All season long, the Colorado Buffaloes have been looking for a spark to get them consistently in the ‘W’ column, but thanks to a handful of voluptuous dunks from freshman Bryce Peters, the Buffs stampeded the Washington Huskies for coach Tad Boyle’s 200th collegiate win on Thursday night, 81-66.

A huge factor in the Buffaloes’ victory rested on Washington’s star guard Markelle Fultz, who sat out with a bum knee. Fultz had been averaging 23 points per game prior.

“I was bummed,” senior guard Derrick White said. “I wanted to go out there and compete against him, but I couldn’t dwell on that. We had to focus on other capable players that came out today.”

With his absence, the burden fell on the rest of the Huskies, who failed to rise to the challenge. As a team, the Huskies shot 43 percent on the night thanks to an upscale Buffalo defensive performance all around. The Buffs fared better as they finished shooting 51 percent.

After dropping seven straight to open hostile Pac-12 play, the Buffs have been on a bit of a roll lately, winning four of their last five. Boyle, who’s seen a rollercoaster of inconsistency from his team this year, attributed that change of pace to its defensive effort as of late.

“It started at Oregon and then it’s kind of been there ever since,” Boyle said. “Again, we had some lapses in the first half when we zone against Cal, where we didn’t guard the three-point line very well. Outside of that five or six minute stretch, since the Oregon game we’ve been very very good.”

For the second game straight, seniors Xavier Johnson and Wes Gordon sat out after violating team rules on the California trip, but Boyle promised the two would return to action on Sunday against Washington State. Deleon Brown also missed the game Thursday after sustaining a concussion in practice earlier in the week.

Junior guard George King put up quite the double-double performance as he notched 21 points and 12 rebounds, only to be followed in suit by White (16 points), Lucas Siewert (12), Tory Miller (11), Dominique Collier (10) and Bryce Peters (10).

“We’ve said all year long that the strength of this team is the balance and the depth,” White said. “When someone goes down, people not playing, we got guys like Lucas stepping up, Bryce stepped up huge, (Thomas Akyazili) was huge. Top to bottom, we were great.”

Surely, momentum and luck have favored the Buffaloes these past few weeks.

“I think our defense picked up these last five games, and that’s something we can build on going forward, especially now that we have Wes and X coming back,” King said. “The future’s bright for us.”

The Buffs took over early in the first half, and the Huskies were obviously hurting without their star guard to lead the way. The Buffs capitalized on the opportunity of his absence as they racked up as much as a 14-point lead late in the half, 40-26, before the Huskies came back slightly to close it out at 42-31.

Not much changed in the second half, no matter how hard the Huskies fought to get back in the game. At one point, the Buffs led by as much as 18 with just over two minutes remaining before they went on to win, 81-66.

The Buffs return to action on Sunday, Feb. 12 to host Washington State at 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

“We’ve won four out of five now, we’ve got a little momentum, feeling good about ourselves,” Boyle said. “Again, we’ll get all hands on deck hopefully on Sunday, and if not, at least we know X and Wes are coming back and that we can hopefully make a little bit of a run here.”