C.J. Wilcox dropped in four 3-pointers in a five-minute stretch of the second half and the Washington Huskies continued their remarkable defensive turnaround, routing No. 15 Colorado 71-54 Sunday at Alaska Airlines Arena. UW improved to 17-12 against ranked opponents under Lorenzo Romar, and also snapped a 12-game losing streak to such foes that dated to a March 2011 77-75 overtime win over Arizona.
Wilcox finished with a career-high 31 points, including a career-best seven 3-pointers, as the Huskies won for the fourth time in five games, improving to 11-6 overall and 3-1 in conference play. Injury-compromised Colorado, looking for a 4-0 Pac-12 start, fell to 14-3.
Wilcox’s previous career high of 30 came against Boston College Nov. 22 at Madison Square Garden. He needed a steal and a dunk in the final minute to eclipse that Sunday.
The Buffaloes lost their best player, Spencer Dinwoodie, to a knee injury of undisclosed severity with 2:52 remaining in the first half. Dinwoodie, an All-Pac-12 selection last year and Colorado’s leading scorer, collapsed after crossing mid-court, favoring his right knee.
Trailing 29-26 at intermission, the Huskies had two quick 3-pointers from Wilcox and Andrew Andrews and slowly increased their lead while clamping down on Colorado defensively. The 54 points allowed was under the 64.3 average of their first three league games (No. 2 in the Pac-12 behind Arizona). During non-conference play, UW allowed an average of 79.8.
“It was one of those games when the rim looked really big and the ball was just falling,” said Wilcox, who also blocked a career-high four shots. “We came out a little flat in the first half, but we emphasized more energy in the second half.”
Of the potential season-ending injury to Dinwoodie and its effect on the Buffaloes after he departed, Wilcox said, “We took advantage of the situation and were able to bury them.”
“It’s never fun when you see an injury like that,” Romar said. “It’s just unfortunate. But for us, C.J. Wilcox was awfully good. Many of our guys stepped up and contributed in a lot of ways. Nigel Williams-Goss played a heady game with the basketball, and it was a good effort by our team. I was proud of it.”
Washington’s bigs, Perris Blackwell, Shawn Kemp Jr. and Desmond Simmons, each collected four fouls, leaving the game to UW guards and role players. Andrews contributed 14 points, two steals and two assists and Williams-Goss had 12 points, two assists and two steals. Mike Anderson contributed three points, but had a team-high 10 rebounds.
The taller Buffaloes dominated the boards, collecting 38 to Washington’s 30, 18 of them coming at the offensive end to UW’s nine.
“But our guys stuck with it, and in spite of them getting all of those offensive-rebound baskets, we were able to win the game,” said Romar.
Blackwell drew his third foul in the first 30 seconds of the second half, but the Huskies began a 3-point barrage with Wilcox getting four in the next five minutes. Andrews also dropped a 3-pointer, sending UW to a 35-32 lead. The Huskies ran away with it with a 10-3 streak.
Josh Scott led Colorado with 15 points, but freshman Gordon carried the Buffaloes with a double-double, 11 points and 13 rebounds. No other Colorado player did significant offensive damage as Washington held the Buffaloes to 34.5 percent shooting and 1-for-12 beyond the arc.