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CU men’s basketball notes: Buffs’ inside prowess can’t offset 3-point woes in loss at Washington

Dallas Walton returns from six-game injury absence

Colorado forward Evan Battey's 18 points were not enough for the Buffaloes in a loss at Washington.
Colorado forward Evan Battey’s 18 points were not enough for the Buffaloes in a loss at Washington.
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SEATTLE — The 3-pointers weren’t falling all night for the Colorado Buffaloes.

In the first half, that wasn’t a big deal, as CU was able to pound the ball inside Washington’s zone defense for easy looks. But in the second half, as the bricks kept clanging from 3-point range, those paint points slowly started drying up for the Buffs in a stunning 84-80 Pac-12 Conference loss Wednesday night at Washington.

During the opening 20 minutes, the Buffs went 0-for-8 on 3-pointers but managed to take a four-point lead at the break in large part because of the interior play of forwards Evan Battey and Jeriah Horne. That duo went a combined 9-for-15 in the first half and took all seven of the Buffs free throw attempts.

Battey and Horne didn’t exactly disappear after halftime, as they went a combined 7-for-11. But the paint touches seemed to disappear down the stretch as the Buffs appeared focused on shooting their way out of a bad shooting night.

Horne, who knocked down the Buffs’ only 3-pointer of the night, went 3-for-4 on free throws in the second half but Battey didn’t get to the line after the break. Meanwhile, the Buffs’ defense could not slow down UW’s shooters, who went 6-for-9 on 3-pointers in the second half, which included a 4-point play by Marcus Tsohonis.

Tsohonis went 9-for-13 overall and 4-for-6 on 3-pointers before finishing with a career-high 27 points.

“We still scored 80 points on the road,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “It should be good enough to win.”

Turnovers scarce again

For much of the game, CU threatened to break its all-time program low for turnovers in a conference game (four, at Iowa State on Jan. 30, 2010). And for a while the Buffs even threatened the program’s all-time turnover low of two set at San Jose State on Dec. 19, 1978.

The Buffs ultimately finished with a season-low of five, but tempering that impressive performance was the fact the last four of those giveaways occurred over the final 6 minutes. Senior D’Shawn Schwartz was charged with three of those turnovers, though two of them were on plays that easily could have gone the other way — a wild pass that nonetheless went out of bounds off Battey’s hands, and a situation where Schwartz grabbed a loose ball and absorbed contact from a UW player but was called for traveling when he hit the floor.

It was the sixth time this season the Buffs have posted a single-digit turnover total, and it seems Jan. 20 is a date that is fortuitous for the Buffs on the turnover front. The zero turnovers the Buffs recorded in the first half was the first time CU did not commit a turnover in any half since the second half of a Jan. 20, 2019 game at Utah. It also was the Buffs’ lowest turnover total in any game since recording six on Jan. 20, 2018 at Washington.

The last time CU produced a total as low as five was a five-turnover game against Cal on Feb. 26, 2012.

Walton returns

After missing six games due to a lower leg injury, 7-footer Dallas Walton returned to the rotation on Wednesday.

Walton started the first eight games of the season but came off the bench on Wednesday, going 2-for-6 from the field before finishing with six points and one rebound in 12 minutes.

“I thought Dallas was great tonight in the minutes he played. He was terrific,” Boyle said. “He had a tough shot there at the end that got blocked, but Dallas is a good offensive player for us.  Tonight was a game I thought his matchups were good. Jeriah Horne scores 24 points and gets six rebounds, it was one of those situations where it felt like we had to have Jeriah in on offense. But it would have been nice to have Dallas in on defense. If you have trade-offs like that, it’s tough.

“But it’s great to have Dallas back.”

Quotable

“I said this in the pregame — Washington is going to beat somebody. I was hopeful it wasn’t going to be us, but it was us tonight. And we’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves. I take responsibility, and our players really have to look within themselves from a defensive standpoint and say, ‘Am I good enough at this level to stop somebody?’ And the answer tonight was absolutely not. Not even close.”

— CU head coach Tad Boyle

Notable

CU starting guard Eli Parquet was hit in the eye during the second half and spent around 7 minutes on the bench. Parquet shot just 3-for-16 in three games last week but went 2-for-2 with career-highs of four steals and three blocked shots against UW…After going 18-for-30 in three games last week to earn the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award, CU’s Jabari Walker committed two fouls within his first 2 minutes, 4 seconds on the floor and finished with six points and five rebounds in 11 minutes…Huskies guard Jamal Bey, the cousin of former Buffs star Tyler Bey, went 5-for-8 with 14 points. It was Bey’s fourth double-digit scoring effort in the past five games…CU point guard McKinley Wright IV surpassed Josh Scott for the fifth-most minutes played in team history.