BOULDER, Colo. – Washington’s ugly shooting line received a welcome boost when Matisse Thybulle banked in a 3-ball off the backboard midway through the opening half on Saturday.
Ugly, sure – but just the kind of pick-me up needed for the struggling Huskies.
Jaylen Nowell scored 19 points, Thybulle added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Washington overcame a miserable start from the field to beat Colorado 72-62.
Thybulle’s improbable 3 served as a catalyst.
“Things started to get quiet after that,” the junior said, “so we knew it was good.”
Noah Dickerson added 10 points and 14 rebounds for Washington (14-6, 4-3 Pac-12), which avoided losing three straight for the first time this season. David Crisp had 14 points, including a breakaway dunk in the final minute that all but secured the win.
The Huskies finished a respectable 42 percent from the field despite starting the game 4 of 20. Even better, they outrebounded the Buffaloes 50-34 and had 16 offensive boards.
Washington came into the game ranked last in the conference in rebound margin.
“Our kids fought today,” Huskies coach Mike Hopkins said. “I told them it doesn’t matter if you make or miss shots, just take good ones. But you have to fight, you can’t just go out there and be pushed around.”
Tyler Bey tied a career high with 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead Colorado (12-8, 4-4), while George King added 11 of his 13 in the second half.
The Buffaloes trimmed a 13-point deficit to seven points nine different times in the second half. No closer, though.
“We didn’t have the effort or energy and that’s something this team really needs,” Bey said. “Home or away, you have to have energy. Period.”
In the opening half, Washington closed on a 27-9 run to take a 36-27 lead. The Huskies needed only three minutes to erase a nine-point deficit, stringing together a 14-0 run to go up 23-18.
They hit nine of their final 13 shots of the half as Dominic Green ended Washington’s scoring funk with a 3, and Thybulle followed it with a banked-in 3 moments later.
The lead then grew to nine in the waning minutes as Green converted a four-point play with a 3 and foul shot, and Nowell tapped in a layup just seconds before the horn.
Washington: After falling to .500 with two straight losses in Pac-12 play, the Huskies pushed back over the threshold with a less-than-complete performance against Colorado. Their domination on the boards – led by Thybulle and Dickerson – helped them through tough shooting stretches.
Colorado: The Buffaloes lost at the Coors Events Center for the first time since Dec. 12. They shot 35 percent from the field and failed to keep up with the Huskies on the boards. Next week, Colorado will look to get back on track when it travels to face No. 14 Arizona and No. 16 Arizona State after beating both schools in court-storming fashion earlier in the month.
Coming off a disappointing loss at Utah to start their road trip, Washington trailed 18-9 in the early minutes against Colorado.
Crediting his team, Nowell said the Huskies didn’t panic.
“We kept poise,” the freshman said. “It’s a great win. That was our objective after the Utah loss, we wanted to split the games.”
Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review’s sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.