The Colorado Buffaloes absolutely shredded the Washington Huskies, tearing them apart on both ends of the floor in this 92-69 win. This game was a non-conference matchup, but it speaks volumes how good CU looked against a Pac-12 foe.
The Buffs have an elite defense. It’s crazy to think they got better after losing Tyler Bey, but they have. Everyone fits together so well, moving in sync and never making mistakes. McKinley Wright and Eli Parquet are so good at the point of attack and there’s so much size behind them. The Buffs hardly allow an open shot, force turnovers by way of making the passing windows so tight, and have held down the defense glass.
After years of struggling against zone defense, this team might have cracked the code completely. It starts with Evan Battey’s passing in the high-post, then McKinley Wright can knife through crevasses, D’Shawn Schwartz will own the baseline when he’s confident, and forward Dallas Walton and Jeriah Horne have impeccable touch on their jumpers and floaters. The ball moves naturally and finds open shots.
The Buffs built 26-point lead mid-way through the half, then coasted to halftime with the 52-30 lead. Aside from getting bodied by 7’4 Riley Sorn, it was a flawless first half.
After the break, it was more of the same, but the Buffs’ shot selection skewed more towards drawn free throws. Part of that was that Washington can’t help but foul, but the Buffs are really good at drawing fouls and even better at shooting free throws. Colorado ended up making 26 of 28 freebies, including 10 of Walton’s career-high 22 points. It would be huge if the Buffs can get to the line like this all season, because it makes their offense somewhat slump-proof if you can still generate points on cold shooting nights.
On a night when Colorado spent almost the entire leading by 20 points or more, there’s not much negative things to say. If you wanted to nitpick, there’s a few things you can criticize. It’s not good Sorn scored so easily in the paint, and for as good as Walton is on offense, he’s not quite the rim protector as a Bey or a Wesley Gordon. The CU bigs were also a step slow on pick-and-roll defense, which could be a point of weakness against better offenses. Tad Boyle will try to clean those things up, because he always has to be upset about something.
Colorado ended up winning by 23 and even that required a 14-0 Washington run in the final minutes. Five different Buffs ended up with double-digit points, and none of them were McKinley Wright. I don’t think Walton (22 points) or Maddox Daniels (10 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) have ever played as well as they did tonight, while Jeriah Horne has really proved himself as a spark-plug scorer. This team is really rounding into form.
The Buffs will next play the Grand Canyon Antelopes (4-2) on Tuesday, Dec. 22 (9:00 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).