After a less-than-ideal start to conference play this season, Colorado has rediscovered its flame over the past six games as they completed the stint 5-1 with a dominant win over Washington State in Boulder on Sunday night, 81-49.

“I think that was as good of an all-around performance as we’ve had all year. There’s not a lot of things that I can point to as a coach that I was disappointed in, other than the last two or three minutes, we got a little sloppy,” head coach Tad Boyle said postgame. “But overall, I thought it was a great team effort.”

The beatdown, although against a Washington State team that is 11-14 overall and 4-9 in the Pac-12, marks perhaps one of the biggest steps in Colorado rekindling its defensive and rebounding identity and exorcising the ghosts of this season’s past.

In non-conference play, the Buffs owned what Tad Boyle called the worst loss in his tenure at CU (vs. CSU by 14) and the worst win (vs. Division II Fort Hays State by 10). This, of course, was followed by seven straight losses to open Pac-12 play during an elongated defensive dry spell.

Since reclaiming their defensive identity against an embattled Oregon State team, the Buffaloes have stampeded to victory in nearly every contest. A nine-point home victory over Oregon (then ranked No. 10 and now sitting at No. 5 in the AP Poll) has been the high-water mark of Colorado’s recent string of success, although a 32-point victory against anyone is a worthy accomplishment.

“We’ve committed to the defensive end,” senior guard Derrick White said of the win on Sunday. “We talked about it a lot earlier, but we didn’t really commit to it. These last few games, starting with the Oregon game, we’ve committed to the defensive end and it’s the reason why we’re on this run right now.”

On Sunday night, the Buffs had easily their most complete performance of the 2016-17 season. Aside from finishing 51.6 percent from the field, the Buffs haunted the Cougars on defense all night. Washington State finished with 38.6 percent shooting and committed a season-high 24 turnovers. To Colorado’s credit, the Buffs were responsible for 16 of them.

Per the usual, White led the herd with 23 points, three assists and three steals, only to be followed by freshman Bryce Peters (12 points), junior Tory Miller (11) and junior George King (11).

“I would say it’s the older guys,” Peters said of his performance on Sunday night. “They’ve put a lot of trust in me and I respect that, so I would say it’s my job to come out there and show them what I can do with that trust and that respect.”

The Buffs got out on top early and no matter how they fought back, the Cougars couldn’t get any semblance of a lead on their hosts. The Buffs, for their part, terrorized Washington State on defense, forcing 13 turnovers in the first half alone while straight up robbing them on six possessions.

Colorado completed that effort with 50 percent shooting, 15 points of which came from long range. At the half, the Buffs led 37-24 after going up by as much as 16 points on two separate occasions.

Not much changed in the second half as the Buffs opened with a 7-0 run to put on a 20-point lead early into the last half of play.

With eight seconds left, the Buffs extended their lead to 35, 81-46, before bringing home the win at 81-49. At the rate Colorado is going now, they could very well take down Oregon State for the second time on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. in Corvallis. The game will be broadcast on Fox.

“You want to peak here down the stretch,” White said. “We just got to keep improving every day, but we can’t be satisfied with a couple wins here and there.”