Lights out

C.J. Colorado

C.J. Colorado -

After getting one of his two steals against Colorado, senior C.J. Wilcox takes the ball into the lane for a dunk to cement the UW’s upset victory over the Buffaloes. Wilcox scored 21 points in the second half against Colorado and finished with 31 points.

Photo by Kyu Han

Four years ago, C.J. Wilcox burst onto the Montlake scene with a 24-point second-half performance in which he shot the lights out of Hec Edmundson Pavilion. He was a skinny redshirt freshman with a sweet jumper leading the Washington men’s basketball team to a comeback win over UCLA.

Sunday, Wilcox was at it again.

The senior from Pleasant Grove, Utah led the Huskies (11-6, 3-1 Pac-12) to a 71-54 upset of No. 15 Colorado on Sunday, getting it done on both ends of the court. Wilcox scored 31 points, 21 of which came in the second half, helped the UW force 20 turnovers, and had four blocks against the Buffaloes in a performance head coach Lorenzo Romar called “sensational.”

Sunday’s victory was the UW’s first win over a ranked opponent since 2011, when the Huskies edged out No. 16 Arizona in overtime in the Pac-10 tournament.

Colorado’s leading scorer, Spencer Dinwiddie, left the game with just under three minutes left in the first half when his knee buckled while he was trying to make a cut in the lane. He had been guarding Wilcox in the first half but did not return in the second, which opened up lanes for the UW senior.

“He’s a good athlete,” Wilcox said of Dinwiddie. “They were trying to key on me and have him not leave me as much as they normally would. He’s an athlete, and it’s hard to score on athletes, so when he went down, we as a team, and me personally, had to take advantage of that.”

The Huskies quickly erased their three-point halftime deficit after the break as Wilcox and sophomore Andrew Andrews hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the half. Andrews had missed his first five shots of the game, including two from 3-point range, but finished wih 14 points. Wilcox scored 18 of the UW’s first 21 points in the second half, 15 of those points coming from beyond the arc. He finished 7-of-12 from the 3-point range, hitting his career-high seventh 3-pointer at the 6:42 mark of the second half to give the Huskies an 18-point lead.

The UW made 10 of its first 12 shots of the second half, including a stretch of eight straight buckets that built a 53-39 lead for the Huskies. After their shooting hot start, the Huskies kept their lead by forcing Colorado into turnovers and tough shots. With Dinwiddie out, the Buffaloes had few other options, as its second-leading scorer, Askia Booker, ended the game scoreless on 0-of-9 shooting with three turnovers.

“You have one of their best players, if not the best player out, so that’s one less point of emphasis that we have to worry about on the defensive end,” Andrews said of Dinwiddie’s injury. “It let us focus more on [Josh] Scott and Askia, which helped us defend them.”

While the Huskies were scrappy on defense in the first half and forced the Buffaloes into tough shots, they got beat on the boards, getting outrebounded 25-16. The UW’s defense kept the game close in the first half as it struggled on offense for most of the period.

But when they needed it, the Huskies got offense from the most expected of sources and a resume-building win that could come in handy when the calendar turns to March.

Reach Sports Editor Thuc Nhi Nguyen at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @thucnhi21

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