SEATTLE — Colorado expected to face a more competitive Washington team than the one the Buffaloes routed a month ago.
They did not expect the Huskies to continue their worst-to-first climb in the Pac-12 Conference from the 3-point arc.
In the end, a red-hot long-range shooting performance from the hosts, combined with a season-worst 3-point effort by CU, spelled disaster for the Buffs, as a Huskies team that suffered a 23-point loss against CU exactly one month ago earned some payback with an 84-80 victory Wednesday night at Alaska Airlines Arena.
The loss snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Huskies, who also had been winless in Pac-12 Conference play. For CU, it was the Buffs’ fifth straight loss at Washington.
“One of the most disappointing losses of my career,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “Our team practiced well. I can’t fault their focus. I can’t fault their preparation. They weren’t overlooking this game. They were ready before the game. The bottom line is we couldn’t stop them.”
Despite a recent uptick that included 10 3-pointers in a near-upset at UCLA last week, Washington entered the game ranked last in the Pac-12 in 3-point percentage with a .293 mark. They promptly went out and looked like one of the top 3-point clubs in the nation, with UW torching the Buffs with a 12-for-25 mark. It was a season-high total of made 3-pointers for the Huskies and also the most by a CU opponent this season.
The performance from the arc was the difference in the game, as CU countered the Huskies’ long-range onslaught with their worst 3-point showing of the season, finishing just 1-for-18.
“We did not get the ball inside as much in the second half as maybe we should have,” Boyle said. “But we tried to call some plays there down the stretch to get Evan (Battey) some touches. For the most part, we did a good job offensively. We always want to play inside-out, and then the threes will come as a result of that. We weren’t able to knock down open threes when we had them. We took a couple tough ones, but for the most part I thought the threes we took were good looks. They just didn’t go down tonight.”
Take the 3-point frustrations out of the equation, and the Buffs shot .608 (31-for-51) on 2-pointers, but much of that damage was done during the first half as the Buffs built a 10-point lead and held a 40-36 edge at the break.
A fade-away in the lane by Jeriah Horne tied the game at 75-75 with about 2 minutes, 40 seconds remaining, but the Huskies scored the next six points to take control. An inside bucket by Battey kept the Buffs within 83-80 with 22.4 seconds remaining, and the Buffs managed to secure one last chance by tying up the ball on the inbounds and taking over on the alternate possession.
Horne got a good look at a 3-pointer but the show went awry. UW’s Hameir Wright collected the rebound and made one free throw with 5 seconds left to seal the win for the Huskies.
“I felt like it was a good shot,” Horne said of his potential game-tying three in the waning seconds. “I believe I’m making that shot nine out of 10 times. It’s like that sometimes. Just continue to keep shooting and make the next one that comes my way.”
What went right: CU shot .608 (31-for-51) on 2-pointers, outrebounded Washington 34-30, and finished with a season-low five turnovers.
What went wrong: CU’s perimeter defense was shredded by UW, which finished 12-for-25 on 3-pointers.
Star of the game: Jeriah Horne. The grad transfer from Tulsa paced the Buffs with 24-points, his first 20-point game with CU.
What’s next: The Buffs will attempt to salvage a split in the Pacific Northwest on Saturday at Washington State (6 p.m. MT, ESPN2).
Washington 84, Colorado 80
COLORADO (11-4, 5-3 Pac-12)
Battey 8-12 2-3 18, Horne 8-14 7-8 24, Parquet 2-2 0-0 4, M.Wright 4-12 4-6 12, Schwartz 1-6 0-0 2, Daniels 2-7 0-0 4, Barthelemy 2-4 0-0 4, Walton 2-6 2-2 6, Walker 3-6 0-0 6. Totals 32-69 15-19 80.
WASHINGTON (2-11, 1-7)
Roberts 1-1 2-2 4, H.Wright 2-5 1-2 7, Bey 5-8 2-2 14, Green 3-9 4-5 11, Stevenson 6-16 2-2 17, Tsohonis 9-13 5-5 27, Sorn 2-3 0-0 4, Bajema 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 28-57 16-18 84.
Halftime — Colorado 40-36. 3-point goals — Colorado 1-18 (Horne 1-3, Battey 0-1, Walker 0-1, Barthelemy 0-2, Schwartz 0-3, Daniels 0-4, M.Wright 0-4), Washington 12-25 (Tsohonis 4-6, Stevenson 3-8, Bey 2-3, H.Wright 2-5, Green 1-3). Fouled out — Stevenson. Rebounds — Colorado 34 (Battey, Horne 6), Washington 30 (Roberts, Stevenson 7). Assists — Colorado 12 (M.Wright 6), Washington 9 (Green 5). Total fouls — Colorado 19, Washington 16.