Colorado used a 28-4 run Wednesday night to break a second half tie and defeat Portland 93-69 at Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colo.
McKinley Wright paced the Buffs (4-1) with an efficient 22 points on just 11 shot attempts, adding seven rebounds. Lucas Siewert chipped in an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double, and Tyler Bey added 12 points.
Shane Gatling tallied 11 and Evan Battey hit for 10 points as Colorado sank 48.4 percent of its field goal attempts and converted 23 of 30 free throws. The Buffs also controlled the boards to the tune of 44-27, ceding just four offensive caroms.
Josh McSwiggan canned five 3-pointers and scored 22 points for the Pilots (5-4) but didn’t get enough help. Portland made only 42.9 percent of its field goal attempts, including 6 of 22 on 3-pointers, and ended 17 possessions with turnovers.
McSwiggan drilled a 3-ball with 13:34 left to pull the Pilots into a 51-51 tie, but that was their last field goal for more than six minutes. By the time McSwiggan converted a 3-pointer for their next field goal, Portland trailed 67-55.
That wasn’t about to derail Colorado, which rattled off 12 more points to end its mega-spurt. Wright capped it with a dunk and layup in transition, giving it an insurmountable 79-55 advantage with 4:51 remaining.
It was a 180-degree turnaround from a competitive first half that saw the Pilots score the game’s first two buckets, fall behind by a dozen points and then rally to take a brief lead before the Buffs rallied to grab the lead at intermission.
Tied at 9 after Portland’s Franklin Butler canned a floater 5:01 into the game, Colorado ripped off a 17-5 run. Wright drilled a 3-pointer off a Battey assist to push the Buffs’ advantage to 26-14 with 9:16 left in the half.
The Pilots spent the next seven-plus minutes wiping out that deficit, grabbing a 34-33 edge when Jojo Walker hit a layup with 1:52 remaining. But Wright sank four free throws, helping Colorado take a 39-36 advantage to halftime.
—Field Level Media