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Dominant second half pushes No. 23 CU Buffs past Washington State

Three double-doubles help Buffs get back on track without Tyler Bey

  • Colorado's D'Shawn Schwartz drives between Washington State's Noah Williams and CJ Elleby during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Colorado's Evan Battey gets an offensive rebound over Washington State's CJ Elleby during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Colorado's McKinley Wright IV comes off the court all smiles in the Washington State January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Lucas Siewert rebounds in front of Washington State's Jervae Robinson during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's D'Shawn Schwartz drives between Washington State's Noah Williams and CJ Elleby during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Shane Gatling takes a three over Washington State's Isaac Bonton during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado point guard McKinley Wright IV was all smiles after posting the ninth double-double of his career in a win against Washington State. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's D'Shawn Schwartz shoots around Washington State's Jeff Pollard during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's D'Shawn Schwartz, left, battles with Washington State's CJ Elleby and Isaac Bonton during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Dallas Walton shoots over Washington State's Jeff Pollard during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's D'Schwartz has his shot blocked by Washington State's CJ Elleby during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's McKinley Wright IV plays defense on Washington State's Isacc Bonton during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's McKinley Wright IV plays defense on Washington State's Isacc Bonton during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's McKinley Wright IV, left, and Washington State's Isaac Bonton, chase down a loose ball during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Daylen Kountz, left, and Dallas Walton play defense on Washington State's CJ Elleby during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Evan Battey blocks the shot of Washington State's Jeff Pollard during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Colorado's Evan Battey rebounds in front of Washington State's Jeff Pollard during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

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Colorado’s Evan Battey blocks the shot of Washington State’s Jeff Pollard during the January 23, 2020 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

No Tyler Bey, no problem for the Colorado Buffaloes.

Playing without their most explosive player who doubles as the top rebounder in the Pac-12 Conference, the 23rd-ranked Buffs weathered a hot shooting start by visiting Washington State before pulling away in the second half for a 78-56 victory at the CU Events Center.

Washington State fell to 0-9 all-time at CU.

CU shook off a poor effort defensively and on the glass in a loss in their last outing at Arizona, holding the Cougars to a .373 mark overall and a .286 shooting percentage after halftime. CU also outrebounded WSU 45-28 after getting outrebounded in both games of last week’s trip through Arizona.

“I thought we were much, much better in that second half on many fronts than we were in the first half,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “I was on our guys a little bit that first half because I felt like we had some mental miscues that we can’t have happen if we want to compete at the highest level of college basketball. They responded, though. Only four turnovers in the second half, major improvement. We rebounded. To do that and be plus-17 on the boards without your best rebounder, Tyler Bey on the bench, was a testament to our guys. Good win. We have to take it, we’ve got to move on.”

Though he was in uniform, Bey remained on the bench with the middle fingers right hand bandaged. Boyle reiterated he expects Bey to be ready for Saturday’s battle against Washington, which blew a 12-point second-half lead Thursday night in a loss at Utah.

Senior forward Lucas Siewert received his first start of the season and responded with his first double-double of the season and his first in a Pac-12 game, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds. It was Siewert’s third double-double overall in his career, as he posted two in consecutive games early last season against Portland and Colorado State.

It was a balanced effort for CU, which also received double-doubles from point guard McKinley Wright IV and Evan Battey. Wright finished with 10 points and 10 assists. Evan Battey posted his fourth career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“We talked about the depth of this team at the beginning of the season. I think tonight is a testament to that depth,” Boyle said. “He’s out for a game. He’ll be back Saturday, but he’s out for a game, and Lucas Siewert steps in like it’s no big deal, has 16 and 10. He plays more minutes than he normally does and handles the challenge. Evan was back to his old self rebounding the basketball. Great team effort. Nineteen assists. We keep sharing the ball like that, we’re going to be OK. We’re going to need that on Saturday.”

CU committed 10 turnovers in the first half but finished with just 14. The Buffs shot .456 overall and went 9-for-22 (.409) on 3-pointers.

Washington State remained within four points of the Buffs after a 3-poiner by the Cougars’ Isaac Bonton cut CU’s lead to 54-50 with 12 minutes remaining. However, CU responded with a 12-1 run and outscored Washington State 24-6 the rest of the way.

“It wasn’t good early, obviously. The first half wasn’t as good a half as we wanted it to be,” Wright said. “But in the second half I think we really turned it up a notch, got back to our rebounding and we guarded really well.”

Fast break

What went right: CU outrebounded the Cougars 45-28 and went 9-for-22 on 3-pointers.

What went wrong: The Buffs committed 10 turnovers in the first half, though they cut that to just four after the break.

Star of the game: Lucas Siewert. The Buffs had three players post double-doubles but it was Siewert, who made his first start of the season, that allowed CU to not miss Tyler Bey’s one game absence. Siewert posted his third career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

What’s next: CU hosts Washington on Saturday night (7 p.m., FS1).

No. 23 Colorado 78, Washington St. 56
WASHINGTON ST. (12-8, 3-4 Pac-12)
Bonton 4-16 0-0 10, Pollard 2-4 0-0 4, Elleby 6-12 1-2 15, Robinson 3-7 1-2 8, Williams 1-6 1-1 3, Henson 5-9 0-0 13, Kunc 1-3 0-0 2, Rodman 0-1 0-0 0, Rapp 0-1 0-0 0, Markovetskyy 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 22-59 4-7 56.
COLORADO (15-4, 4-2)
Wright 4-9 2-2 10, Battey 4-8 4-4 12, Siewert 4-10 5-6 16, Schwartz 4-10 3-4 13, Kountz 1-4 0-0 2, Gatling 3-6 0-0 7, Daniels 3-5 0-0 9, Walton 3-3 1-1 7, Strating 0-1 0-0 0, Parquet 0-0 2-3 2, Dombek 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-57 17-20 78.
Halftime — Colorado 38-33. 3-point goals — Washington St. 8-20 (Henson 3-5, Bonton 2-3, Elleby 2-4, Robinson 1-4, Kunc 0-1, Pollard 0-1, Rapp 0-1, Williams 0-1), Colorado 9-22 (Daniels 3-5, Siewert 3-5, Schwartz 2-6, Gatling 1-3, Kountz 0-1, Wright 0-2). Rebounds — Washington St. 28 (Elleby 5), Colorado 45 (Battey, Siewert 10). Assists — Washington St. 13 (Bonton 7), Colorado 19 (Wright 10). Total fouls — Washington St. 17, Colorado 12. A — 7,864.