Hapless Huskies host hot Colorado

NCAA Basketball

The Washington Huskies are having a tough season, and things don’t figure to get any easier for them this week, starting with hosting the surging Colorado Buffaloes on Thursday night.

It is the first conference matchup between the two and the second meeting of the season. The Buffaloes won the first game, 92-69, as part of the Far West Classic in Las Vegas on Dec. 20.

The Huskies (1-11, 0-7 Pac-12) have dropped eight consecutive games and have gone more than a month since getting their only victory of the season. Washington is in danger of enduring its worst season in 27 years, when the Huskies went 5-22 in Bob Bender’s first season. And even in that 1993-94 season, they won three conference games.

Washington has lost seven games by double figures and four of those by 20 or more points. The Cal Bears got their first conference win by beating the Huskies. The lone bright spot in the six weeks of losing is Washington’s last outing, a close loss to Pac-12 leader UCLA, 81-76, in Los Angeles on Saturday.

The Huskies led by 10 at halftime.

“Those guys came out tonight, and they were fighting,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said after the game. “We were fighting right from the get go. That’s a great sign for us moving forward. There are no moral victories here. We played better and better defense, but we’ve got to close games.”

The Huskies hope they can build on that performance, but it won’t be easy against Colorado. The Buffaloes (11-3, 5-2) have won four in a row, including a win over a ranked Oregon team. Senior guard McKinley Wright IV was named the Pac-12 player of the week and Jabari Walker took freshman of the week honors after Colorado’s sweep of Cal and Stanford.

Things are getting even better for the Buffaloes with the expected return of 7-footer Dallas Walton, who has missed the past six games with a lower leg injury. Walton’s best game came in the win over Washington when he put up a career-high 22 points.

Yet, Colorado coach Tad Boyle knows his team can’t take the Huskies for granted.

“It’s always hard to beat that team you’ve beaten a second time,” he said. “If there’s an emotional edge, Washington probably has it. We’ve got to make sure that we match that edge and that we’re ready to play.”

–Field Level Media

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