The No. 23-ranked University of Colorado Buffaloes defeated the University of Washington Huskies Saturday night 76-62, sweeping the Washington schools. Behind a nearly full CU Events Center and a loud crowd, Colorado pulled out the win. With this win, the Buffs tie the record for the second-best 20-game start in team history. It also equals its best start in the Pac-12 era.
Colorado junior guard/forward Tyler Bey returned to the court after sitting out Thursday night’s game.
“Great, it was great,” Bey said. “It was great to get back out there with my teammates, especially when it was a win and against a team we had not beaten here before.”
Coming off of a dominant win over the Washington State Cougars, Colorado (15-4, 4-2 Pac-12) looked to sweep the week with a win over the Huskies. Colorado aimed to replicate the same success they had and start out strong.
“One of the keys offensively coming into tonight was to make sound, decisive decisions against that zone,” said Colorado head coach Tad Boyle. “We did a really good job of that in the second half.”
The teams started the night looking sluggish on both sides of the ball. Each team exchanged a quick basket and turnover before Colorado put its foot on the gas pedal. Three-pointers by senior guard Shane Gatling and junior guard McKinley Wright IV quickly made the buffs lead 14-7 just six minutes into the game.
With 5:03 left in the first half, Wright sunk a deep three to put the Buffs up 37-25. Colorado finished the half on a 7-0 run, leading Washington 51-33. Washington’s freshman forward Isaiah Stewart lead his team with 16 points while Colorado finished the half with seven players scoring five+ points in the half. Stewart gave the Buffs a hard time in the first half, for which Bey gave him credit.
“They are great players, especially Stewart,” Bey said. “He’s long so when we go up we have to try and pump fake. He wants to block shots but he’s good.”
Colorado looked to carry the momentum into the second half. Each team exchanged quick two-pointers, but it was Washington who looked to have momentum half-way through the second half. Threes from sophomore guard Jamal Bey and junior forward Hameir Wright cut Colorado’s lead to 11, making it 64-53.
The last 10 minutes of the second half proved to be the hardest fought for the Buffs. Washington put the pressure on, cutting the lead down to 10 with 6:38 left when Stewart’s layup fell in, making the Colorado lead 66-56. Colorado would lockdown on defense from there, finishing strong and grabbing the win, 76-62. Colorado did not hit a single three in the second half.
“I just think we didn’t make shots,” Boyle said. “We got looks and I don’t know how we had eight looks and did not make any. Sometimes it is going to be like that and that’s why offensive rebounding is key.”
Colorado shared the ball well offensively tonight, finishing with seven players who had five+ points on the night. For a team that has struggled offensively against zone defenses, which Washington played, tonight was a huge step in the right direction.
Bey finished the night with 16 for Colorado, while Stewart lead Washington with 23. The win improves Colorado to 16-4, 5-2 in Pac-12 play while Washington drops to 12-9, 2-6 in Pac-12. Colorado begins a road trip to the LA schools this upcoming week and Wright expressed his confidence in this team.
“We are a good road team,” Wright said. “We can play on the road. We know what it takes to win at the LA schools. We know our defense and rebounds will travel with us. I think we will be ready.”
Boyle expressed that the key to success and winning championships is figuring out how to win on the road.
“We have proven that we can do that,” Boyle said. “We need to figure out how to do it consistently. You don’t have to win every game but we definitely need to sweep some of them to put us in a position to win a championship.”
The Buffs have put themselves in a good position to win championships but with key losses on their resume, they have some key road game coming up. Look for them to keep up the fast-paced offense and push the tempo early.
Colorado looks to keep the momentum going when it travels to UCLA this upcoming Thursday, Jan. 30, to take on the Bruins. That game will tip-off at 9 p.m. MST.
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