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Colorado rally falls short in home loss to Washington

The Buffs nearly won this despite trailing for 36 minutes.

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Buffaloes continue to their slide in Pac-12 play, as they lost their third straight game to the Washington Huskies. The Buffs started slow, made a furious comeback attempt, but fell short in this 75-72 loss.

After losing to the Huskies in December, the Buffs struggled early with Mike Hopkins’ 2-3 zone. Part of that was K.J. Simpson being in a cold spell, part was Tristan da Silva starting the game 0/6 from the field, and a good bit is CU just isn’t a good three-shooting team, as their 31.5% mark on the season ranks 288th in the country. That, plus terrific play by Kentucky transfer Keion Brooks and the burly Braxton Meah, meant Washington maintained a double-digit lead most of the first half.

The Buffs were able to get in rhythm when Julian Hammond was aggressive and da Silva started converting his funky drives into made shots. (TSD also made a 3/4 court heave just after the halftime buzzer, just like Javon Ruffin did last game against UCLA.) When CU found success, it was when they pushed the tempo after turnovers and misses. Simpson found his way into the paint and Lawson Lovering was great at sealing off the lane. But the problem was that Washington kept hitting threes (9/20) and contested mid-range jumpers (thanks, Keion), while the Buffs shot just 3/19 from deep.

Colorado lost this game because they committed 22 turnovers — that’s 64 total in their last three games — and they were out shot from the three-point line. There doesn’t seem to be anything structural going on or a lack of leadership that leading to this inconsistency. Even the defense has been very solid after having some issues a few weeks ago. This team simply struggles to take care of the ball and they’re in a prolonged cold streak in terms of outside shooting. These things should work themselves out.

Next up for the Buffs is a home game against Washington State on Sunday at 4:00 PM. The Cougars are just 9-11 this season, but they can beat anyone in the country and already upset the Arizona Wildcats at the McKale Center. The Buffs will have to be ready for a fight.