After going up by as much 30 points late in the second half on Sunday night, the Colorado Buffaloes avenged their previous loss to the Washington Huskies by gaining their second biggest margin of victory since joining the Pac-12, 91-65.
"We should have beat them up (in Washington)," sophomore forward Josh Scott said. "We took it to them this game. We thought that we were better than we showed up there, and we proved it tonight."
Throughout the game the Buffs were phenomenal on offense. For the first time since Feb. 2007, three players scored 20 or more points for a combined 68 points. Sophomore forward Xavier Johnson led the team with a career-high 27 points, followed by Josh Scott (21) and Askia Booker (20).
"Our team needs leadership and a new lead scorer, so me, (Scott), and (Booker) need to step up, and we do that for the most part on the offensive and defensive end," Johnson said. "We just try to play our hearts out."
This marked the first time in their careers that Johnson and Booker have had two back-to-back 20-point performances after they both scored 20 and 27 against Washington State on Wednesday.
On top of all that, Johnson picked up his third double-double of the season after adding 10 rebounds to his 27 points. He also performed exceptionally well on defense after holding Huskies' star C.J. Wilcox to a mere eight points.
"Wilcox is a great player," Johnson said. "I didn't guard him last game, so coach was trying something new and put me on him. I was able to contain him for the most part, but most of the credit goes to Jaron (Hopkins). He guarded him most of the game and did very well on him."
Freshman forward Jaron Hopkins had the play of the game midway through the second half after posterizing Wilcox on a fast break dunk. Hopkins also stepped up defensively for the Buffs, grabbing 10 of the team's 44 boards.
Even without three key players--Spencer Dinwiddie, Tre'Shaun Fletcher and Wesley Gordon (out with an ankle sprain)--the Buffs proved that they could perform well as a team.
"We said after Spencer (Dinwiddie) went out that we were still a good team," Scott said. "I think you saw that we're starting to settle into life without key players, and we didn't have Wesley (Gordon) tonight either and we still have people step up...It helps when everybody is at a high level."
For the night, the Buffs shot 31-56 from the field (55.4%), 9-14 from the three-point range (64.3%), and made 20-28 free throws (71.4%). Additionally, they outrebounded the Huskies by 14, 44-30.
Head Coach Tad Boyle said that he was proud of the way everybody on his team played on Sunday night.
"That was, I think, probably as complete a performance by our team as we've had in a long, long time," Boyle said. "When you defend and you rebound and you shoot the ball the way we did tonight, it's a recipe for a runaway win."
The Huskies, however, did not perform as well offensively. They shot 21-65 from the field (32.3%), 8-26 from behind the arc (30.8%), and made 15-19 free throws (78.9%).
Going into the first half, the Buffs started out strong. They went up by 10 points in the first two minutes of play before the Huskies were able to get on the board with a couple free throws from Wilcox.
Over the remainder of the half, the Buffs continued to manhandle the Huskies. They went up by as much as 17 points with 11:33 left in play, 28-11, before Washington started to fight back. The Huskies managed to get within seven points two separate times, but that was as close as they would get.
By the time the buzzer sounded, the Buffs had gained a 15-point lead over Washington, 48-33.
For the half, the Buffs were impressive from everywhere on the court. They shot 17-33 from the field (51.5%), 6-10 from three-point range (60.0%), and went 8-10 from the foul line (80.0%). Junior guard Askia Booker paced the team with a career-high 16 points in the first half, followed by Xavier Johnson (11) and Josh Scott (10).
The Huskies, however, weren't as efficient on offense. They made 12-32 of their shots from the field (37.5%), 4-12 of their shots from the three (33.3%), but made all of their five free throws.
The second half wasn't much different. The Buffaloes continued to dominate on the court, only letting the Huskies get within 15 when the score read 48-33 as soon as play resumed. Their biggest lead of the half--and the season, for that matter--came with 2:53 left on the clock when the Buffs led by 30 points, 89-59.
By the end of the game, the Buffaloes bested the Huskies 91-65 for their 18th win of the season and the seventh of conference play (now 18-6, 7-4).
The Buffs start their next home stretch at UCLA on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7:00 p.m. in the hopes of avenging their home loss against the Bruins earlier this season.
"We've made the transition (since losing Dinwiddie), but now the test for us is to go on the road," Boyle said. "We've done what we needed to do at home, we've won our home stand and now we need to go on the road and get some road wins."