2020 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament: CJ Elleby scores 30 points as Cougs get first tournament win since 2009
LAS VEGAS (AP) CJ Elleby scored 30 points and hit six 3-pointers, helping Washington State knock off Colorado 82-68 Wednesday night in the final Pac-12 tournament game with fans.
The Pac-12 followed suit of the NCAA and other major conferences by limiting the final three days of its tournament to essential personnel only.
With a few thousand fans in the stands, the 11th-seeded Cougars (16-16) jumped on Colorado and didn't let up, quickly turning the final game of the opening round into a rout.
Elleby led the way, hitting 6 of 10 from 3-point range, with 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Washington State made 10 of 21 from the 3-point arc and shut down Colorado defensively to earn a spot in Thursday's quarterfinal against No. 3 seed Arizona State.
Colorado (21-11) should still be in good shape for an NCAA Tournament bid, but will enter the bracket on a five-game losing streak.
The sixth-seeded Buffaloes shot 37% and went 4 for 21 from 3-point range. McKinley Wright IV had 21 points and Tyler Bey 19.
Colorado won the team's lone meeting 78-56 by pulling away in the second half.
The Buffaloes came out cold along The Strip, missing 12 of their first 16 shots as Washington State built a 27-13 lead midway through the first half.
Elleby led Washington State's early charge.
The all-conference sophomore forward had a forgettable final weekend of the regular season, shooting a combined 6 for 33 - 1 for 14 from 3-point range - in losses to the Arizona schools.
Elleby was confident and on the mark against Colorado, scoring 13 points in the first 10 1/2 minutes. He had 15 points to give Washington State a 35-25 halftime lead. Colorado missed all eight of its 3-point attempts in the first half.
Elleby hit two quick 3-pointers and Isaac Bonton hit another to stretch the Cougars' lead to 44-26 early in the second half. Colorado scored nine straight points midway through the second half, but that only cut the lead to 57-45.
The Cougars opened the Pac-12 tournament with a strong performance at both ends to earn another shot at Arizona State, which beat them 83-74 in the regular-season finale.
Once in the mix for the Pac-12 regular-season title, Colorado has a few kinks to work out or it could be a short trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Washington State plays No. 3 seed Arizona State in Thursday's quarterfinals.
Colorado awaits word on its NCAA Tournament hopes.