Washington aims to defeat Colorado for the third time in just over three months when the teams meet in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament on Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas.
The Huskies (16-15, 8-12 Pac-12) and Buffaloes (16-15, 8-12) finished the regular season with identical records to tie for eighth place in the conference standings. Washington won both encounters between the clubs, thereby giving the Huskies the No. 8 seed and the Buffaloes the No. 9 seed.
The winner of this clash will tangle with top-seeded UCLA on Thursday.
“It’s one game at a time,” Huskies coach Mike Hopkins said after his team fell for the sixth time in nine outings with a 93-84 setback to Washington State.
“We always say DMGB — doesn’t matter, get better. But you can tell they were down. You could sit and feel sorry for yourself or you can sit there and get excited to get better and have an opportunity to go out there and play in Vegas. That’s the greatest thing about this time of the year.”
Keion Brooks Jr. scored 22 points in Washington’s loss in the season finale. He had 25 points and Braxton Meah collected 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in the Huskies’ 75-72 victory over the Buffaloes on Jan. 19 in Boulder, Colo.
Meah totaled 16 points and seven boards in Washington’s 73-63 victory over Colorado on Dec. 4 in Seattle.
Like the Huskies, the Buffaloes also skidded down the stretch. Colorado dropped nine of 13 games before posting a 69-60 victory over Utah on Saturday in the season finale.
Julian Hammond III and Tristan da Silva each scored 15 points, and Nique Clifford recorded 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds versus the Utes. The Buffaloes played without co-leading scorer KJ Simpson (15.9 points per game), who will miss the conference tournament due to mononucleosis.
“Something we’ve talked about is next man up,” Clifford said. “It’s another opportunity for other guys on our team and I felt like we went out there and did what we were supposed to — stick to the game plan.”
J’Vonne Hadley had a team-high 15 points in the first encounter against Washington, while Hammond paced Colorado with 18 in the more recent meeting.
–Field Level Media