|The cold kept plenty of seats empty for tip-off. From: the BDC|
By all rights, the star of the game was Lacy, who got hot early, and stayed in a scorer's mentality for the full 40. Going 8-13 from beyond the arc en route to 34 total points, he took advantage of CU's notoriously suspect perimeter defense. That's a little simplistic and unfair to the Buffs, however, who were far better guarding the outside than they were in Spokane. Lacy was legitimately on fire, and hit some ridiculous shots, but the ball don't lie, and Colorado got lit up once again.
|Lacy was on fire. From: the BDC|
In his stead, CU enjoyed superlative performances from Xavier Johnson and Askia Booker. The pair combined for 46 points, 30 of which were scored in the second half. Booker was especially potent, going for 26 on 9-12 shooting to go with 5 assists, scoring 21 of his points after the break. He was as aggressive as I've seen in getting to the rim, and really changed the complexion of the game with his pace.
|Xavier Johnson, along with Askia Booker, paced the winning effort. From: the BDC|
Tip-off from the CEC is set for 6pm tomorrow evening. Coverage will be on ESPNU, with the radio call on 850 KOA.
For reference, my preview of the previous game can be found here.
Click below for the preview...
When last we met -
Last month in Seattle, CU started out the game with the Huskies in a good spot. After a sluggish performance a few nights earlier against Washington St, the Buffs looked re-invigorated, and re-invested against Washington. Behind a strong start from star guard Spencer Dinwiddie, CU had built a seven point lead with four minutes to play in the first half, and looked to be in control.
Then... the world decided to stop turning. Dinwiddie, the heart and soul of the program, slipped and fell while on the break, and immediately started clutching at his knee in agony. He would later be diagnosed with a season-ending torn ACL. As if that wasn't bad enough, only seconds later, freshman forward Tre'Shaun Fletcher had a similar slip, and suffered a tear in his left MCL and meniscus, costing him over a month of action. It was enough to take your breath away.
|Dinwiddie's injury opened the door for a massive UW comeback.|
Since then... -
The Huskies have proven incapable of capitalizing on their 3-1 start to conference play. The culprit has been a complete inability to win a game away from home. Since the win over CU that some in HuskyNation were hoping would propel them to a strong run in conference play, they've gone 2-4, sandwiching a pair of blowout losses in the Bay Area and losses to Washington St (ouch) and Utah around a sweep of the Oregons. Not good.
|The Huskies have been getting hammered outside of Seattle.|
Offensively, Washington continues to be inconsistent because they are forced into being a jump-shooting team. Their four-out-one-in look rarely sees them getting to the free throw line (last in conference play for FTA/FGA ratio, getting less than 18% of their scoring from the line), and they continue to be in the national top-30 for percentage of shots coming as two-point jumpers. It's not a formula for consistent winning, and it's no great surprise that they struggle going on the road, as a result.
Why things could be different -
Last month's game in Seattle was a throw-away for Colorado. After the pair of injuries in the first half, they were never going to put together a competitive performance. The simple fact that CU has had a month to come to terms with basketball without Dinwiddie and Fletcher means that this should be a completely different game.
What's more, Washington has struggled away from home. They are 2-8 in all road/neutral contests, and are riding a five-game losing streak as visitors. Assuming BuffNation actually shows up tomorrow night, I like CU's chances of earning a spot of revenge.
|Wilcox is the type of player that usually has a field day against the Buffs.|
(My record on the season: 10-3. Against the spread: 7-6. Optimistic/pessimistic: CU +2.62 pts/gm)
NO LINES POSTED AS OF SATURDAY MORNING
I continue to feel comfortable about Colorado at the CEC. Simply because of improved weather and roads, the crowd should be much better tomorrow night than it was Wednesday, and a Sunday night affair means fans can enjoy a day of skiing, and still make it back to Boulder in time for tip. Assuming Wilcox doesn't go completely HAM, the Buffs should prevail. Verdict on the cover to come, but I'm betting on a two-possession win.
CU 74 - UW 69
GO BUFFS! PROVE ME RIGHT, AND AVENGE SPENCER!