Josh Scott delivers in Colorado’s 75-70 triumph over WSU
PULLMAN (AP) – Josh Scott is widely recognized as one of the premier low-post players in the Pac-12 Conference, but the Colorado senior roamed far from his comfort zone to make the defensive play of the game Saturday night at Washington State.
The 6-foot-10 Scott pressured 6-2 guard Ike Iroegbu into tossing up an air ball on a 3-point attempt that would have tied the game at 73-73 in the final seconds. George King grabbed the rebound and sank two free throws with 3.4 seconds left to wrap up a 75-70 victory.
“I knew they were going to try to shoot a 3,” Scott said, “so I really tried to push him off the 3-point line.”
“I’ve just got to make the shot,” Iroegbu said. “I missed it.”
Iroegbu led the Pac-12 in 3-point shooting percentage entering Saturday’s play, but he went just 1 for 4 from long range in WSU’s fifth consecutive loss.
Iroegbu scored most of his 27 points – one off his career high – with aggressive drives to the basket. Scott said the Buffaloes were not surprised Iroegbu regularly attacked inside.
“We know he’s really fast,” Scott said. “Probably, in my opinion, their best athlete.”
Colorado coach Tad Boyle said “it wasn’t by design” to have Scott guard Iroegbu beyond the arc. Scott came through when the Buffs’ defensive switching left him isolated on Iroegbu.
“Josh Scott is a terrific defender, whether it’s in the post or on the perimeter,” Boyle said.
King led the Buffaloes (15-4, 4-3 Pac-12) with 22 points. King scored 13 in the first half, when Scott sat out the final 10 minutes with two fouls and two points. Scott, Colorado’s leading scorer and rebounder, wound up with 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Cougars (9-10, 1-6) shot just 59.3 percent (16 for 27) at the free-throw line, compared to 84.6 percent (22 of 26) for Colorado.
“That was probably the difference in the game,” Boyle said.
The Cougars trailed most of the way after Colorado held WSU scoreless for nearly seven minutes during a 20-2 run in the first 10 minutes. Washington State briefly led by one midway through the second half and pulled within one with 21 seconds left on Josh Hawkinson’s 16-foot jumper.
Hawkinson, WSU’s leading scorer and rebounder, recorded 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. He went 3 for 9 from the field.
“We did a great job on him,” Boyle said.
Conor Clifford came off the bench to tie his season bests of 18 points and five rebounds for WSU. He sank all his field-goal attempts until missing his ninth and final.
WSU coach Ernie Kent, who was disappointed in his team’s play Thursday against Utah, said the Cougars delivered “a great effort” against Colorado.
Colorado: Senior post Josh Scott ranks in the top 10 in school history in points, rebounds, blocked shots and double-doubles. He ranks in the top 10 in the Pac-12 in all four statistics this season.
Washington State: Coach Ernie Kent turned 61 Friday, so various birthday greetings from WSU players aired on the Beasley Coliseum video screen prior to the game.
WSU made three changes to the starting lineup. Junior Longrus replaced Conor Clifford at center, Brett Boese started for wing Que Johnson and Ny Redding took over for point guard Charles Callison. Clifford, Johnson and Callison outscored their replacements 28-3.
Colorado hosts Stanford on Wednesday.
Washington State visits USC on Thursday.
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