Derrick White and the Colorado Buffaloes overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to beat the Washington State Cougars 73-63 in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday night in Las Vegas.
The Cougars jumped out to an early advantage, leading by as many as 19 with seven minutes to go in the first half. The Buffaloes didn’t have an answer for Conor Clifford, who scored 10 points in the first half.
Ike Iroegbu was everywhere, scoring 10 to go along with three first half assists. And other than White (who had nine first half points), no one for Colorado was scoring.
The second half, though, was a completely different game. White came up huge, finishing with 26 points and nearly outscoring Washington State in the second half. Xavier Johnson stepped up, too, overcoming a slow first half to finish with 19 points.
On the other side of the ball, the game became very difficult for Washington State. Josh Hawkinson only shot the ball three times in the second half. Malachi Flynn came up empty, missing his only two shots of the second half and finishing the game with zero points. And on the boards, the Buffaloes dominated the Cougars with a 23-14 rebounding advantage.
With this win, Colorado advances to the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament to face the Arizona Wildcats.
This is a familiar sight as the Wildcats and Buffaloes have faced each other in the Pac-12 Tournament three of the past four years, with Arizona winning all three games.
Colorado only played Arizona once this season, though, with White turning in his lowest offensive rating of the season in a 82-73 loss in McKale Center.
The Wildcats will need to stop White — or at least slow him down — to get past the Buffaloes on Thursday.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. MST and the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.