Ted S. Warren / Associated Press
Ted S. Warren / Associated Press
What went right: Difficult to find the positives when you drop to 0-6 in the league, but the Buffs did outrebound Washington 48-37.
What went wrong: The Buffs played solid perimeter defense in the first half but allowed too many open looks in the second, as the Huskies went 7-for-13 on 3-pointers after the break.
Star of the game: Xavier Johnson, with apologies to Derrick White. Johnson scored 24 points, including a layup with about 10 seconds left that sent the game into overtime, while adding 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season and the eighth of his career.
What’s next: The Buffs continue their road trip Saturday afternoon at Washington State (2:30 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Network).
SEATTLE — This one sunk the Colorado Buffaloes to a new low.
Unable to protect a 17-point lead at the outset of the second half, CU stumbled down the stretch as their Pac-12 Conference misery continued on Wednesday night. This time the heartbreak wasn’t official until after overtime, when the Buffs were forced to slunk out of Alaska Airlines Arena with an 85-83 defeat.
It was the sixth loss in a row for the Buffs and gave the program its first 0-6 start in league play since the 1992-93 season. It also was the Buffs’ ninth consecutive loss on the road in the Pac-12.
“In the first half we were in the gaps and we were making them take tough twos, but in the second half they were getting that ball to the rim and I thought our defense, whether it was man or zone, certainly wasn’t good enough,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “That was the difference in the ball game. Consistency, again, with this basketball team is our Achilles heel. We played well enough in the first half to win that game, but we can’t put anyone away because we can’t get stops at critical times.”
The defensive lapse Boyle and the Buffs most regretted occurred during the back-and-forth overtime when senior Xavier Johnson, who enjoyed a monster game, recorded a rebound basket with 32.3 seconds left that gave CU an 81-80.
And yet, incredibly, after a made basket Washington managed to beat the Buffs down the floor to get a wide-open 3-pointer from David Crisp in the corner. That gave the Huskies an 83-81 lead and, after a missed 3-pointer from CU’s Dom Collier, two Crisp free throws with 11.9 seconds left sealed the Buffs’ fate.
“They get the ball out of the basket and up with a wide-open three,” Boyle said. “It’s a made basket. We’re not making enough winning plays on the defensive end.”
CU used an 11-2 run at the end of the first half to take a 39-24 lead into the break. The Buffs’ Derrick White pushed the lead to 17 points with the first basket of the second half, but Washington got the lead to single-digits with a 10-2 run highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from Dominic Green.
The teams ultimately traded the lead nine teams from the final five minutes of regulation through overtime.
The Buffs utilized a zone defense for large stretches of the game, yet Washington was able to shake off a 1-for-12 mark on 3-pointers in the first half to go 7-for-13 in the second half. CU had just five turnovers at halftime but finished with 15, as the Huskies enjoyed an 18-10 edge in points off turnovers.
Johnson finished with his second double-double of the season and the eighth of his career with 24 points and 11 rebounds. White posted with 23 points and eight assists but also was forced to guard Washington freshman Markelle Fultz for much of the game. A likely top-three pick in this year’s NBA draft, Fultz finished with a season-best 37 points, scoring 25 of them after halftime. Fultz also recorded eight assists.
” It’s the same thing all year. We couldn’t guard the ball and couldn’t play 40 minutes,” White said. “Our record is what it is.”