Colorado Buffaloes vs. Washington St. Cougars Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 31st 2023

Colorado coach Tad Boyle admitted he didn’t sleep well the night before the Buffaloes’ Pac-12 Conference opener.

But he was able to rest easier after his short-handed team rallied to beat visiting Washington 73-69 on Friday night.

The Buffaloes (10-2, 1-0 Pac-12) will go after their sixth straight victory when they play host to Washington State (9-3, 0-1) on Sunday afternoon in Boulder, Colo.

Boyle’s restless night came after Tristan da Silva, who averages 15.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, hurt an ankle late in practice Thursday and wasn’t available against the Huskies. Fellow forward Cody Williams (14.0 ppg) missed his fourth straight game with a wrist injury, and Bangot Dak (illness) and guard RJ Smith (leg) were also out.

In their absence, KJ Simpson totaled 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Eddie Lampkin Jr. had his third straight double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Luke O’Brien, Julian Hammond III and J’Vonne Hadley each scored 11 points.

“No disrespect to the guys we didn’t have, but it’s next man up,” Simpson said. “Everyone on our team is capable of putting on a show.”

The Buffaloes erased a seven-point deficit in the final 5:13, closing the game with a 17-6 run.

“Gritty win, obviously, with adjusting to being without one of your best players,” Boyle said. “I knew we had enough talent in that locker room to win this game but I also knew that our margin for error went down significantly. The good news is we didn’t play our best and we found a way to win this game. That’s what good teams do.”

The Cougars, who are 0-12 in Boulder, are coming off an 80-58 loss Friday at Utah.

Isaac Jones had 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead WSU with his third double-double this season. Jaylen Wells added 10 points off the bench.

The Cougars led 40-34 with 16:08 remaining before collapsing.

“They got on top of us and we just didn’t have a good response at all,” WSU coach Kyle Smith said. “We didn’t have anything, and you gotta make shots on the road.”

–Field Level Media

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