Washington and Colorado look to rebound following one-point losses in their Pac-12 Conference openers when they meet Sunday afternoon in Seattle.
The short-handed Huskies (6-2, 0-1) nearly overcame the absence of 7-foot-1 starting center Braxton Meah (ankle) and a knee injury to 6-11 Franck Kepnang in the second half of their 66-65 setback to Oregon State on Thursday.
Washington, which also was missing senior guard Noah Williams to a leg injury in the conference opener, erased an 18-point deficit and held a three-point lead before bowing to the Beavers in Corvallis, Ore.
Kentucky transfer Keion Brooks collected 21 points and seven rebounds for the Huskies, as coach Mike Hopkins went to a four-guard lineup in the final minutes Thursday.
“I told them how proud I was,” Hopkins said, per the Seattle Times. “We weren’t going to go down without swinging. That’s who these guys are.
“Franck goes out and that was emotional. Just tougher together. Went out there and fought. Made plays. Got ourselves in position and just couldn’t finish it. I was disappointed that we lost, but so proud of how they fought and how they kept coming.”
Like the Huskies, the Buffaloes (4-4, 0-1) dropped a heartbreaker in their Pac-12 opener Thursday.
Colorado squandered a 15-point halftime lead and then was done in by a late 3-pointer in a 60-59 setback to Arizona State.
“This one stings,” Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle said. “This is easily one of the top five losses in the 13 years I’ve been at Colorado. We let our fans down. I let them down. The players let them down. … We wilted to their pressure.”
KJ Simpson scored 13 points and Tristan da Silva added 10 points and a career-high eight rebounds for the Buffaloes.
Last season, da Silva scored a career-high 22 points in Colorado’s 78-64 win over Washington in Boulder, Colo., on Jan. 9. He sat out with a non-COVID-19 illness in the rematch later that month, when Washington won in Seattle 60-58.
–Field Level Media