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KJ Simpson the hero as Colorado beats Washington State

Jan 22, 2023; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Washington State Cougars guard Justin Powell (24) blocks the advance of Colorado Buffaloes guard KJ Simpson (2) in the first half at the CU Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

KJ Simpson had 16 points and made the go-ahead 3-pointer in the closing seconds as Colorado beat Washington State 58-55 on Sunday in Boulder, Colo.

Tristan da Silva scored 27 for the Buffaloes (12-9, 4-6 Pac-12), who improved to 12-0 at home against the Cougars all-time.

TJ Bamba scored 18 points and Andrej Jakimovski added 12 for Washington State (9-12, 4-6).

Bamba scored with 40 seconds left to put the Cougars back in front after they had trailed by four with 3:30 to play. Simpson made two free throws with 35.6 seconds left and Bamba split a pair with 25 seconds left to tie it.

Simpson made Colorado’s second 3-pointer of the day from the top of the circle and Bamba missed at the buzzer.

The Cougars took advantage of early Colorado turnovers to grab a 10-point lead with 5:58 left in the first half, but the Buffaloes rallied.

Simpson’s layup got it started and da Silva had a three-point play and two more buckets during a 13-0 run that gave Colorado the lead. Jakimovski hit a jumper to end Washington State’s drought, and it had a chance to take the lead at intermission but two poor possessions let the Buffaloes grab a 26-25 advantage at halftime.

The Cougars took a 34-30 lead early in the second half but went cold. Washington State missed seven straight shots and turned it over twice during a scoreless stretch of 5:13.

DJ Rodman’s 3-pointer started a 6-0 run that put the Cougars back in front 40-39, and the game was tied at 43 with 8:01 left.

While Washington State went quiet again, J’Vonne Hadley, da Silva and Jalen Gabbidon combined for four free throws to put Colorado back in front 47-43 with 4:57 left.

Rodman made two foul shots to cut the Buffaloes’ lead to 47-45 but Simpson’s driving dunk made it a four-point game again. The teams traded layups and Washington State called a timeout trailing 51-47 with 3:23 left.

Jakimovski hit a 3-pointer, Hadley made a hook shot for Colorado and Bamba made a jumper to trim it to 53-52 with 1:43 left.

–Field Level Media