CU men’s basketball: Early struggles doom Buffs at Washington

  • Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

    Colorado guard Dominique Collier, left, tries to drive past Washington guard Andrew Andrews on Wednesday in Seattle.

  • Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

    Colorado's Tre'Shaun Fletcher, center, goes up for a shot between Washington's Dejounte Murray, left, and Matisse Thybulle on Wednesday.



Fast break

What went right: On a night when little went right, give CU credit for putting up a fight, trimming a 22-point Washington lead to seven late in the second half.

What went wrong: Turnovers. What else is new? The Buffs committed 16 of them, leading to 16 points and many easy baskets early for the Huskies.

Star of the game: Dom Collier. The sophomore guard made his first five 3-point attempts and kept CU in the game by going 6-for-7 from long range and finishing with a career-high 21 points.

What’s next?: CU’s road trip continues Saturday night at Washington State with a 7 p.m. MST tipoff.

SEATTLE — Call it a case of too little, too late.

Despite several late comeback efforts by the Colorado Buffaloes, Washington’s up-tempo style proved too much to overcome on Wednesday. Blasting off early for a series of fast-break dunks and never relenting, the host Huskies ultimately held off CU for a 95-83 victory at Alaska Airlines Arena.

“You have 12 turnovers in the first half and you dig yourself a 14-point hole, and then you come out and you have four turnovers in the second half and you handle it pretty good and you score 50 points…our guys competed,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “They scratched. They clawed. You score 83 points, it’s good enough to win. The bottom line is we weren’t good enough on defense and Washington was terrific on offense.”

The teams traded baskets and leads through the first 10 minutes before Washington slowly asserted control. A jumper by CU’s Wes Gordon kept the Buffs within 21-19 midway through the opening half, but Washington outscored CU 26-14 over the remainder of the period to take a 47-33 lead at the break.

CU leading scorer and rebounder Josh Scott was on the bench for much of Washington’s decisive first-half run after picking up his second foul with 6 minutes, 56 seconds left in the half. The Huskies ripped off eight consecutive points as soon as Scott headed to the bench.

As Boyle noted, turnovers once again plagued CU, as Washington turned 12 first-half giveaways by the Buffs into 16 points. CU finished with 16 turnovers.

CU did manage to make a couple comeback attempts while protecting the ball better during the second half. Midway through the frame CU used the hot shooting of sophomore guard Dom Collier to reel off a 10-0 run and pull within 12 points with 9:50 to go. But Washington star Andrew Andrews immediately answered with a pair of jumpers, sparking eight consecutive Huskies’ points that reestablished UW’s 20-point lead.

Three-pointers from George King and Josh Fortune highlighted another 9-0 run for CU that got the Buffaloes within 11 with 5:12 remaining, and the Buffs eventually battled to within 10 points with just under three minutes to play.

Another 3-pointer from Collier followed by a left-handed runner from King allowed CU to trim Washington’s lead to 87-80 with 1:32 to go, but Andrews knocked down eight consecutive free throws over the final minute and a half to keep CU at bay.

“They scored almost every time we turned the ball over,” Collier said. “We dug ourselves a hole by turning the ball over. We knew they liked to get out in transition, because even on made baskets they got out and ran. And even on made baskets we didn’t get back to our man.”

Scott paced CU with his fifth consecutive double-double, recording 18 points and 12 rebounds. Collier hit a career-high six 3-pointers, knocking down his first five attempts before finishing 6-for-7 with a career-high 21 points. King also finished with 18 points.

While Collier and King combined to go 8-for-11 from 3-point range, the rest of CU’s rotation went 1-for-12 from beyond the arc. It also was the second game in a row in which the Buffs’ defense surrendered a season-high point total.

Andrews led four players in double figures for Washington with 33 points while making 16-of-17 free throws.

Pat Rooney: or