels, as they needed a late rally to get to overtime and then held on in the extra session for a 71-70 win at Spokane Arena.

"Even on a bad night, we won," CU forward Josh Scott said. "It was probably the worst we've played all season as a collective team. We have to be optimistic. At least we won."

It wasn't easy, though, as the Buffs (14-2, 3-0 Pac-12) needed Scott to score eight of his team-high 19 points in overtime to remain undefeated in conference play.

Askia Booker had 18 points for the Buffs, while Xavier Johnson had 14.

"Washington State played a heck of a game," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "I felt like they deserved to win the game. We did what we had to do and for that I'm proud of our guys, but we've got to get better."

CU looked lethargic most of the night and didn't take its first lead of the game until 4 minutes, 26 seconds to play, when Johnson hit a pair of free throws to put the Buffs ahead 53-51.

"We were flat, we weren't ready to play," Boyle said. "As a coach, I take responsibility for that. I don't have an answer as to why, but we're going to make sure it doesn't happen again."

On Sunday, the Buffs played perhaps their best game of the season in a 100-91 win against then-No. 10 Oregon, but didn't look anything like that Wednesday.

"The Oregon game took a lot out of us mentally, physically, spiritually," Boyle said. "We emptied our tank that game, but we had two days to prepare."

Luckily for the Buffs, they regrouped in time.

After Johnson gave CU the lead, Washington State (7-8, 0-3) tied the game at 53-53 with a pair of free throws with 2:58 to go.

The Buffs took their second lead, 56-53, when Xavier Talton drained a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:22 to go. That gave CU a 56-53 advantage.

The score stayed there until the final seconds of regulation. Coming out of a timeout, Washington State's Royce Woolridge drained a 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds left to tie the game and send it to overtime.

In overtime, the Buffs finally got aggressive on offense and took it to the hoop. Scott had four buckets in the paint and Spencer Dinwiddie added one as the Buffs built their biggest lead of the game, 66-60, with 2:12 to go in overtime.

Washington State hit two more 3-pointers in the final eight seconds, but CU held on for the win.

After the game, the Buffs felt fortunate to come away with the win.

Despite playing without Lacy, who had an appendectomy last week, the Cougars played a spirited game and drained their 3-pointers, going 13-for-23 from downtown.

"We let them control the tempo of the game," Boyle said. "Defensively we didn't get after them. We just were lethargic defensively."

Last in the Pac-12 in 3-point shooting (30.8 percent), the Cougars seemingly couldn't miss against CU. Dexter Kernich-Drew went 6-for-8 from 3-point range, finishing with a career-high 24 points for Washington State.

"We've got a target on our back right now," Boyle said. "Our guys proved tonight that we're not quite ready to handle that yet, in terms of the way we perform and we prepare."

In the end, though, it was a win, and it's one that the Buffs hope to learn from.

"We have to realize that everyone is going to give us their best shot," Booker said. "We have a number beside our name and that's what everybody wants to play against and they're going to bring their A game."

Said Scott: "I think our team needed to realize that we're No. 15 in the country and people are gunning for us. I think this is good."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.

No. 15 Colorado 71,

Washington St. 70

COLORADO

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Gordon 28 2-5 1-2 3-6 0 1 5

Johnson 34 4-8 6-10 1-3 1 3 14

Scott 41 8-12 3-4 3-9 0 2 19

Booker 38 2-12 13-14 0-4 3 3 18

Dinwiddie 38 2-5 1-4 0-2 2 1 6

Talton 16 1-3 0-0 0-4 2 0 3

Fletcher 9 1-3 2-2 0-2 0 0 4

Thomas 5 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2

Hopkins 15 0-1 0-2 0-2 0 3 0

King 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 225 21-51 26-38 7-34 8 13 71

Percentages: FG .412, FT .684.

3-Point Goals: 3-13, .231 (Talton 1-2, Dinwiddie 1-3, Booker 1-4, Hopkins 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Fletcher 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 3 (Gordon, Fletcher, Scott).

Turnovers: 6 (Gordon 3, Scott, Booker).

Steals: 5 (Booker 2, Dinwiddie 2, Talton).

Technical Fouls: None.

WASHINGTON ST.

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Shelton 38 6-11 1-1 0-12 3 3 14

Railey 7 0-3 0-0 0-0 1 2 0

Kernich-Drew 42 8-12 2-2 2-2 0 4 24

Woolridge 42 4-14 0-0 0-3 11 3 10

Johnson 21 4-9 0-0 0-0 0 4 10

Iroegbu 25 2-3 0-0 1-4 0 1 6

DiIorio 9 0-1 0-0 1-1 0 1 0

Longrus 31 2-5 0-0 0-4 2 4 4

Hawkinson 10 1-2 0-0 1-3 0 0 2

Totals 225 27-60 3-3 5-33 17 22 70

Percentages: FG .450, FT 1.000.

3-Point Goals: 13-23, .565 (Kernich-Drew 6-8, Iroegbu 2-3, Woolridge 2-4, Johnson 2-5, Shelton 1-3).

Team Rebounds: 4.

Blocked Shots: 2 (Longrus, Kernich-Drew).

Turnovers: 11 (Shelton 2, Kernich-Drew 2, Johnson 2, Iroegbu 2, Woolridge, Railey).

Steals: 4 (Woolridge 3, Longrus).

Technical Fouls: None.

Colorado 28 28 15--71

Washington St. 34 22 14--70

A -- 3,122.

Officials -- Chris Rastatter, Rick Batsell, Scott Brown.