Fast start aids Colorado in win over Drake
Colorado did not need late-game heroics this time as it got off to a torrid start on the offensive end and held off Drake 86-81 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Paradise Jam tournament in Lynchburg, Va.
Colorado will face Mercer on Sunday in the championship game. Drake, which upset Wake Forest in the opening round, will meet Drexel in the third-place game.
The Buffaloes (4-0) built a big first-half lead, but didn’t shake the Bulldogs (2-1) until Tory Miller-Smith’s layup gave them an 81-73 lead with 1:15 to go.
The Buffaloes made 14 of their first 19 shots — including 12 of 13 from inside 3-point range — and led 33-19 with 5:25 to go in the first half.
One night after hitting the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Quinnipiac, McKinley Wright IV scored 21 points and dished out nine assists to lead the Buffaloes. Namon Wright added 19 for Colorado.
The Buffaloes shot 56.4 percent from the floor, despite going 4-for-17 from 3-point range.
Reed Timmer scored a game-high 28 points — which included a 16-for-18 performance from the free-throw line — for Drake. De’Antae Murray added 19 points and five steals for the Bulldogs.
The Buffaloes led 39-31 at the break, despite missing their final eight field goal attempts of the first half.
Drake had seven offensive rebounds in the opening 20 minutes to stay in it.
After both teams scored on their opening possessions, the Buffaloes went on a 10-2 run, to open a 12-4 lead.