SEATTLE — C.J. Wilcox continued his scoring binge in Pac-12 Conference play with 25 points, and Washington used another stingy defensive effort to stymie Colorado 64-54 on Wednesday night.
The Huskies (12-5) improved to 4-0 in conference play for just the fourth time in the past 35 seasons and just the second time in coach Lorenzo Romar’s tenure at his alma mater. Again it was mostly because of their defense. After holding California to just 47 points last week on the road, Washington limited the Buffaloes to 36 percent shooting and tied for their second-lowest point total of the season.
Colorado was held 18 points below its season average.
Spencer Dinwiddie led Colorado (11-6, 1-4) with 13 points, while leading scorer Askia Booker scored nine before fouling out. He made just 3 of 14 shots.
Wilcox scored 14 in the second half and he got help from his backcourt teammates. Scott Suggs added 13 points, and combined with Wilcox, Andrew Andrews and Abdul Gaddy, Washington’s guards scored 55 of its 64 points.
Colorado continued its slide ever since its disputed overtime loss at Arizona to start Pac-12 play earlier this month. The Buffaloes stumbled at Arizona State, then lost by three at home to UCLA last Saturday.
Colorado didn’t find a solution to its woes on the road, despite Andre Roberson scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Washington led 28-20 at the half, a season low in points for the Buffaloes, who missed 12 of their final 14 shots before the break. Colorado had as many turnovers as field goals (both seven) in the first half.
Washington was scoreless for the first 4:51 of the second half until Suggs, as the shot clock was about to expire, hit a step-back 3-pointer while Xavier Johnson crashed into him. The four-point play pushed the Huskies’ lead back to nine at 32-23. The Huskies’ lead reached double figures for the first time when Andrew Andrews spun at the top of the key and found Wilcox open coming off a screen on the wing for a 3 to put Washington up 37-27 with 12:48 left.
Colorado finally got a little offensive spark thanks to Eli Stalzer’s driving three-point play — doubling his scoring total in four previous conference games this season — and a pair of baskets down low from Josh Scott. Dinwiddie scored on a drive to cut the Huskies’ lead to six.
The lead was down to five after Gaddy split free throws and Johnson scored on a drive, but the Huskies’ dominance of the offensive boards started to become a factor. After Wilcox badly missed a 3, Jenard Jarreau was fouled going for the offensive rebound and hit a pair of free throws. Wilcox then scored on a tough drive into the lane and Washington was back up 48-38 with 7:20 left.
Johnson scored on a tip-in with 5:10 left for the Buffaloes, their first points in more than 4 minutes, and they continued to linger. Dinwiddie’s three-point play with 3:52 left cut the Huskies’ lead to 52-45, but Wilcox again had the answer with a quick cut into the lane and 12-foot floater with 3:20 left. Colorado committed a turnover on its possession and Suggs found Aziz N’Diaye on a lob dunk to push the lead to 11 with 2:30 remaining.
Colorado got no closer than eight in the final seconds.
It was another sign of the defensive improvement by Washington, which came into the night the top team in the Pac-12 in scoring defense in conference games, allowing just 56.7 points. Washington got hands in passing lanes, rotated to alter shots and created difficulties for Colorado’s offense.