‘Feast or famine’ CU basketball falls flat in loss to Washington

Fast break

What went right: CU played fairly well early, hitting shots, getting stops on defense and rebounding well to stay within six points in the first 24 minutes.

What went wrong: Turnovers buried CU and the Buffs were mentally buried after a 14-0 Washington run put them in a 20-point hole.

Star of the game: Tyler Bey. He had 11 points, seven rebounds and three blocks for the Buffs.

What’s next: CU will host USC on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. at Coors Events Center.

SEATTLE — When the Colorado men’s basketball team is at its best, it is a dangerous team with the ability to beat anyone in the Pac-12.

That version of the Buffaloes didn’t make it to the Evergreen State this weekend.

CU followed up Thursday’s loss to last-place Washington State by getting routed on Saturday by the Washington Huskies, 82-59 at Alaska Airlines Arena.

“It’s like feast or famine with this team,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “When we’re good, we’re pretty good, and when we’re bad … holy cow, we’re bad.

“Just a really poor performance, especially in the second half.”

Riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak into this trip, the Buffs (15-12, 7-8 Pac-12) saw this weekend as a chance to make a move in the conference standings. They made a move, but in the wrong direction.

“I thought we had a great chance of the opposite outcome, winning both games, but this is humbling,” senior George King said. “We’re not as good as we think we are, period. In all aspects. If you can’t win on the road, what good are you?”

In falling to 1-9 on the road, the Buffs buckled in front of a spirited crowd of 9,258 Huskies fans.

After Washington (18-9, 8-6) took a 39-34 lead into halftime, the fans got a jolt of energy when former Husky great Isaiah Thomas — now with the Los Angeles Lakers — had his jersey retirement ceremony during intermission.

Then, the current Huskies kept the energy up with a back-breaking 14-0 run to pull away from the Buffaloes.

Four CU turnovers helped Washington during that run, which turned a close game into a 60-40 deficit for the Buffs. The Huskies led by as many as 25 points.

“We just came out flat (in the second half),” King said. “They went on that run and the storm came and we weren’t able to weather the storm. It was tough.”

Washington junior Matisse Thybulle was at the center of that storm, scoring a career-high 26 points. He had 24 of those in the second half, including four 3-pointers.

Dunks by Jaylen Nowell and Noah Dickerson also highlighted the big Washington run, and the Buffs hung its collective head while the game slipped away.

“That’s where toughness comes in,” Boyle said. “You have to be able to be tough enough to not hang your head and not get your dauber down. I know it’s difficult, but we were not very good this weekend, there’s no doubt about that. I don’t understand why, because we certainly played well in two of the previous three games – very well against Stanford and Utah.

“Every game is a new adventure with this team. We weren’t ready this weekend and we took our lumps.”

The lumps seem to come in bunches when the Buffs leave the comfort of home, but freshman Tyler Bey was surprised by this weekend after the momentum CU gained from its recent home stand.

“We prepared really good for this weekend and this whole road trip,” Bey said. “I’m very surprised because of how good we prepped for it and how ready we were before we even took the road.”

The Buffs may have been prepared going in, but familiar shortcomings hurt them. They had 33 turnovers lead to 44 opponent points this weekend, while allowing 27 second-chance points in the two games.

“This team has two Achilles’ heels and we saw both of them this weekend,” Boyle said.

On Saturday, Washington converted 18 CU turnovers into 26 points, while also adding 16 second-chance points.

“That’s the ball game,” Boyle said. “You can’t overcome that stuff. We make an easy game look hard.”

Now, the Buffs have to figure out how to regroup and get their momentum back as they head home for a pair of games this next week.

“We still have three games of conference (play), so we have to focus on those three games,” Bey said. “It’s on us how we want to finish the season.”

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or


COLORADO (15-12, 7-8)

Walton 3-9 2-2 8, King 2-6 0-0 4, M.Wright 4-10 1-2 10, Bey 4-10 3-3 11, Schwartz 2-4 0-0 5, Siewert 3-9 0-0 6, Strating 1-2 0-0 2, N.Wright 3-5 0-0 7, Collier 2-5 1-1 6. Totals 24-60 7-8 59.

WASHINGTON (18-9, 8-6)

Timmins 2-3 0-0 4, Dickerson 6-11 2-2 14, Green 3-4 2-2 11, Crisp 4-12 0-0 9, Thybulle 8-11 6-6 26, N.Carter 1-3 2-2 4, H.Wright 1-4 0-0 2, Bowman 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 1-2 1-2 3, M.Carter 0-1 0-0 0, Nowell 4-11 0-0 9, Kingma 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-62 13-14 82.

Halftime — Washington 39-34. 3-point goals — Colorado 4-13 (N.Wright 1-1, Collier 1-2, Schwartz 1-3, M.Wright 1-3, King 0-2, Siewert 0-2), Washington 9-21 (Thybulle 4-5, Green 3-4, Nowell 1-3, Crisp 1-5, N.Carter 0-1, M.Carter 0-1, H.Wright 0-2). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Colorado 33 (Bey 9), Washington 30 (Dickerson 10). Assists — Colorado 8 (N.Wright 3), Washington 12 (Crisp 7). Total fouls — Colorado 13, Washington 12.