Road woes continue for Washington in loss to Colorado
Buffaloes rout Huskies 87-69, extending UW's road losing streak to five.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Washington @ Utah, 11 a.m., ROOT
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BOULDER, Colo. — Good at home, lousy on the road.
That sums up Washington.
The Huskies men's basketball team manhandles opponents at Edmundson Pavilion. But when it leaves Seattle, it morphs into something unfamiliar, unstable and strangely predictable.
The defense breaks down, the offense becomes stagnant, and the turnovers multiply — just as they did Thursday at Colorado.
By the time Buffaloes senior guard Carlon Brown bounced a pass off the glass to himself for a layup late in the first half, the Huskies were on their way to a demoralizing 87-69 defeat in front of 7,110 at Coors Event Center.
The loss snapped their three-game winning streak and extended their string of consecutive road defeats to five.
"In the back of our heads we knew that we hadn't gotten a win on the road, so I think that's kind of it right there," sophomore guard C.J. Wilcox said. "Things started going the opposite direction and we kind of fell apart."
Washington controlled the early minutes of its first Pac-12 meeting against Colorado. But before you could say here we go again, the Huskies lost the momentum, the lead and ultimately the game.
They trailed by as many as 24 points and when it was over, they were left to wonder how they stumbled on the road again.
"For me, it all happens fast," Wilcox said. "We're down 15 before you know it, then it's panic time. It's hard to get back from that."
Colorado (10-4, 2-0 Pac-12) could have been Saint Louis or Duke, other teams that clobbered the Huskies (8-6, 2-1) on the road.
It had been nearly a month since the Huskies' last road loss, to the Blue Devils in New York, and coach Lorenzo Romar wondered if they had taken significant steps to solving their road woes during a 4-1 homestand that included three consecutive wins.
"I'm really disappointed," he said. "I thought we had made progress."
The defense and offensive chemistry appeared improved in recent weeks, but against Colorado both were areas of concern.
The Huskies often allowed open looks to the Buffaloes, who converted 49.1 percent from the field. Washington also played lazy defense and sent Colorado to the free-throw line 28 times; CU converted 25.
Meanwhile, Washington finished with a season-low seven assists on 27 field goals. If Tony Wroten Jr. didn't score on a dribble drive or Wilcox didn't nail a three-pointer, the Huskies' offense stalled.
"When you don't share the basketball, it limits your options," Romar said.
Wroten finished with game-high 21 points, a career-high seven steals, six rebounds and three assists to offset five turnovers.
"I feel like people get desperate, and then they kind of forget about the offense and just try to drive," said Wilcox, who scored 19 points on 6-for-16 shooting off the bench. "That's what happens when you get (seven assists)."
Terrence Ross tallied 13 points and 10 rebounds, his third double-double this season.
While Washington struggled to generate points, Colorado had five players in double-digit scoring led by Brown, who had 18 points.
"We kind of played into their hands, speeding up and not taking care of the ball," Brown said. "Once we got the first five, seven minutes out of us, we really showed our true game."
The Huskies scored the first seven points and led 14-5 before the momentum changed.
Wroten gave the Huskies their final lead at 22-21 on a layup with 6:48 remaining in the first half. On the next possession, Brown scored on his putback and Colorado never trailed again.
The Buffs carried a 40-30 lead into halftime. With 7:32 left they were ahead 70-50, and the rout was on.
Poor performances on the road are nothing new for the Huskies. They've made three NCAA tournament appearances in the past three seasons, compiling a 15-20 road record during that span.
After their latest setback, the Huskies will search for their first road win Saturday at Utah (4-10, 1-1), which upset Washington State on Thursday.
"We know what we have to do," junior guard Abdul Gaddy said. "It's just a matter of doing it."
Attendance: 7,110. Officials: Michael Reed, Bobby McRoy, Rick Batsell.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @percyallen.