BOULDER, Colo. — Daejon Davis didn’t have a chance.
The Washington men’s basketball guard bravely stood in the path of a charging Jabari Walker while attempting to defend the rim and draw a charge.
However, the 6-foot-9 and 215-pound Walker used his considerable size advantage to plow through Davis and draw a foul before scoring a layup.
It was that kind of day for the Huskies, who were outmuscled, bullied and pushed around in the paint during a 78-64 defeat against Colorado at CU Events Center.
“They had really good length,” coach Mike Hopkins said. “You could tell when we took it the basket, we had to kick out. We were trying to challenge them and that’s why our shooting percentage inside the paint wasn’t where it needed to be.”
Washington generally struggles inside and Sunday was no exception.
Colorado forwards Tristan da Silva (22 points) and Walker (11 points and 13 rebounds) pounded and pummeled UW’s undersized front line.
The Buffaloes (11-3, 3-1 Pac-12) out-rebounded 47-27 the Huskies and outscored them 38-20 in the paint.
Washington attempted to counter with a perimeter attack led by backup guard Cole Bajema, who finished with 18 points and six three-pointers — both career-highs.
“Obviously, they smacked us on rebounds and we got to get better at that,” Bajema said. “We could share it a little bit better. We had some moments when we share it, we’re a hard team to guard.”
Emmitt Matthews Jr. added 16 points and Terrell Brown Jr. finished with 12 points, five assists and six steals for Washington (6-7, 1-2), which fell below .500 for the second time this season.
From the start, Washington had difficulty keeping the Buffaloes off the glass. Colorado enjoyed a 23-8 rebounding disparity in the first half, but both teams attempted 27 shots before the break.
Surprisingly, the Huskies primary source for offense was its perimeter attack. Washington, which entered the game ranked 11th in the Pac-12 in three-point shooting percentage (30.1%), canned 6 of 11 from long range in the first half.
Bajema, who connected on 5 of 8 three-pointers Thursday at Utah, continued his red-hot perimeter shooting and connected on 3 of 3 three-pointers in the first half.
“If anybody gets hot on our team, we’re going to obviously try to get them the ball no matter who it is,” Bajema said. “It could be anybody’s night on our team. That’s just how we play. Sometimes when it’s my night, they try to find me.”
Led by Bajema, who connected on 11 of 15 three-pointers in the past two games, the Huskies controlled the first nine minutes.
However, Colorado seized momentum midway in the first half with an 11-0 run that turned a 23-22 deficit into a 33-23 lead. During the spurt, the Buffaloes connected on 5 of 5 field goals while the Huskies were 0 for 5.
“Just too much 1 on 1,” Hopkins said. “We let it get away from us.”
Bajema’s third three-pointer in the first half pulled UW to 33-28, but Colorado answered with six straight points to take a 39-28 lead into halftime.
Before Sunday, the Huskies were 1-7 when trailing at halftime.
Washington overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half and beat Utah 74-68 on Thursday. However, this time Huskies’ comeback bid fell short.
Once again, Hopkins switched UW’s defense from a 2-3 zone to a full-court press and man-to-man defense.
The defensive switch helped Washington pull to 48-43 with 12:23 left, but the Buffaloes broke the game open with an 11-2 run.
Walker gave Colorado a 59-45 lead following his layup over Davis at the 8:05 mark and the Huskies never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Washington went 1-2 on its three-game road trip, which began last Monday with a 95-79 loss at No. 8 Arizona.
The Huskies host California 7 p.m. Wednesday.
“I felt like we got a lot better to be honest,” Hopkins said. “And I did feel, you could see the three games in six days affect us against a team that it’s their second game (this week). We need our energy and that’s what scares me about Wednesday because that’s (four games in 10 days) with travel.
“But it’s part of the deal in terms of the rescheduling. I felt like the Arizona game helped us become better. The Utah game, we came back. Tonight we cut it five in the second half, … but just didn’t have enough at the end.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.