The Buffaloes kicked off their road-trip in the Pacific Northwest by making quick work of the Huskies in Seattle, winning by a score of 98-81. Colorado went into tonight’s game wanting to prove that they’re capable of winning on the road after their disastrous trip to Arizona and Berkeley. Suffice to say, they did just that, falling only 2 points short of the century mark against one of the Pac-12’s better teams.
Colorado started the game off on a cold streak, making only 1 of their first 5 attempts from the field. After the nerves calmed down and the team began to settle in, the Buffs began to hit their shots. Colorado immediately followed their slow start by going 11 of 16 on FG attempts, going shot for shot with Washington. Both teams found themselves tied at 21 points with 8 minutes to play in the first half.
Immediately after the Huskies tied the game, the Buffaloes took matters into their own hands. What was already a good shooting performance from the team turned into an amazing one, as the Buffs were simply unable to miss. All the momentum shifted over to Colorado’s camp, as the Buffs didn’t leave any Washington points unanswered to close the first half. The Huskies didn’t make any back-to-back buckets in the latter half of the first, which allowed the Buffaloes to build up a sizable lead that they’d never relinquish. An exciting Bangot Dak buzzer beating three-pointer ensured that Colorado headed to the locker rooms up 50-41.
The second half proved to be more of the same, as the Buffs continued shooting the lights out and not allowing the Huskies to ride even an iota of momentum. Tristan da Silva scored 5 points within a minute and a half of returning from the break, which gave the Buffs a nice 14 point lead. Washington followed up da Silva’s run by drilling two three pointers of their own, cutting Colorado’s lead back down to 10 points. The Buffs clearly weren't satisfied winning only by a margin of 10 points, as the team responded by ripping off a 9-0 run to give themselves a nice and cushiony 20 point lead halfway through the second.
At that point, it felt as through the game was pretty much curtains. Washington couldn’t do anything to stop Colorado’s scoring onslaught and ultimately just surrendered. The Buffaloes didn’t seem to mind that the win was essentially already in the bag, as they made bucket after bucket to maintain their hefty lead. When it was all said done, Colorado bested the Huskies by a margin of 17 points.
Wednesday night’s game was very easily the team’s best shooting performance so far the season. The Buffs finished the game shooting 55% from the field, making 33 of their 60 attempts. The three ball was also falling for Colorado, as the team shot 6 for 13 from beyond the arc. Just for good measure, the Buffs had a near perfect game from the free throw line too. Colorado made 26 of their 28 freebies, which was an absolute dagger for the Huskies. When teams shoot 92.9% from the line, they tend to win. The Buffs got to experience that first-hand in Seattle.
Colorado’s most productive player on Wednesday was J’Vonne Hadley, who once again proved why he’s one of the most underrated guards in the country. Hadley finished the game with a game high of 24 points, making 8 of his 10 FG attempts, 7 of his 8 free throws, and his sole three point attempt. If Hadley can continue to keep shooting with such high efficiency, Colorado’s going to be a very hard team to stop going forward.
Some honorable mentions include Cody Williams, who racked up 19 points and two makes from deep. KJ Simpson also had a solid game, as he masterfully ran the Buffaloes offense. KJ didn’t have a stellar shooting performance like Cody or J’Vonne, but he made up for it by netting 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Despite only shooting 3 of 10 from the field, Simpson still managed to finish the game with 16 points and shot 10 of 11 from the line.
The Buffs’ decisive win in Seattle is a big boost to their tournament resume. Washington’s NET moved up to 74 before the game, which made this contest a first quadrant game for Colorado. Tonight’s win is the Buffaloes’ first Q1 win of the season (as things stand now), and hopefully the first of many more to come.
Colorado now has to head to Pullman for yet another Q1 matchup against Wazzu on Saturday. This Buffaloes team looks focused and ready to take on anything and anyone, which is really exciting going forward. The sky is the limit for the Buffs this season, so let’s see if they can reach those heights.