Julian Hammond III leads Colorado over Washington


Julian Hammond III scored a career-high 21 points to fuel ninth-seeded Colorado to a 74-68 victory over eighth-seeded Washington on Wednesday in a Pac-12 Conference tournament first-round game in Las Vegas.

Hammond made 7 of 12 shots from the floor — including 2 of 3 from 3-point range — and all five attempts from the foul line.

Tristan da Silva added 18 points and Luke O’Brien collected 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Buffaloes (17-15), who avenged two losses to the Huskies (16-16) this season.

Colorado advanced to face top-seeded UCLA (27-4) in the conference quarterfinals on Thursday.

Ethan Wright and Lawson Lovering each had nine points and five rebounds for the Buffaloes. Colorado shot 45.5 percent from the floor and held a 39-30 advantage in rebounds, including 15-9 on the offensive glass.

Washington’s Cole Bajema made three 3-pointers to finish with 16 points. Koren Johnson tied his career high with 15 points off the bench and Keion Brooks added 14 for the Huskies.

Bajema sank three free throws and made a layup to forge a tie at 66-66 with 1:24 remaining.

O’Brien answered by draining a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:02 left. A turnover on the other end set up Hammond for a short jumper in the lane, and da Silva sank three free throws to push Colorado’s lead to 74-68 with 11 seconds left.

Washington battled back from a 14-point deficit and took its first lead of the contest at 47-46 after Johnson made an off-balance layup with 9:45 remaining in the second half.

Colorado benefited from a 12-2 run in just over a 7 1/2-minute stretch to claim a 26-12 lead with 2:21 remaining in the first half. Hammond capped the surge by draining a 3-pointer.

Braxton Meah provided a pair of emphatic dunks and Johnson made four free throws during an 8-2 run to help Washington trim its deficit to 28-20 at halftime. Despite the late surge, the scoring output was the lowest for the Huskies in a half this season.

–Field Level Media

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