Fatigued Colorado holds off Washington 81-80
By PAT GRAHAM
AP Sports Writer
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – Wesley Gordon scored a career-high 17 points and grabbed a critical rebound in the final seconds to help Colorado overcome fatigue and a furious Washington rally for an 81-80 win on Saturday.
Colorado (19-7, 8-5 Pac-12) looked surprisingly fresh even after Thursday’s exhausting double-overtime victory over Washington State. In that game, the Buffaloes had several players set career highs in minutes.
George King had 10 points and 10 rebounds as the Buffaloes nearly squandered a 17-point lead. Big man Josh Scott was on the bench for a second straight game because of a sprained left ankle.
Marquese Chriss and Andrew Andrews each had 18 points for the Huskies (15-10, 7-6), who’ve lost three in a row. Andrews had a good look at a potentially game-winning shot with 5 seconds left, but it rimmed out and Gordon grabbed the rebound.
Held quiet most of the day, Andrews caught fire in the final 5:13. His 3-pointer with 1:38 remaining cut the lead to 79-78.
King hit a pair of free throws to extend the lead. But then Thomas Akyazili was whistled for a technical foul, and Andrews hit two free throws to make it 81-80 with 56 seconds remaining.
With just over a second remaining, Gordon was fouled and missed both free throws, the second one on purpose. Washington grabbed the rebound and immediately called timeout.
Matisse Thybulle threw a long out-of-bounds pass that sailed out of the bounds on the other side. Colorado in-bounded the ball to earn the win.
Washington worked its way back into the game with suffocating defense. The Huskies forced six turnovers and held Colorado to just a pair of free throws in the opening five minutes of the second half to trim a 12-point deficit to 48-47.
Behind Akyazili’s shooting, Colorado discovered some rhythm on offense. This helped, too: Andrews, the Huskies’ leading scorer, committed his fourth foul with 13:17 remaining and took a seat on the bench.
The Buffaloes didn’t break a sweat at practice Friday in order to conserve energy following that draining win over Washington State. The team simply shot free throws and held a scouting meeting.
Early on, the Buffs showed no signs of fatigue. They went on a 12-0 run to take a 33-16 lead. The half ended in dramatic fashion, with Gordon tipping in a rebound just before the buzzer sounded to give them a 46-34 halftime lead.
Scott warmed up before the game but didn’t play. He still found a way to stand out by wearing neon orange sneakers as he sat on the bench. Scott leads the team in scoring (16.7) and rebounds (9.1).
Washington: Andrews went over the 1,600-point mark for his career. He becomes the fifth player under coach Lorenzo Romar to reach that milestone. … With two steals, Andrews now has 140 for his career and ties Nate Robinson (2003-05) for fifth-most in school history. … Thybulle finished with 16 points.
Colorado: Senior guard Xavier Johnson was shooting in pregame warmup. He’s been out all season as he recovers from a torn left Achilles tendon. He has yet to decide whether on a return this year or seek a redshirt season. … Akyazili had nine points, all in the second half. … Gordon had 13 rebounds.
Washington hosts California on Thursday.
Colorado plays at USC on Wednesday.
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