Buffs survive first-round scare from Cougars in Pac-12 tournament

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This season has been up and down for the Colorado Buffaloes, and after going down by 19 points midway through the first half, they bounced back and came out atop the Washington State Cougars in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, 73-63.

The game couldn’t have been a more perfect metaphor for Colorado’s conference portion of their season. After dropping its first seven games, the Buffs have been on fire as they’ve filed eight games in the ‘W’ column in the past 11.

As a surprise to no one, senior guard Derrick White proved to be Colorado’s saving grace on Wednesday night, as he finished with 26 points, five rebounds and five assists.

For the night, the Buffs turned around an abysmal first half of offense and finished with 43.4 percent overall, while the Cougars’ first half efficiency dropped in the second half to 44.6 percent.

Throughout the first half, all of the Buffaloes hard work over the last few weeks of the regular season quickly imploded as they couldn’t string together an adequate offensive or defensive effort from the start.

After trailing only 11-7 early into play, the Cougars ignited a 19-4 run to gain the first significant lead of the game, 30-11. Although the Buffs spend the rest of the half playing catch up, they couldn’t contain the sharp-shooting Cougars and lagged 41-27 by the time the midpoint buzzer sounded.

For the half, the Buffs only shot 32 percent to Washington’s 57 percent.

In the opening minutes of the second half, the Buffaloes launched a fiery comeback led by none other than White. During a 22-8 scoring tangent, White notched 13 points with a block and a steal. And with 10:30 left in the game, the Buffalo offense came full swing as they it tied things back up at 49.

From there on out, everything went right for Colorado as the Buffs held the Cougars to just 22 points in the second half, meanwhile scoring 46. At the end of it all, the Buffs sealed with a 73-63 comeback victory.

The Buffs return to action on Thursday, March 9, when they face the No. 7 Arizona Wildcats at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.

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