Had the Washington Huskies done anything of consequence in the first half, they might have had a chance against Colorado Thursday night at Alaska Airlines Arena. But a feeble (and season-low) 17-point showing on 25 percent shooting before intermission ultimately doomed UW, which fell 64-47 to the Buffaloes. Washington has lost three in a row and 10 of 11.
The Huskies (15-14, 4-13) started the season 11-0 and now face the prospect of finishing their campaign with a losing record.
Coach Lorenzo Romar was forced to give 7-foot junior forward Gilles Dierickx his first career start because Shawn Kemp Jr. strained a calf muscle and did not play. Dierickx played 34 minutes and was 1 for 6 from the field, same as 6-10 forward Jernard Jarreau. The Huskies’ only two big men combined for 10 rebounds.
Andrew Andrews led the Huskies with 20 points. Nigel Williams-Goss, apparently still feeling the effects of a sprained ankle, had season lows of eight points and one assist.
Washington scored four points in the first 10 minutes and suffered through a draconian seven-minute stretch in which it went 1-for-15. Unable to contain Colorado’s Josh Scott, who scored 14 points in the paint in the first 20 minutes (eight in a row), the Huskies fell behind 30-17 at the break. Washington had only one assist in the first half and went 0-for-7 from 3-point range.
With Andrews knocking down a quintet of threes, Washington made a nice run in the second half, scoring on six consecutive possessions to pull within 38-32 at the 15:16 mark. Back-to-back threes by Andrews and lightly used Dan Kingma enabled the Huskies to close the gap to 41-36 at 9:16.
Then Washington went cold, hitting only two of its next 15 shots.
Dierickx dished out three assists, which led Washington.
Washington continued to flail in the absence of shot-blocking whiz Robert Upshaw, the Pac-12’s best defensive player before he was booted off the squad for violating a team rule.
“We just could not get the ball to go down on our end,” said coach Lorenzo Romar, whose Huskies shot 30.5 percent. “The ball just didn’t go through the hoop. And Colorado took advantage of its size down low.”
Romar said Kemp is doubtful for Saturday’s game against Utah and probably won’t return until the Pac-12 Tournament . . . Prior to Thursday’s loss, the Huskies were 7-1 all-time vs. the Buffaloes . . . Washington defeated Colorado 52-50 Jan. 22 in Boulder . . . Colorado’s win was its first in Seattle since Dec. 21, 1956.
The Huskies close out their regular-season schedule at 1:30 p.m. Saturday against the University of Utah at Alaska Airlines arena. The Pac-12 Tournament begins Wednesday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.