GAME NOTES: In the second leg of a three-game homestand, the Colorado Buffaloes will take on the Washington State Cougars in Pac-12 Conference action at the Coors Events Center.
Washington State finally got back in the win column on Saturday with a 72-67 triumph at home over in-state rival Washington. The victory ended a four-game losing streak for the Cougars, who are still just 9-12 overall and 2-7 in conference play. A trip to face Utah is next on the schedule.
Colorado also ended a losing streak on Saturday with a 79-75 triumph over Utah. The Buffaloes had lost four of their previous five games, but remain a solid 16-6, even if their conference record (5-4) leaves much to be desired. They will close out their string of home games on Sunday against Washington.
The Cougars nearly knocked off Colorado earlier this season, but fell short in a 71-70 decision. The Buffaloes have won all three of the meetings between the squads as conference foes and four of the five all-time matchups.
D.J. Shelton scored 20 points and ripped down 18 rebounds to lead Washington State over Washington. The Cougars were only able to sink 41.5 percent of their shots from the floor, but they had a 21-9 scoring edge at the free-throw line, while forcing more than twice as many turnovers (12) as they committed (five).
The 72 points Washington State scored on Saturday were the most since the loss to Colorado on Jan. 8. The Cougars are the lowest scoring team in the conference, netting just 62.5 ppg, while ranking last in the league in assists (10.7 apg) and field goal percentage (.413) as well. Que Johnson (10.9 ppg) has taken up the mental as leading scorer ever since DaVonte Lacy (17.1 ppg) went down to injury, but Lacy was back in action against Washington, finishing with 10 points on 2-of-10 shooting. Shelton (9.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg) is the next best scoring option and the team's best rebounder.
Josh Scott scored 20 points to go with 10 rebounds and Xavier Johnson also recorded a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) in leading five players in double figures during Colorado's win over Utah. The Buffaloes biggest advantage was a 23-10 edge from the free-throw line.
Colorado has also had to deal with a major injury, although Spencer Dinwiddie (14.7 ppg) will not be returning anytime soon, as he underwent season-ending knee surgery in mid-January. The Buffaloes must now rely on the trio of Scott (14.4 ppg, 91 rpg), Askia Booker (13.4 ppg) and Xavier Johnson (10.4 ppg) to carry the offensive load. Booker dropped in 18 points to go with eight rebounds and seven assists as he nearly recorded a double-double against Utah. Wesley Gordon (6.5 ppg) had 12 points against the Utes, an effort Tad Boyle would certainly like to see replicated going forward.
Even without Dinwiddie the Buffaloes have skill on their roster, and more than enough to take down the offensive deficient Cougars.
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