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First-half scoring drought sinks Cougs in 70-58 loss to Colorado

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

With 13:34 to play in the first half, Ryan Rapp drained a three-pointer to give Washington State an 11-9 lead.

By the time Jaz Kunc scored WSU’s next points, the game was already essentially over.

Kunc made a layup with 7:48 to play, snapping a nearly 6-minute scoreless drought. Colorado meanwhile, was not scoreless during that stretch and instead racked up 20 points to take a 29-11 lead. WSU was able to cut the lead to single-digits multiple times in the second half, but Colorado always had a response and used that first-half surge to power a 70-58 victory.

The closest WSU got in the second half was with 9 minutes to play when another Rapp jumper made it a 6-point game. Colorado quickly ripped off five-straight points to increase the lead back to double digits and end the threat for good.

The Cougars were without leading scorer Isaac Bonton who sat out with the flu. His absence certainly didn’t help a team already prone to scoring droughts even with him on the floor. Freshman T.J. Bamba saw extended action with Bonton out and had the best scoring game of his Pac-12 season, finishing with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting. The 13 points were more than Bamba scored in his last four games combined.

Defensively, WSU was doomed by its three-point defense. The Cougars did a solid job to limit Colorado on two-point shots, with the Buffaloes shooting just 37% from two. The problem was from deep where Colorado made 10-of-17 including 7-of-8 in the first half.

Freshman big man Dishon Jackson didn’t shoot the ball especially well, going 3-of-10 from the floor, but finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds. Noah Williams led the way offensively for WSU with 15 points.

The loss is WSU’s sixth-straight defeat and drops WSU to 2-7 in Pac-12 play. The Cougs will get a couple of extra days off before traveling to Seattle to face on Washington on Sunday.