What went right: CU outrebounded WSU 39-37 and went 10-for-11 on free throws in the second half.
What went wrong: The Buffs shot just .379, their lowest mark since the first two Pac-12 games in Arizona, and allowed WSU to go 10-for-19 on 3-pointers.
Star of the game: McKinley Wright. The sophomore point guard finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists with no turnovers in 33 minutes.
What's next: The Buffs complete the final regular-season road trip Saturday at league-leading Washington (8:30 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Network).
PULLMAN, Wash. — With five road wins already to its credit going into Wednesday night's game at Washington State, the Colorado men's basketball team already owned as many road victories as the Buffaloes recorded the past two seasons combined.
More importantly, the Buffs brought their first five-game conference winning streak in 13 years into Pullman with a chance to continue a long but steady climb up the Pac-12 Conference standings.
The Buffs also had lost its previous two games at WSU's Beasley Coliseum. And in the end, that was the only streak that continued.
Unable to slow a Washington State squad that shot the ball well the entire night, the Buffs saw their winning streak come to a halt as the Cougars held off the Buffs in a 76-74 decision. The Buffs missed a chance to separate themselves from a crowded middle pack in the league following Stanford's loss at Arizona State earlier in the night, and now the Buffs must face league-leading Washington in their final regular-season road game on Saturday.
The Buffs, Stanford, and USC all began the week tied at 7-6, but CU and the Cardinal fell to 7-7.
“Couldn't get a rebound, couldn't get stops,” CU point guard McKinley Wright said. “That's all it is. We've been playing great defense the last couple weeks but I don't know what happened tonight.”
As has been the case throughout much of the past few weeks, CU found itself in a nip-and-tuck battle throughout the second half. Two free throws by Tyler Bey gave the Buffs a 74-73 lead with 1 minute, 52 seconds left, but CU went scoreless the rest of the way.
WSU's Isaiah Wade gave the Cougars a 75-74 lead by converting a putback basket after CU missed several chances to secure the defensive rebound. CU's D'Shawn Schwartz missed a pair of open looks on the Buffs' ensuing possessions, and Wade added another free throw with seven seconds left to give the Cougars a 76-74 lead.
Wright missed a late 3-point attempt, but the Buffs received one more chance after WSU was called for traveling with half a second left. Wright struggled to find someone on the inbounds play under the basket before Schwartz's desperate attempt at the buzzer went awry.
“We got the stop we needed to get, but we couldn't secure the rebound,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “We come down and we get a really good look from the corner (from Schwartz) and it didn't go in. We foul them and they miss one of the free throws and we get another good look. We had our opportunities to win this game. We didn't execute on offense and we didn't execute on defense.
“It goes beyond just the last minute 50 to me. You hold this team to two 3-point shots made in Boulder and they make 10 tonight. That's a lack of focus.”
Already utilizing a patchwork rotation due to his team's depleted depth, the Buffs' early foul trouble forced Boyle to get even more creative throughout the first half. Bey had grabbed just three rebounds when he went to the bench with his second foul with 12 minutes, 24 seconds remaining in the first half. Lucas Siewert followed suit at the 8:34 mark, and by the time halftime finally arrived the Buffs boasted five players saddled with two fouls.
Siewert finished just 1-for-10 overall and 1-for-7 on 3-pointers. The Buffs again struggled from long range, going 9-for-29 on 3-pointers.
Wright briefly left the briefly during the second half after aggravating his injured left shoulder, but he still finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.
Washington State 76, Colorado 74
COLORADO (16-10, 7-7)
Siewert 1-10 0-0 3, Gatling 4-13 0-0 12, Bey 3-6 6-8 12, Schwartz 2-7 0-0 6, Wright 5-12 2-2 13, Kountz 3-6 1-1 8, Battey 4-7 5-6 13, Parquet 1-3 1-1 3, Strating 2-2 0-1 4. Totals 25-66 15-19 74.
WASHINGTON STATE (11-15, 4-9)
Franks 6-19 5-6 19, Pollard 1-2 0-0 2, Cannon 4-8 3-3 13, Ali 4-6 0-0 11, Daniels 0-1 2-2 2, Wade 1-2 2-4 4, Robinson 2-3 0-0 5, Elleby 6-13 4-4 18, Kunc 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 25-55 16-19 76.
Halftime -- Washington State 38, Colorado 36. 3-point field goals -- Colorado 9-29 (Siewert 1-7, Gatling 4-10, Schwartz 2-5, Wright 1-3, Kountz 1-3, Parquet 0-1); Washington State -- 10-19 (Franks 2-6, Cannon 2-4, Ali 3-3, Robinson 1-2, Elleby 2-4). Rebounds -- Colorado 39 (Bey 12); Washington State 37 (Wade, Elleby 8). Assists -- Colorado 16 (Wright 7); Washington State 17 (Robinson, Elleby 4). Total fouls -- Colorado 19, Washington State 19. Fouled out -- Battey. A -- 1,911.