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Buffs Knock Off No. 17 Ducks

Jan 7, 2021
McKinley Wright IV had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead CU over Oregon.

WATCH: Highlights | Evan Battey Postgame | McKinley Wright IV Postgame | Tad Boyle Postgame | Stats (PDF) | Notes | Quotes | Boxscore


BOULDER — Colorado's McKinley Wright IV and Evan Battey recorded double-doubles Thursday to lead the Buffaloes to a 79-72 win over No. 17 Oregon at the CU Events Center.

The Buffs improved to 8-3 overall and 2-2 in Pac-12 play while Oregon fell to 8-2, 3-1. The victory also improved Colorado to 10-0 all-time in games in Boulder.

Wright finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for his 12th career double-double while Battey had 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for his sixth career double-double. Jeriah Horne added 17 points and D'Shawn Schwartz had 12 for the Buffs.

While the Buffs did not shoot particularly well — 29-for-63 for the game — they did hit 55% of their shots after intermission (16-for-29, including 5-for-12 from 3-point range). CU also held a commanding 40-28 edge on the boards, including 13 offensive rebounds that produced 16 second-chance points.

Defensively, the Buffs held Oregon to 48% shooting (29-for-63) and Colorado also hit 14 of its 15 free throw tries, including an 8-for-8 afternoon from Battey.

Chris Duarte led Oregon with 27 points.

"It's a quality win over a quality program," head coach Tad Boyle said.  "We rebounded the ball well. We competed … When you don't shoot the ball well and you still can figure out a way to win a game against a quality opponent, that says a lot about your team."

HOW IT HAPPENED: After a first half that featured four lead changes, Colorado took a 33-31 lead into intermission and never trailed again.

CU quickly built a 14-point cushion early in the second half with a 14-2 run. Horne and Wright had 3-pointers in the surge, Eli Parquet added a pair of buckets and Schwartz had a drive to the hoop to give Colorado a 47-33 edge barely three minutes into the half.

Wright started the game missing his first five shots, but was 7-for-9 from that point on. His 3-pointer came after Boyle told him at the half to look for an opening from long range. 

"I forced a couple early instead of letting the game come to me," Wright said. "My teammates kept telling me they were gonna get me the ball so I wasn't too concerned. My teammates kept believing in me."

But almost as quickly as Colorado built its big lead, the Ducks rallied with a 9-0 surge to cut the Buffs' margin to five. With 11:13 to play, Colorado's edge was down to 49-44.

The Buffs, though, never let the Ducks completely close the gap. CU put together a 7-0 run that started with a Schwartz 3-pointer to push the lead back to 12, and another Schwartz trey started a 10-2 surge that included five straight points from Horne to give the Buffs a 13-point lead, 66-53, with 4:23 to go.

"This was a team victory," Boyle said. "You have to have multiple guys making plays."

Wright came up with those plays in the final minutes. He hit a drive to the rim with 3:15 to go to give CU an 11-point lead, 68-57, then answered a 4-0 Oregon burst with a three-point play with 2:26 to play.

Then, when the Ducks made one more run in the final minutes to cut Colorado's lead to four, CU answered with baskets from Parquet and Wright for an eight-point cushion, 77-69, with just 28 seconds remaining.

The victory was Colorado's 20th over a ranked team in the Boyle era.

"It was a big time win for us," said Wright.  "We knew we had to bounce back after a tough loss at UCLA. It was a big time win for us today and we have to keep it rolling."

After a first half that featured four lead changes, the Buffs erased a five-point deficit to produce a 33-31 lead at intermission.

Colorado trailed for much of the last 10 minutes of the half before closing with a 10-5 run in the final 2:26. Wright started the run with a defensive rebound and coast-to-coast layup before Horne hit a second-chance bucket and a 3-pointer. Wright then closed the surge with a three-point play.

While Colorado shot just 38% from the floor in the first half — including 2-for-14 from 3-point range — the Buffs helped themselves with six offensive rebounds that led to 10 second-chance points.

TURNING POINT: After a close first half, the Buffs seized control with a 14-2 run to open the second half. While Oregon managed to cut the gap to five several times and four in the final minutes, the Buffs never let momentum completely slip away.

WHAT IT MEANS: Colorado no doubt improved its resume´ with a win over a ranked team, and managed to stay within striking distance of the Pac-12 leaders as well.

KEY STATISTICS: The Buffs won the rebound battle, 40-28, including 13 offensive rebounds that produced 16 points … CU shot 55 percent from the floor in the second half … The Buffs also had a 26-11 lead in fast break points.

QUOTEWORTHY: "McKinley Wright's been doing what he did for us tonight for four years. He's one of the most consistent players I've ever coached, one of the most dependable players. Even when he doesn't play well, he's going to give you everything he's got. His teammates love him, he loves his teammates. I'm just running out of things to say about the kid. To do what he's doing, he deserves any kind of recognition and accolades he gets. But the one thing I love about McKinley is all he cares about is winning. That's what makes him so special." — CU head coach Tad Boyle

 NEXT UP: A reshuffling of the schedule will now see the Buffs hit the road next Monday for a 4 p.m. game at Utah (Pac-12 Networks) before returning home Thursday for a noone game vs. Cal (Pac-12 Networks), followed by a Jan. 16 home matchup against Stanford at 1 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks).