“We have talked to our team about putting it all together, not being in foul trouble, defending, and also being able to make shots," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said. "In the first half I thought we did that. Second half I though we had some inconsistent defensive possessions and a couple times we maybe not took the best shot we could have taken. But all-in-all, I thought our guys stepped up to the challenge and met it and did a nice job.”
Four Washington (13-5, 5-1) players scored in double-figures, including 17 points apiece for Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss, while Malik Dime added 10 points and 7 blocks. Chriss added to the block party with five of his own.
The Huskies also had an all-time best 15 blocks, one more than they had back in 2001 versus Santa Clara.
“He makes a big difference with our team," Romar said of Chriss, who has battled foul trouble all year long but had only one personal foul in the first half. "We’re very fortunate to have the record that we have with him being as much foul trouble that he’s been in. If he can stay in the game, then you have the way Malik Dime is playing and Noah Dickerson. With those guys rotating in there they really help our ball club.”
"It was just more fun playing the whole game instead of sitting on the bench the whole time," added Chriss. "I think I just have to pick and choose my spots wisely and just if the ball is up in front of me I can get it, but try not to jump on people or land on people or push people in the back.”
Dominique Collier led Colorado (14-5, 3-3) with 21 points on 6-7 shooting from three. Josh Scott and George King scored 18 points each.
UW got off to a hot start, but couldn't shake the Buffs, who led by as many as three early on. By the mid-way point in the first half, the Huskies started to gain control, holding Colorado's leading scorer Josh Scott - usually good for 18 points per game - to three. Scott would eventually score his average, but by then it was too late.
"Everybody was helping on the weak side," Chriss said when asked about keeping Scott quiet the first 20 minutes. "We were fronting the post. When he gets the ball somebody is always there. He never really had the ball with nobody by him.”
Balanced scoring helped push a 21-19 Washington advantage with 9:37 left to halftime to a 15-point edge after a Dime jumper gave the Huskies a 45-30 lead with just 101 seconds to intermission. UW would eventually end the half up 14, 47-33 after shooting 60 percent from the field and 43 percent from three.
"Colorado, field goal percentage wise, is the number one defensive team in our league," Romar said. "Our guys did a good job. We knew coming in that it was going to be difficult to score if we came in and shot the ball when it was contested early. We knew we had to move the ball and our guys did that. But, we scored points off our defense too in the first half. Our defense got us going in transition.”
By the first media time out of the second half, the Huskies have raced out to a 20-point lead after back-to-back threes by Murray and Andrews. They would extend that lead to as much as 22 points with 11:39 to play, but Colorado wouldn't quit. They trapped the ball to try and force turnovers, and Scott became more aggressive on the offensive end.
At to it, Collier's red-hot shooting from three, and the Buffs sliced Washington's lead down to 12 in less than two minutes.
"We tell teams whenever a team comes back it’s because you aren’t guarding," Romar said. "If you’re not getting stops it allows them to come back. The offensive will take care of itself. We’ve got to get stops when we get those leads. We shoed our team on film when we were up 10 against Washington State four times they went right to the basket without getting touched. When they got touched it was an and-one. That can’t happen. Tonight when they started to come back the same thing happened. We’ve got to get better at that.”
Andrews and freshman guard David Crisp went on a quick 8-0 run the next 90 seconds to re-establish Washington's 20-point cushion, but Colorado kept competing.
It took them a number of minutes, but a King jumper with 93 seconds to play cut Washington's lead to 7, 87-80. But Andrews, who scored 16 of his game-high 33 points from the foul line, hit eight-straight foul shots to salt the game away for good.
"He had the ball in his hand and they had to foul," Romar said of Andrews. "He’s pretty good at that. Not only that; they made their run to cut it back down to 13 and Andrew (Andrews) hit two big shots again to allow us to distance ourselves. He’s proving it this year, game in and game out, that he’s clutch. You’d like to have the ball in guy’s hands that prove it game in and game out."
"We got the lead up," added Andrews. "We got the crowd involved. For a good 15-20 minutes straight they weren’t running their offense. They were just scrambling trying to play one-on-one ball, which I think we’ll take those odds. We kind of took our foot off the pedal there. We kind of let them hit some threes, get a couple offensive rebounds, Scott got going a little bit and got more aggressive. Once again these are all pieces to the puzzle we have to keep adding to. We came out and gave a great effort. I’m glad we came out with the win.”