McKinley Wright scored 21 points, including 11 down the stretch to cement the game, and Tyler Bey added 15 points and took 15 rebounds as the Colorado Buffaloes outlasted Illinois-Chicago 84-72 on Saturday in Boulder, Colo., to win its fifth straight game.
Colorado led by just 73-67 after the Flames’ Tarkus Ferguson hit a 3-pointer with 3:52 to play. But Wright took charge late, hitting a pair of jumpers and six free throws over the final 2:20 to allow the Buffaloes some breathing room down the stretch.
D’Shawn Schwartz and Shane Gatling added 12 points each for Colorado (7-1), which shot 33 free throws (making 25).
Marcus Ottey led all scorers with 22 points for Illinois-Chicago, while Jordan Blount had 20 points for the Flames (4-6) and Godwin Boahen added 15 points. UIC only went 6-for-10 from the free throw line.
Colorado led 34-29 at the half despite being outshot 59-40 percent and making just 2 of 9 shots from beyond the arc. The Buffaloes never trailed in the half and were up by as many as nine points over the first 20 minutes, with the advantage built by an 8-2 edge in made shots from the free-throw line and by forcing 14 turnovers by Illinois-Chicago in the half.
Ottey paced the Flames with 11 points in the half while Colorado was led by Wright’s 9 points and 7 points each by Schwartz and Bey.
The Buffaloes expanded their lead to as many as 11 twice in the second half before Illinois-Chicago fought back within 62-56 on a layup by Blount with 8:37 to play.
Colorado returns to the floor on Tuesday when it travels to New Mexico while Illinois-Chicago heads across the Windy City to battle DePaul on Friday.
—Field Level Media