Going for their sixth straight against a Washington State team that ranked second to last in the conference, Colorado had to like their chances. But as it goes in the canabilistic Pac-12, the Cougars had one of their best offensive efforts of the season and outlasted the Buffs 76-74 in a game that had a whopping 22 lead changes and 12 ties.
A D’Shawn Schwartz last second heave that looked to be late anyway, clicked off the side of the rim giving WSU a bounceback win after a heartbreaking loss to Washington on Saturday. While showing flashes of resilience through adversity, the Buffs were unable to put together a cohesive effort for 40 minutes.
The game started on a sour note as big man Tyler Bey was forced to sit just six minutes in after picking up his second foul, and would remain on the bench for the remainder of the first half. However big men Evan Battey and Alexander Strating answered the bell combining for 9 points on 4-for-5 shooting at the break. Washington State went on a 8-3 run in the final 3:38 to take a 38-36 lead into the locker room. McKinley Wright had a three ball from well beyond the arc at the buzzer to swing some momentum back in the Buffs favor.
CU stayed in the game by scoring 10 points off six Cougars turnovers, to WSU’s four points off eight. They also scored 14 of their first 36 points in the paint. The team made a valiant effort to get Bey involved after the break as he scored the teams first five points of the second half. After shooting 1-for-7 from the field in the first half, sharpshooter Shane Gatling made two straight shots from beyond the arc to even the score up at 47.
As luck would have it, Gatling hit another three to give Colorado the lead back 64-62. But WSU would outscore CU 14-10 in the final 7:21 to come away with a victory.
After a disappointing first half, Bey bounced back to finish the night with 12 points and 12 rebounds, giving him his fourth double-double in six games. Wright and Battey tied for a team high 13 points, and had seven boards a piece. Daylen Kountz had another impressive performance off the bench scoring 8 points to go along with 4 boards in 20 minutes.
Unfortunately for CU, the real difference makers in the game were on the opposing sideline. Robert Franks finished with a game high 19 points, and CJ Elleby added 18. Washington State torched Colorado from beyond the arc shooting 52.6 percent (10-for-19).
The Buffs will trek across state to Seattle to play the conference best Washington Huskies (21-5, 12-1) Saturday at 8:30 MST.