Colorado is a win away from its best conference start since joining the Pac-12, but coach Tad Boyle's words aren't mirroring his team's record.
The 15th-ranked Buffaloes will try for a more pleasing performance Sunday at Washington as they go for their first 4-0 start in three seasons since leaving the Big 12.
"As a coach I have to take responsibility, and I will," Boyle said after Wednesday's 71-70 overtime win at Washington State. "We're going to watch film, we're going to practice, that's all I know as a coach, that's the only thing I can do as a coach is take what happened on the floor and try to correct the things we need to get better at, and tonight there was a plethora of things to get better at. We have three days of practice and we're going to get after it."
Colorado (14-2, 3-0 Pac-12) last started 4-0 in conference play in 1996-97 when it opened its Big 12 schedule with six straight wins. It last started 15-2 in 1939-40 when it won 17 of its first 19 and reached the Final Four.
Boyle thinks his team's record and ranking already has opponents' full attention.
"We've got a target on our back now," Boyle said. "Our guys proved we are not ready to handle that yet."
Forward Josh Scott scored a team-high 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds against the Cougars while Askia Booker scored 18 despite going 2 of 12 from the field. Booker is averaging 19.2 points in his last five.
Scott stepped up with eight of his points in overtime while Colorado leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie was held to a season-low six points.
The Buffaloes have won four straight despite yielding a 49.3 percent 3-point mark to opponents in that time. Washington State hit 13 of 23 from beyond the arc.
"I think our team had a little realization that even though we're the No. 15 team in the country, people are going to make tough shots (against us), and we were lucky to pull this one out," Scott said. "A win is a win, that's the bottom line. Now we have practice tomorrow and we just have to get back in the shop and get better because we can't play like this our next game otherwise we're going to be in trouble."
Washington (10-6, 2-1 Pac-12) has won four of five, and its only conference loss was a 71-62 defeat at No. 1 Arizona on Jan. 4. It was, however, the school's 12th straight loss against ranked foes.
The Huskies responded with a 59-57 home win over Utah on Wednesday. Guard Andrew Andrews scored 12 of his team-high 19 points in the final nine minutes while leading scorer and fellow guard C.J. Wilcox added 14.
Along with freshman Nigel Williams-Goss (12.4 points per game), Andrews (13.1) and Wilcox (19.8) will be tasked with matching the Buffaloes' backcourt of Dinwiddie and Booker that Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar sees as the centerpiece of a well-rounded team.
"They don't have a lot of holes," Romar said. "They have good size. They have a really, really dynamic pair of guards out there on the floor. They can really score the ball. They are potent offensively, but they are very sound defensively. They're a well-coached team with talent, and that's a tough challenge."
Since becoming conference opponents, the Buffaloes and Huskies have split two contests. The Huskies won 64-54 on Jan. 16, 2013, in Washington.
Wilcox led all scorers with 25 while Dinwiddie paced Colorado with 15.