EditorsNote: Added Johnson’s blocked shots in 3rd graf
Tyler Bey had 16 points, seven rebounds and six steals, and McKinley Wright IV added 16 points as No. 23 Colorado beat UC Irvine 69-53 on Monday night in Boulder, Colo.
The Buffaloes (3-0) knocked down 9 of 19 3-point attempts and forced the Anteaters into 22 turnovers. UC Irvine, expected to contend for the Big West Conference title this season after making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, went the last three minutes of the game without a point.
Collin Welp led the Anteaters (3-2) with 12 points, and Tommy Rutherford added 10. UC Irvine freshman Austin Johnson had a game-high nine rebounds and four blocked shots.
There were eight lead changes in the first half until the Buffaloes went on a 14-2 run to take a 38-25 lead. Bey dunked and had a layup as part of the run, and Colorado took a 40-30 lead into halftime.
The Anteaters led by as many as four in the first half, 16-12 after a Jeron Artest 3-pointer with 11:51 to play. It would be their largest lead of the game.
Colorado made 6 of 10 3-point tries in the first half.
“I just came out and tried to be aggressive from the start,” Wright, who added five assists, said after the game. “I’ll do whatever it takes to win the basketball game.”
The Buffaloes went ahead 51-38 early in the second half on a Shane Gatling trey. But the Anteaters battled back again to cut the deficit to six on back-to-back baskets by Eyassu Worku.
Colorado pulled away late in the second half, with Bey dunking twice more. The Buffaloes had six dunks for the game.
—Field Level Media