Washington State earned a split with Colorado last season, with each team winning at home. The Pac-12 programs meet for the only time this season on Sunday when the Cougars visit Boulder, Colo.
Washington State (9-11, 4-5) is coming off a 14-point loss at Utah on Thursday night that ended its three-game winning streak. The highlight of that stretch was a 74-61 win at No. 5 Arizona on Jan. 7.
The Utes, behind Branden Carlson’s 28 points, stopped the Cougars’ momentum.
“Carlson was truly amazing,” Cougars coach Kyle Smith said. “You can’t really win on the road like that. We weren’t able to get stops down the stretch and make it competitive enough at the end of the game. We’ll have to regroup and get ready for Sunday.”
The Buffaloes (11-9, 3-6) are coming off a disappointing home loss to Washington despite a furious late comeback to cut a double-digit deficit to one point. Colorado had a chance to win it on the final possession but turned it over.
The Buffaloes’ porous defense was a reason why they lost their third in a row. Colorado had a career night from Julian Hammond III (18 points) and forced 22 turnovers but allowed the Huskies to shoot 54 percent.
“If we guard like we guarded tonight, Washington State will hit 20 (3-pointers) the way they shoot the ball from three,” Buffs coach Tad Boyle said. “We better figure out how to guard the 3-point line better, certainly better than we did tonight.”
Hammond’s 18 points on Thursday night were needed. Colorado has just two players — KJ Simpson (17.4 points per game) and Tristan da Silva (14.8) — averaging in double figures, but Simpson has struggled lately with 17 turnovers in the last four games.
“He is a good player that’s not playing well right now and it’s my job as his coach to help him get better and help him recognize mistakes,” Boyle said.
–Field Level Media