Walton Leads Buffs In Rout Of Washington
LAS VEGAS — Dallas Walton scored a career-high 22 points Sunday night as Colorado rolled to a 92-69 win over Washington in the Far West Classic at T-Mobile Arena.
The Buffaloes improved to 5-1 while the Huskies fell to 1-6 in a game between two Pac-12 teams that will not count as a league contest.
Tad Boyle's Buffs built a big early lead and never let up, playing well on both ends of the floor. The Buffs led 52-30 at halftime and built the margin to as much as 36 points, 90-54, before UW used a 13-0 run down the stretch to close the gap.
Walton hit double figures for the third straight game as the Buffs had no problems against Washington's zone defense. He was joined in double figures by Jeriah Horne (16), D'Shawn Schwartz (13), Maddox Daniels (10) and Keeshawn Barthelemy (10).
The Buffs shot 48.3 percent from the floor (29-for-60), hit 26 of their 28 free throw attempts and held a comfortable 43-28 rebounding edge, including 12 offensive rebounds that produced 15 second-chance points.
Washington shot 43 percent from the floor (27-for-63), but was just 12-for-32 in the decisive first half. Riley Sorn led the Huskies with 16 points.
"When you win a game going away against a conference opponent who has given you problems in the past, it's a good sign," Boyle said. "We have a good team when we play together. We executed our game plan offensively really, really well."
HOW IT HAPPENED: The Buffs jumped out to a big early lead, using a 9-0 run in the first four minutes to take an 11-2 edge, then steadily built on that margin for much of the rest of the half.
Washington called time out after Colorado extended its margin to 21-5 at the 12:19 mark, but the Buffs continued to pile on. CU led by as much as 26, taking a 47-21 edge on a Jabari Walker layup with three minutes left in the half, and still held a comfortable 52-30 cushion at the half.
Walton had 12 of his 22 points in the first half, and he finished the night shooting 6-for-7 from the field and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
"I thought Dallas was terrific," Boyle said. "Part of the game plan was getting inside against that zone and not settling for 3-point shots."
Walton enjoyed his third straight game in double figures, adding to the 12 he scored in a win over Northern Colorado and the 14 he had in a win over Omaha. Prior to those games, he had scored in double figures four times in his first 61 as a Buff.
Walton's 48 points in his last three games are also more than he scored last year — 45 — in 28 games.
"I can't put into words how good it feels," said Walton, who has endured three ACL surgeries in his career. "A lot of credit goes to my teammates and coaches, putting me into position to produce. It was a good game for us and we have to keep this thing going."
Defensively, the Buffs held UW to 39 percent shooting (13-for-33) while also forcing eight turnovers that CU turned into 11 points.
The only question in the second half was whether the Buffs could continue their first-half pace. They did for the most part, extending their lead to as much as 36 before a late UW spurt narrowed the gap in the final minutes.
One of the more surprising statistics of the night was a quiet scoring evening from point guard McKinley Wright IV. CU's leading scorer finished with just five points, but he added five assists, four rebounds and just one turnover.
CU finished with 21 assists on 29 baskets, with Daniels adding a career-high four assists.
"We made plays for each other," Boyle said. "We had five guys in double figures and McKinley Wright wasn't one of them. When this team does that, we're going to be hard to beat because we know how good McKinley is. He had an unbelievable floor game tonight. He didn't get frustrated when he wasn't getting shots and wasn't scoring the ball. That's the sign of a true pro."
WHAT IT MEANS: The Buffs have put together three solid performances in a row, a good sign as they get closer to conference play. They have one more non-league game, Tuesday night's matchup with Grand Canyon, before opening Pac-12 play Monday at Arizona (7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
KEY STATISTICS: Colorado shot 60 percent from the floor in the first half (18-for-30) while holding Washington to 37.5 percent shooting (12-for-32) to build a 22-point halftime edge … The Buffs had 21 assists … CU had a 43-28 rebounding edge, including 12 offensive boards.
TURNING POINT: This one was all CU from the beginning, as Colorado built a double-digit lead seven minutes in and the Huskies never managed to pull within single digits again.
NEXT UP: The Buffs face Grand Canyon in their second Far West Classic game Tuesday at 9 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena.