The Buffs followed up their impressive win over Oregon with a lackluster performance and somehow pulled out a 71-70 victory over a lowly Washington St. team tonight in Spokane. Que Johnson hit a three with 10 seconds to go to tie the game at 56 and send the contest into overtime. Colorado managed to pull away with help from Josh Scott who had eight points in the extra five minutes. Despite going 2-of-12 from the field, Askia Booker finished with 18 points as he went 13-of-14 from the free-throw line. The Buffs remain undefeated in conference play at 3-0 with the win and are now 14-2 on the season.
Things the Buffaloes did well:
They continued to get to the free-throw line as a team and attempted 38 free throws. However, they made 26 of them and shot under 70 percent from the charity stripe. The Buffs were careful with the ball and only turned it over six times.
Josh Scott continued his great play this season and had 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting and added nine rebounds. His play in overtime was a reminder of how dominant he can be and also a concern that he doesn't the get ball enough. Xavier Johnson attacked the hoop and scored inside as he finished with 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting.
Things the Buffaloes struggled with:
They almost lost to one of the worst teams in the Pac-12. In 45 minutes tonight, the Cougars scored 70 points. In 40 minutes against Arizona last week, they scored 25 points and only made nine shots. The defensive performance from Colorado was pathetic. They gave up multiple open looks from three in transition in the first half and failed to rotate and close out on every shooter. The Cougars shot 45 percent from the field and shot 56 percent from three and were 13-of-23 from beyond the arc. Dexter Kernich-Drew, who only averages 6.2 points per game, had 24 points tonight and went 6-of-8 from three.
Offensively, Colorado wasn't much better. They were 3-of-13 from three and Spencer Dinwiddie, the team's leading scorer, finished the first half with no points, assists or rebounds and didn't attempt a shot. He ended the game with 6 points on 2-of-5 shooting. Dinwiddie is the best player on the team and should never be that passive in any game.
A win is a win and winning on the road in conference play is always impressive. But the fact that the Buffs played down to their competition and went to overtime with one of the worst teams in the Pac-12 is disappointing. Going forward, they can't come out with that little energy and play that poorly on defense on the road and expect to win. However, it's one game and will be forgotten about if they win their next game convincingly.
Colorado faces Washington on Sunday in Seattle at 1 p.m. The Huskies are better than the Cougars and if the Buffs want to be contenders for the Pac-12 title, a sweep against the Washington schools would be a good start. Spencer Dinwiddie likely won't go another half without taking a shot again and the Buffs will need to put together a better defensive performance. If they can do that, there's a good chance they'll head back to the Coors Event Center with four straight wins in the Pac-12.