SEATTLE — The next step for the young Washington Huskies is to figure out how to make the final minutes less dramatic.
At least for coach Lorenzo Romar, the Huskies are finding ways to still pull out victories even if it's meant blowing a late lead in the process.
"Now we have to get to a point where if we're able to get a lead to sustain it and increase the lead instead of giving it up," Romar said. "That's another part of progress that we have to be able to do."
Andrew Andrews scored 25 of his 33 points in the second half, Marquese Chriss added 17 points, and Washington stayed on top of the Pac-12 Conference standings with a 95-83 win over Colorado on Wednesday night.
The Huskies (13-5, 5-1) used a big first half run to take control and built a large enough lead early in the second half to hold off Colorado's furious late charge. Washington led by 14 at halftime and pushed it to 22 early in the second half as Andrews, the Pac-12 leader in scoring, got going. Colorado cut the lead to 10 with less than 4 minutes remaining and pulled within 87-80 on George King's basket with 1:32 left, but that was as close at the Buffaloes would get.
"We kind of took our foot off the pedal there, let them hit some 3s, get a couple of offensive rebounds ... once again this is all just pieces to the puzzle we've got to keep adding to," Andrews said. "We came out, gave great effort and glad we came out with the win."
Dejounte Murray also scored 17 points for Washington and Malik Dime had 10 points, six rebounds and seven blocked shots off the bench as the Huskies moved a half-game ahead of USC for the top spot in the conference. Washington has already matched the amount of conference wins it had last season.
Dominique Collier led Colorado (14-5, 3-3) with a career-high 21 points and Josh Scott added 18 points after being held to three points in the first half. King also scored 18 for the Buffaloes, who had won three of four.
"They whipped us," Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. "They deserved to win this game. They out played us. Really disappointing but I credit Washington."
Washington used an 18-5 spurt midway through the first half to take the lead and pushed the advantage to as many as 15 late in the half. It was an energetic first half from the Huskies that featured three lob dunks and 60-percent shooting. The 47 first-half points by Washington matched its total for the entire game last season when the Huskies lost at home to Colorado.
Washington extended its lead early in the second half after Andrews scored seven of 10 points during a 10-0 run that pushed the Huskies lead to 64-42 with 14:13 remaining. The Huskies lead was still 20 when Colorado's first charge started. With Andrews getting a rest, Colorado scored eight straight to pull to 81-69 with 6:35 left on Josh Fortune's 3-pointer and was trimmed to 83-73 on Tory Miller's free throw with 3:58 left.
Washington appeared to take a 14-point lead on Chriss' dunk with 2:27 left but it was waved off for being after the shot clock had expired. Colorado scored five straight to get within seven, but Andrews made eight free throws in the final 90 seconds as the Huskies held on.
Scott was the Pac-12 player of the week last week, but started slowly against the Huskies. Scott picked up two early fouls, sending him to the bench. He played just 12 minutes in the first half, but woke up early in the second scoring 13 of Colorado's first 15 points.
Colorado: Collier's previous career-high was 14 points against Oregon last season. ... Fortune came off the bench for the sixth time this season. Fortune had started four of five games in conference play.
Washington: The Huskies set a new school record with 15 blocked shots. ... Devenir Duruisseau missed his third straight game due to a concussion.
Colorado: The Buffaloes travel to Washington State on Saturday.
Washington: The Huskies host Utah on Sunday night.