Simpson scores 16, Colorado defeats WSU 58-52 in Pac-12 semifinals

Mar 15, 2024, 10:25 PM


KJ Simpson of the Colorado Buffaloes reacts after a play against the Washington State Cougars on March 15, 2024. (David Becker/Getty Images)

(David Becker/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — KJ Simpson scored 16 points and Colorado held WSU to a season low in points, defeating the 22nd-ranked Cougars 58-52 in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals Friday night.

Colorado 58, WSU 52: Stats

Tristan Da Silva had 13 points and J’Vonne Hadley added 12 for the third-seeded Buffaloes (24-9), who extended their winning streak to eight games and will play fourth-seeded Oregon (22-11) in Saturday’s championship game.

Washington State (24-9) will wait to see on Sunday where it is headed in the NCAA Tournament.

Isaac Jones led the Cougars with 13 points, Jaylen Wells had 11 and Myles Rice finished with 10.

Washington State’s previous season low was 58 points in a 22-point loss at Utah on Dec. 29. That was the only other time the Cougars were held to less than 60.

This is the third time in four years Colorado has appeared in at least the semifinals, and the Buffaloes are making their first trip to the championship game since 2021. Colorado lost to Oregon State 70-68 in that game.

Washington State has never played in the conference championship and won’t now with the Pac-12 about to become the Pac-2 with 10 of its members leaving. The Cougars are staying behind with Oregon State, but will be aligned with the West Coast Conference. The WCC also plays its tournament in Las Vegas.

This was just the Cougars’ fourth trip to the semis and first since 2008.

Washington State led 50-49 with 3:11 left, but Simpson made two free throws with 2:46 remaining and Hadley had a fastbreak layup 33 seconds later to put Colorado in front for good.

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