Colorado rallied from a shaky first half to beat Washington State 73-63 Wednesday night in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament.
LAS VEGAS — Faced with a game it could not afford to lose, Colorado came out flat at both ends. The Buffaloes were disjointed on offense, unable to stop Washington State on defense.
Once the second half started, senior Derrick White took over, helping Colorado avoid what could have been an NCAA tournament-killing loss.
White scored 17 of his 26 points in the second half, Xavier Johnson added 19 and Colorado rallied from a shaky first half to beat Washington State 73-63 Wednesday night in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament.
“Derrick White is one of the best players in this league,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “Anybody that hasn’t seen him play is missing something because he’s special, and he showed why he’s special tonight in the second half. Just made big plays for us.”
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Colorado (19-13) got off to a miserable start at both ends as Washington State raced out to a 19-point lead. The seventh-seeded Buffaloes whittled into the lead by halftime and overtook the Cougars in the second half behind White.
With White shooting and dishing, Colorado hit 15 of 28 shots in the second half to complete the comeback, earning a spot in Thursday’s quarterfinals against second-seeded Arizona.
“I was really proud of our guys for their second-half effort,” Boyle said. “I thought there were some really critical plays there down the stretch.”
Washington State (13-18), the tournament’s No. 10 seed, lost all its mojo after a stellar first half, leaving coach Ernie Kent frustrated and the team’s four senior starters disappointed in their final game.
Charles Callison and Ike Iroegbu scored 16 points each, and Josh Hawkinson had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
“They hunted us down well in the second half,” Kent said. “We…