Buffs Fall At Washington State
BOULDER — A road trip that started out with a bang for Colorado ended with a thud Sunday, as the shorthanded Buffaloes dropped a 70-43 decision to Washington State at Beasley Coliseum.
Tad Boyle's Buffs, who started their three-game road trip with a win at Oregon, fell to 13-8 overall and 5-6 in Pac-12 play with their second straight loss. WSU improved to 12-7, 5-3.
Jabari Walker was the only CU player in double figures, finishing with 11 points and eight rebounds. Nique Clifford scored eight for CU and freshman K.J. Simpson, who received his first start as a Buff, had four points, five assists and three rebounds.
Michael Flowers led four Cougars in double figures with 16 points.
The Buffs played without the services of regular starters Elijah Parquet (injury) and Tristan da Silva (illness), but Colorado was missing more than just two key players. The Buffs were once again plagued by turnovers and poor shooting and the Cougars were happy to take advantage.
The Buffs trailed by 13 midway through the first half and by 21 at intermission. But unlike the last three games, when the Buffs rallied from double-digits to make it a close game — including the win at Oregon — there was nothing resembling a comeback against WSU.
Instead, the Cougars steadily built their cushion in the second half, pushing their lead to as much as 35 down the stretch.
Colorado shot just 29 percent from the floor (16-for-56) while the Cougars were 26-for-53, including 12 3-pointers, tying the most by a CU opponent this year. WSU also won the rebound battle 39-30 and the Buffs committed 16 turnovers that led to 26 Washington State points.
"After the Washington loss I was angry, I was disappointed, I was frustrated," Boyle said. "Tonight, I'm just embarrassed. This was an embarrassing performance by our basketball team and it falls on me. I'm the head coach. I've been here for almost 12 years as the head coach and I've not experienced that kind of loss like we experienced tonight. This is a new one for me."
HOW IT HAPPENED: Almost nothing went right for the Buffs from the very beginning. Washington State used an 18-1 run over a six-minute span to take a 23-6 lead midway through the half, and the Cougars pushed their advantage to 21 by intermission, 39-18.
Colorado shot just 7-for-27 in the half and the Buffs once again compounded their shooting woes with turnovers. CU committed nine miscues in the first half, which WSU converted into 14 points.
"Offensively we really struggled shooting the ball and finishing," Boyle said. "Our Achilles heel on offense is finishing around the rim and we had that trouble tonight. There's going to be nights like that, but you can't give them the ball. Some of the turnovers we had were shake-your-head turnovers."
The Buffs went 6:30 without a field goal during WSU's big run, and allowed WSU to collect 10 second-chance points in the half, including a late 3-pointer that came after three straight offensive rebounds.
The second half was basically a repeat of the first. Colorado momentarily cut the deficit to 20 on buckets from Walker and Simpsonk but that was as close as CU could dome. The Buffs shooting troubles continued, the Cougars shot better than 50 percent from the floor and WSU steadily extended its lead.
Colorado's deficit hit the 30-point mark with 9:32 to play, and the Buffs trailed by as much as 35 over the final minutes.
TURNING POINT: Washington State put the game away for all intents and purposes with an 18-1 run early in the first half that turned a tie game into a 23-6 WSU lead. Colorado never came closer than 15 again.
WHAT IT MEANS: The team that just five days ago had a legitimate shot to put itself on the NCAA Tournament bubble saw that bubble burst with two straight losses.
KEY STATISTICS: Colorado shot just 29 percent from the floor (16-for-56) … The Cougars were 26-for-53, including 12 3-pointers, tying the most by a CU opponent this year … WSU won the rebound battle 39-30 … The Buffs committed 16 turnovers that led to 26 Washington State points.
QUOTEWORTHY: "Nobody's going to feel sorry for us so you can't feel sorry for yourself and put your head down. You have to look inwardly. I have to do that as a head coach because we have to right the ship." — CU head coach Tad Boyle
NEXT UP: Colorado returns home for three in a row, beginning with an 8 p.m. Thursday matchup with Oregon at the CU Events Center (FS1). The Buffs then play host to Oregon State on Saturday (4 p.m., FS1) before wrapping up the homestand by playing host to Utah in a 6 p.m. game Saturday, Feb. 12 (Pac-12 Networks).