The story for Washington as they headed to Boulder to take on Colorado was whether or not they could maintain their bracketology positioning by beating a Buffalo team led by star senior forward Josh Scott. The Huskies entered this one having lost two in a row and desperate for a win. Fortunately for the Huskies, Josh Scott was unable to go with a high-ankle sprain. Unfortunately for the Huskies, they were not able to capitalize ultimately falling to the Buffs by a score of 81-80.
The Huskies came out from the opening tip ready to run on Colorado. The game opened ominously for Colorado as the Huskies were able to generate a fast break off a missed free throw attempt. From that point forward, the Dawgs were running. Marquese Chriss, Matisse Thybulle and Dejounte Murray each impressed throughout with what is now a familiar mix of long-range defense and aerial offense. Chriss set the pace in his best game as a Husky with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks and a couple of very impressive jams.
All that running would turn out to not be enough. The more experienced Buffalo team answered Washington's speed with a more physical presence under the rim on both ends of the court. The rebounding difference was particularly acute in the first half when Colorado outrebounded UW 33-18 including 11 total offensive rebounds. They finished the game with a 20 rebound (55 to 35) advantage and 20 offensive rebounds.
The Huskies would make a few runs throughout the game, including an exciting 13-2 run early in the second half that saw Colorado's 12-point half time lead ultimately get cut to one point. The most exciting run was at the end as the Dawgs mounted yet another spectacular comeback. Down 14 with just over 6 minutes to play, the Huskies started chipping away with their signature mix of pressure defense and fast break offense. Andrew Andrews and Dejounte Murray each keyed the run with their combination of three point shooting and slashing to the rim. Key defensive plays by Marquese Chriss and Malik Dime also played a key role in as the Huskies got the lead down to one with 48 seconds to play.
It wasn't to be. Both Andrews and Murray would have chances at the end, but would be unable to convert as the Buffaloes would hold that one point lead and send UW home winless on the road trip.
The Huskies head back to Seattle having dropped both games on this road swing. They'll have to find some rhythm in their upcoming games against Cal and Stanford this week if they are going to have any chance of staying in the race for a NCAA tourney berth.
UW & Colorado Dots
- IHusky fans are no doubt becoming frustrated watching UW continue to struggle with these close games. While the team can still be wild and undisciplined for long stretches, it is hard to articulate just how enjoyable it is to watch these kids play. You can easily see how much energy they bring to the floor and how much effort they put into playing the way that they are coached. Execution flows from effort. It'll come.
- It's become a common sight to see the Dawgs go for long stretches with little to no offensive productivity. The middle of the first half was another such stretch. The Buffs stretched a lead to up to 14 points as the Huskies struggled with quick jumpers and wild attempts around the rim.
- The Huskies continue to struggle with surrendering offensive rebounds. Colorado recorded xx for the game and including seven recorded in the first six minutes of the game. Part of the problem is the aggressiveness with which UW is pursuing blocked shots.
- This game was very much in question mid-way through the second half until Colorado reserve guard Thomas Akyazili took over. That's right. Thomas Akyazili. The freshman guard from Belgium rolled off nine straight points and a couple of assists in helping to extend Colorado's lead back to double digits. The 6-2 player even managed a blocked shot during that span.
- Dominic Green continues to show up for the Huskies as a deep threat. After burning Utah for a season best 13 points on Wednesday, Green was aggressive during his stints on the floor all the while drawing the attention of the Colorado D. He finished with a couple of threes in He's still a got headroom to grow when it comes to earning more minutes, but it was interesting to see that his presence now matters to the opponent.
- Marquese Chriss continues to impress me with his instincts around the rim. He is quick around the rim and such long arms. The broadcast team made a comparison to Rasheed Wallace which, I think, is spot on.
- Pac 12 refs are starting to catch on to how Andrew Andrews likes to initiate contact on offense. He got called for a couple of offensive fouls in this one that just a few weeks ago were defensive fouls and free throws for the Husky senior. It'll be interesting to see how Andrews adjusts.
- Dejounte Murray didn't have his best game, but finished with 14 pts and 4 steals. He still managed a few spectacular moments that elicited oohs and ahhs from the Colorado home crowd.