Without key starters, the University of Colorado basketball team picked up a crucial 81-66 win Thursday night over Pac-12 foe Washington. The lowly Huskies, missing a starter of their own, simply could not keep up with a well-performing Buffalo squad.
After being suspended for breaking team rules prior the game against California, seniors Wesley Gordon and Xavier Johnson remained on the bench tonight. The sitting may indicate that whatever fracas exists between the two and head coach Tad Boyle is deeper than earlier speculated. Boyle did state after the game that Gordon and Johnson will return to the lineup for Sunday’s game against Washington State. In their place, junior forward Tory Miller and freshman forward Lucas Siewart got the starting nods.
Siewart made the most of his chance, scoring 12 points off 10 shots and nailing two three-pointers late in the game. Miller finished right behind him, posting 11 points. They were only two of the six Colorado players to score points in the double digits. Junior guard George King led the team with a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman guard Bryce Peters also shined, throwing down some impressive jams and picking up 10 points on the night.
Despite strong performances from the Colorado roster, Washington can blame a large portion of Thursday night’s loss squarely on itself. Star freshman Markelle Fultz sitting out with a sore knee hurt the Huskies from the get-go, but self-inflicted wounds would ultimately cause their demise. Fouls plagued Washington in both halves, with 12 in the first and 9 more in the second. Colorado, which has had struggles with free throws at times this season, actually shot well from the line. The Buffs picked up 17 points off Washington fouls, helping the team keep the lead at crucial moments.
Turnovers were another big problem for the Huskies, as they lost possession 14 times. Colorado steals accounted for 10 of those. The Buffs capitalized, scoring another 14 points off of Washington’s reckless handling.
In total, 31 of Colorado’s 81 points came off either fouls or turnovers. That doesn’t take away from the stellar performances from CU’s playmakers, but it does point to Washington’s problem of shooting themselves in the foot.
The victory puts CU at 14-11 on the season as they inch closer to a possible spot in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). Washington drops to 9-15 overall and 2-10 in Pac-12 play.
Up next for the Buffs is another home game Sunday against the visiting Washington State Cougars. Tipoff is at 6:30 p.m. (MST)
Contact CU Independent Sports Staff Writer Kyle Rini at firstname.lastname@example.org.