Deploying a ferocious defense that held Colorado to 36 percent shooting and 18 points below its season average, the Washington Huskies won their Pac-12 Conference home opener over the Buffaloes 64-54 Wednesday night behind C.J. Wilcox’s 25 points.
Washington never trailed in winning for the 10th time in the past 12 games, starting conference play 4-0 for only the fourth time in the past 35 years. Colorado fell to 1-4 and 11-6. Desmond Simmons had a single point, but led the game with 12 rebounds, one more than teammate Aziz N’Diaye.
After a tie at 17, UW went on a 6-0 run and never looked back. Washington had six blocks and five steals as they challenged nearly every Colorado penetration. The effort was a big uptick since the lethargic start in non-conference play, delighting the biggest crowd of the season, 8,184, despite the late (8:30 p.m.) start. The Huskies have yet to sell out Alaska Airlines Arena this season.
“Preseason was a little weird, I couldn’t explain it, but we weren’t playing with the same energy we are now,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “Aziz set the tone early on; of their first six shot attempts, he challenged five. The rest of the guys picked up on that.
“If we made a lot of the open shots we missed, we could have put some distance on them.”
Spencer Dinwiddie led Colorado with 15 points and Andre Roberson had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Roberson banked in a 3-pointer late in the for CU’s only trey in 10 attempts.
“We’re doing a better job keeping guys in front of us and rotating better on defense,” said Scott Suggs after the Huskies held their opponent to 60 points or less for the third game in a row. Suggs also made the key offensive play. Ahead 28-20 at halftime, the Huskies missed their first seven shots of the second half before Suggs, who had 13 points, hit a three-point shot, was fouled and made the free throw. Colorado never came closer than five thereafter.