The Colorado Buffaloes men’s basketball squad easily took care of business Sunday night as they defeated the Washington State Cougars 81-49 at the Coors Events Center.
The Buffs came into the game off a dominant display against the Washington Huskies on Thursday night. The Buffs played hungry and avenged the 91-89 overtime loss handed to them by the Cougars in their last meeting in Pullman, Washington on January 21.
The first half for Colorado was lively and productive to the fullest extent. Their efforts on both sides of the floor led to the Buffs going up by 13 points at the half.
The main catalyst for the Buffaloes, offensively and defensively, was senior guard Derrick White. In the first half, White went 4-of-5 from the field and 2-of-2 from beyond the arc for a half total of 11 points. He would eventually finish with 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting and 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.
White also snatched three steals and one block to his stat sheet, but his superb defensive efforts alone didn’t help them break down the Cougars.
“We committed to the defensive end,” White said after the win. “We talked about it a lot early on, but didn’t commit to it, so these last few games, starting with the Oregon game, we committed, and that’s why we’re on this run.”
Colorado forced 13 turnovers in the first half and would go on to force a season-high 24 turnovers. Head coach Tad Boyle praised his squad’s efforts in causing turbulence for the Cougars’ offense.
“We wanted to have active hands while guarding the ball, pressure the ball, and our guys did a good job of that,” stated Boyle. “Some of those turnovers were forced, some were unforced…and I’m pleased with how our guys responded.”
Freshman guard Bryce Peters stayed hot, as he shot 5-of-9 from the field and 2-of-3 from three-point range, for a total of 12 points. Peters collected a couple of steals to his name and emphasized on the importance of teamwork on the defensive end. He has now scored in double digits in four of his last six games played.
“It has to do with a lot of energy,” Peters said. “Guys have been coming out; like if we are down 20 in the jump and playing better on the defensive end, and we have been playing together on the defensive end. So when we start playing together, they give us the ball and that is when we go on runs.”
The second half was more of the same for the Buffaloes, a lockdown defensive effort whilst moving the ball with purpose as they outscored the Cougars 44-25 in the second half.
“The key for us is ball movement,” said Boyle. “Whether it’s against a matchup zone, or man to man, the key is that we get the ball moving, we cut.”
The Buffs were dominant in virtually all regards. The team scored 34 points off of Wazzu turnovers and outmuscled the COugars in the paint, scoring 42 points near the rim compared to WSU’s 14.
Senior forward Wesley Gordon once again led the Buffaloes in rebounds with seven. White and senior guard Xavier Johnson, who along with Gordon, played his first game since being benched by Boyle for violating team rules on the road in California last week, both had three assists on the night.
Charles Collison, the senior guard for the Cougars that dropped 30 against the Buffaloes in Pullman about three weeks ago, was limited to nine points on the night. The Buffs allowed just one Cougar to reach double digits, while four Colorado players achieved 10 or more points.
Junior forward Tory Miller was good off the bench for Colorado. He dropped 11 and snagged four rebounds in 19 minutes played. As with Peters, Miller has been stepping up lately, as well. He’s scored 10-plus points in every game this month.
Colorado has now won five of their last six games and now move to 5-8 in conference play. With the win, the Buffs move up to seventh in the standings within the Pac-12, jumping Arizona State in the process.
The Buffaloes will look to continue their hot streak Thursday night, as they travel to Corvallis to play the Oregon State Beavers. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m MST.
Contact CU Independent Sports Staff Writer Drew Sharek at Andrew.Sharek@colorado.edu and follow him on Twitter @drew_sharek