What went right: The Buffs shook off foul trouble in the frontcourt and a first-half injury to McKinley Wright to nearly pull off the upset.
What went wrong: CU's defense couldn't get critical stops, with UW finishing with a .551 mark from the field. UW also outrebounded CU 31-29 and posted a 25-20 advantage on second-chance points.
Star of the game: D'Shawn Schwartz. The sophomore guard shook off his 3-point slump by going 4-for-5 from long range before finishing with a career-best 22 points.
What's next: The Buffs will get a little extra practice ahead of their next game Jan. 20 at Utah.
It will do down as a loss, and the Colorado Buffaloes might have lost more than just a basketball game Saturday night against Washington. Yet as the season continues it might be a challenge for the Buffs to top the grit and resiliency they displayed against the Huskies.
A slow start by CU was compounded by the loss of point guard McKinley Wright to a left shoulder injury with 8 minutes, 8 seconds remaining in the first half. Despite the loss of their floor general and a crippling array of foul trouble in the frontcourt, the Buffs nearly rallied against one of the favorites in the Pac-12 Conference before suffering a 77-70 loss.
The Buffs already were playing without guards Deleon Brown (academically ineligible) and Namon Wright (foot) before losing McKinley Wright in the backcourt. The frontcourt rotation also suffered in the second half, as Tyler Bey, Lucas Siewert, and Evan Battey all played through foul trouble, with Battey and Siewert fouling out in the latter stages of the second half.
"Disappointing loss for the Buffs tonight. It was a winnable game, but Washington obviously did what they had to do to win the game," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "They deserved to win. They didn't. There were some really good things that came out of tonight's game, out of a loss. You guys know I don't say that very often, but I thought with all the things we battled tonight...the first half our defensive atrociousness with them scoring 48 points and shooting 63 percent. As bad as that was, for our guys to battle back with McKinley going out and the foul trouble that we battled all night long, is a testament to our guys."
The Buffs fell behind 12-0 right out of the gate, missing their first seven shots from the field while the Huskies started 9-for-11, and CU trailed 30-18 when Wright was injured.
Yet as was the case throughout the remainder of the game, CU put together a 7-0 run immediately after Wright went to the locker room but couldn't sustain the momentum, with the Huskies recapturing a 48-35 lead at halftime.
CU used a 9-0 run to cut Washington's lead to one point midway through the second half and remained within two points with about five and a half minutes remaining, but the Huskies never relinquished the lead. Battey, who picked up his third and fourth fouls within a 14-second span early in the second half, and Siewert both fouled out within minutes of each other in the second half.
Siewert's fifth foul — on a 3-point attempt by UW's Matisse Thybulle — proved particularly detrimental. Thybulle knocked down all three free throws with 3:23 remaining, turning a three-point lead for UW into a six-point advantage. UW promptly got a defensive stop and a bucket from Jaylen Nowell, and the Buffs didn't get within one possession the rest of the way.
"I thought our guys grew up a little bit tonight, as crazy as that sounds," Boyle said. "We were patchworking tonight, there's no doubt about it. The guys that were in there in the second half to cut that thing to (one)...but then we fouled a 3-point shooter that we were playing as a driver.
"I thought Thursday night (against Washington State) one of the things I commended our guys about was playing smart defensively given the personnel on the other team. Tonight we didn't do that. We did not play smart defensively knowing personnel on the other team."
CU sophomore guard D'Shawn Schwartz went 4-for-5 on 3-pointers and finished with a career-best 22 points. Bey, who also played through foul trouble in the second half, finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Shane Gatling took over the bulk of the ball-handling duties after Wright's injury and finished with a season-high six assists, though he struggled to a 1-for-6 mark on 3-pointers.
WASHINGTON 77, COLORADO 70
WASHINGTON (12-4, 3-0 Pac-12)
Dickerson 2-2 3-6 7, H.Wright 2-3 0-0 5, Nowell 9-13 1-3 19, Thybulle 1-4 6-7 9, Crisp 4-8 4-4 16, Timmins 2-3 0-1 4, Carter 4-7 0-0 9, Green 3-8 0-0 8, J.Bey 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-49 14-21 77.
COLORADO (10-6, 1-3 Pac-12)
Siewert 4-10 0-0 8, M.Wright 1-2 0-0 2, Kountz 3-7 1-2 8, Schwartz 6-10 6-6 22, T.Bey 6-10 3-4 15, Battey 3-4 0-2 6, Strating 0-0 1-2 1, Parquet 0-0 0-0 0, Gatling 1-11 5-7 8. Totals 24-54 16-23 70.
Halftime — Washington 48-35. 3-point goals — Washington 9-20 (Crisp 4-7, Green 2-6, H.Wright 1-1, Carter 1-2, Thybulle 1-4), Colorado 6-15 (Schwartz 4-5, Kountz 1-3, Gatling 1-6, Siewert 0-1). Fouled out — Battey, Siewert, H.Wright. Rebounds — Washington 25 (Dickerson 8), Colorado 24 (T.Bey 9). Assists — Washington 9 (Nowell 5), Colorado 13 (Gatling 6). Total fouls — Washington 22, Colorado 21. A — 7,758.