SEATTLE (AP) — Matisse Thybulle had 17 points, six steals and five blocked shots, Jaylen Nowell added 12 points, and Washington claimed a share of the Pac-12 regular season title with a 64-55 win over Colorado on Saturday night.
The Huskies (22-5, 13-1 Pac-12) won for the 15th time in 16 games and claimed a share of the league title with four regular season games remaining. It’s the first time Washington has claimed a piece of the conference crown since the 2011-12 season and the Huskies need just one win in their final four games to earn the league title outright.
The turnaround orchestrated in just two seasons under Mike Hopkins has Washington back on top of the conference and seemingly headed to its first NCAA tournament berth since 2011 no matter what happens the rest of the conference season or in Las Vegas at the Pac-12 tournament.
Thybulle was once again the instigator of Washington’s defense that has held every conference opponent except Arizona State to 70 points or less. The Huskies forced 19 turnovers and Thybulle moved into second place on the conference’s all-time steals list, trailing only Gary Payton. Thybulle has 301 career steals.
David Crisp added 10 points and Washington improved to 14-0 at home this season.
Tyler Bey led Colorado (16-11, 7-8) with 20 points, but D’Shawn Schwartz was the only other Buffaloes player in double figures with 10 points. Bey also added 11 rebounds. Leading scorer McKinley Wright IV was held to four points and attempted just five shots.
Washington led by 18 midway through the second half. The Huskies started the second half on a 16-6 spurt and Nowell’s tipin with 9:59 left gave Washington a 59-41 lead. But Colorado had one final run, pulling within 59-50 on Bey’s basket underneath with 7:09 left.
Thybulle scored in the lane for Washington and after several minutes of empty possessions Thybulle added a free throw with 3:25 left for a 62-50 lead. That proved to be enough as Colorado went more than 5 1/2 minutes without scoring, committing four turnovers during the stretch.
Colorado: The Buffaloes finished the road portion of their conference schedule 3-6 but still have a chance at a bye in the conference tournament with the final three conference games at home.
Washington: The Huskies will wrap up the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament with one more win or losses by Oregon State and Arizona State. ... Washington played without starting forward Hameir Wright, who returned to the East Coast to deal with a personal matter. Dominic Green started in Wright’s place.
Colorado: The Buffaloes return home and host Utah next Saturday.
Washington: The Huskies begin their final road trip of the regular season at California on Thursday.
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