Derrick White scored 23 points and the Colorado Buffaloes capitalized on the return of suspended seniors Wesley Gordon and Xavier Johnson to wallop Washington State 81-49.
BOULDER, Colo. – Derrick White scored 23 points and the Colorado Buffaloes capitalized on the return of suspended seniors Wesley Gordon and Xavier Johnson to wallop Washington State 81-49 on Sunday night.
The Buffaloes (15-11 overall, 5-8 Pac-12) had a season-best 12 steals. They scored 34 points off Washington State’s 24 turnovers — the most the Cougars have made since they had 25 in a December 2009 game against Kansas State.
The Cougars (11-14, 4-9) were seeking their first series sweep in five years. WSU beat the Buffaloes 91-89 in overtime last month, but the Cougars’ poor ballhandling quickly drained any drama from this rematch.
“Defensively, they were at another level,” WSU coach Ernie Kent said of Colorado. “This wasn’t the same team we saw in Pullman. You keep looking at their defensive numbers coming down, down, down. Now I know why. They are a very physical team. If they play that way, they are going to cause a lot of problems.”
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Colorado coach Tad Boyle called it “as good of an all-around performance as we’ve had all year.”
The Cougars shot 38.6 percent and allowed Colorado to shoot 51.6 percent. The Buffaloes had a 37-24 rebounding edge.
Robert Franks led WSU with 10 points. Josh Hawkinson, who scored 18 points against Colorado last month, finished with eight points and nine rebounds.
Colorado took control with a 17-4 run late in the first half in which seven players scored and led by as many as 35 points in the second half.
Gordon (seven points) and Johnson (four) had missed Colorado’s previous two games for violating unspecified team rules.
Ball leads UCLA
LOS ANGELES – With freshman guard Lonzo Ball taking over at both ends of the court, No. 10 UCLA forced a second-half change in tempo that made everything fall into place.
Ball had 22 points and nine assists as the Bruins ran away from Oregon State in the second half in a 78-60 victory.
“I’m just taking what the game gives me,” said Ball, who found himself on the finishing end of several alley-oop passes. “At the beginning of the season, people were playing me to drive and pass. Today, I was just open a lot.”
After scoring a season-low 32 points in the first half, the nation’s top-scoring team took control with a full-court press in the second half.
“Any time we’re being aggressive on defense, that’s when we’re playing our best,” UCLA guard Bryce Alford said.
After a loss to USC in January, the Bruins held a players-only meeting that has led to more intensity on the defensive end.
Ball made 9 of 12 shots as the Bruins (23-3, 10-3 Pac-12) shot 52 percent while winning their fourth straight.
“He’s impossible to guard,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said of Ball.
Stephen Thompson Jr. scored 18 points and Drew Eubanks added 13 points and seven rebounds for Oregon State (4-22, 0-13), which has lost 18 of its last 19.
• By beating No. 7 Wisconsin 66-59, visiting Northwestern secured an important victory for the school’s quest to play in the NCAA tournament for the first time and tightened the Big Ten Conference race.
Bryant McIntosh scored 25 points for the Wildcats (19-6, 8-4), who confounded the Big Ten-leading Badgers (21-4, 10-2) in part by doubling dominant big man Ethan Happ.
Wisconsin has a one-game lead over Maryland and Purdue.