Fast break

What went right: Quite a bit. Perhaps most importantly for the Buffs was that for just the fourth time this season, and the first time since a Dec. 1 win against Colorado State, they finished with more assists (20) than turnovers (12).

What went wrong: Very little, though WSU's 10 offensive rebounds led to a slight 13-12 edge for the Cougars on second-chance points.

Star of the game: Tyler Bey. The sophomore forward posted his fifth double-double of the season with a career-best 26 points with 10 rebounds. Bey went 10-for-13 from the field and 5-for-6 on free throws.

What's next: The Buffs' brief two-game homestand concludes Saturday night against Washington (8 p.m., ESPNU).

Much has occurred since the Colorado men's basketball team last hit the floor at the CU Events Center.

It had been 33 days since the Buffaloes defeated Illinois-Chicago in their final home nonconference game, and the Buffs subsequently played six consecutive regular-season games away from home for the first time in 32 years.

The first of those six games stirred hope the Buffs' hot start was sustainable, with CU overcoming a 17-point deficit in a road win at New Mexico. The other five included four ugly losses that showed why the young Buffs remain a work in progress.


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Yet returning to the friendly confines of the CU Events Center Thursday night to face a perpetual Pac-12 Conference cellar-dweller Washington State proved to be the perfect remedy for all that ailed the Buffs, as CU ran away from the visiting Cougars for a 92-60 victory.

Washington State scored the game's first five points, but CU scored the next 14 and never trailed the rest of the way. The Cougars played without the Pac-12's leading scorer, Robert Franks, who did not make the trip and missed his third consecutive game due to a hip injury.

Colorado’s Shane Gatling takes a shot on Thursday against Washington State at the CU Events Center.
Colorado's Shane Gatling takes a shot on Thursday against Washington State at the CU Events Center. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

"I don't know if it's home, I don't know what it is. I just know that it was just nice to see the shots go in," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "That gave us some energy at the defensive end, I think. We started out down 5-0, but we didn't see shoulders slumped."

The Buffs shot under 36 percent in three of their previous four games but took advantage of plenty of good looks against Washington State, finishing with a .547 mark from the floor. It was CU's third-best shooting effort of the season, trailing the .586 the Buffs posted at Air Force on Nov. 24 and the .589 they recorded in a season-opening win against Drake.

The Buffs had shot just .262 (37-for-141) on 3-pointers over the previous seven games and went 11-for-43 (.256) during last week's losses at Arizona and Arizona State. But the Buffs got back on track from long range against the Cougars, going 11-for-27. It was just the third time this season, and the first since the win at Air Force, CU has made 10 3-pointers in a game.

"It was great. We definitely needed that for our confidence," CU sophomore guard D'Shawn Schwartz said. "But we're not satisfied. We have a big game Saturday against Washington."

CU built a 41-25 halftime lead but Washington State briefly made things interesting with a 9-2 run immediately after the break. However, the Buffs promptly answered with one of Shane Gatling's season-best five 3-pointers, and CU steadily pulled away the rest of the way.

The Buffs played well in all facets, outrebounding Washington State 41-27 while limiting the Cougars to a 2-for-18 mark on 3-pointers. CU also finished with a season-high 20 assists, including a team-best seven from McKinley Wright.

Tyler Bey posted his fifth double-double of the season and the seventh of his career, going 10-for-13 from the floor with a career-high 26 points along with 10 rebounds. Gatling finished with a season-best 17 points while Schwartz put together a solid all-around game, recording 14 points, seven rebounds, and four assists with only one turnover in 31 minutes.

"We had 20 assists. It's been a while since we've had that," Boyle said. "Obviously you have to make shots to have 20 assists, but we made the plays that needed to be made. What I'm proud of for our guys is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I wasn't a fun guy to be around. We had long practices. We had long film sessions. But the things we talked about in those things, our guys really responded tonight.

"Not only did they know what to do, but they went out and did it."

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07

COLORADO 92, WASHINGTON ST. 60

WASHINGTON ST. (7-8, 0-2 Pac-12)

Elleby 2-10 2-3 6, Pollard 3-4 6-6 12, Cannon 5-10 4-4 14, Daniels 0-2 0-0 0, Ali 3-9 0-0 8, Cooper 0-1 0-0 0, Wade 5-7 2-4 12, Kunc 0-0 2-2 2, Skaggs 1-5 0-0 2, Robinson 2-9 0-0 4. Totals 21-57 16-19 60.

COLORADO (10-5, 1-2 Pac-12)

Siewert 2-6 3-6 8, Kountz 3-9 0-0 8, M.Wright 5-8 0-0 10, Schwartz 7-12 1-3 16, Bey 10-13 5-6 26, Strating 1-1 0-0 2, Battey 1-3 0-1 2, Ersek 0-0 0-0 0, McQuade 0-0 0-0 0, Gatling 5-10 2-2 17, Martinka 0-0 0-0 0, Parquet 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 35-64 11-18 92.

Halftime — Colorado 41-25. 3-point goals — Washington St. 2-18 (Ali 2-6, Robinson 0-2, Cannon 0-2, Elleby 0-4, Skaggs 0-4), Colorado 11-27 (Gatling 5-10, Kountz 2-3, Parquet 1-1, Bey 1-2, Siewert 1-4, Schwartz 1-5, M.Wright 0-2). Fouled out — Elleby, Wade. Rebounds — Washington St. 23 (Wade 6), Colorado 40 (Battey 14). Assists — Washington St. 5 (Elleby, Wade, Robinson, Kunc, Cannon 1), Colorado 20 (M.Wright 7). Total fouls — Washington St. 18, Colorado 16. A — 6,184.