Wright, Siewert lead Colorado pull away from Portland 93-69
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — McKinley Wright IV was at the center of Colorado’s second-half surge.
Wright scored 22 points and Lucas Siewert had 18, helping Colorado pull away to beat Portland 93-69 on Wednesday night.
Tyler Bey added 12 points for Colorado (4-1), which remained unbeaten in three meetings with Portland (5-4). Siewert led the Buffaloes with 10 rebounds.
Josh McSwiggan had 22 points to lead the Pilots. No other Portland player scored in double figures.
McSwiggan connected on a 3-pointer to even the score at 51-all but the Pilots failed to make additional headway as the Buffaloes responded with a 16-1 run to re-take control of the game. Wright ignited the surge with a 3-pointer and Bey drove the lane for a dunk and reverse layup as Colorado pulled away to a 67-52 lead with 7:50 left.
“I think I’m starting to get back in my groove,” said Wright, who sparked a decisive scoring burst that broke open a close game. “Earlier in the year, I think I was trying to force it and not play the way I normally play. Coach told me, in practice, to trust my teammates and I thought about it and realized that once the players that I have around me, get them going, it creates more for myself.”
Colorado coach Tad Boyle said the Buffaloes’ turnaround was “vintage McKinley. He just says, ‘OK, guys it’s time to get this train moving,’ and the train starts moving.”
Another 3-pointer by McSwiggan wasn’t enough to stop Colorado’s momentum. The Buffaloes went on a 12-0 tear capped by Wright’s layup for a 79-55 lead that quashed any thoughts of a Pilots’ comeback in the closing minutes.
“Our guys did a good job in the first half and they (Colorado) turned it up a notch,” Portland coach Terry Porter said. “We didn’t play with great poise at the offensive end, quick shots, bad shots on the road led to easy opportunities. Just gave them some great momentum. Second half, we got selfish offensively at times, took some bad shots, long jacks and it led to easy opportunities.”
Colorado got a dunk from Bey and four made free throws in the last couple minutes of the first half to take a 39-36 lead at the break.
The Buffaloes had led by as many 12 points in the opening period but the Pilots put together a 20-8 run to get back in the game. McSwiggan scored eight of his points during the run.
Portland: Portland hung in against Colorado for much of the game before wearing down in the second half. The Pilots have been playing short-handed because of a rash of injuries that have sidelined key players, including guard Crisshawn Clark and forward Jacob Tryon.
Colorado: As the Buffaloes’ point guard, Wright struck the right balance between scoring and facilitating the offense by pushing the ball and getting it to the open man. The dual approach was at the center of the Buffaloes second-half surge that allowed them to take control of the game.
Portland: Gets one-week break before taking on intracity rival Portland State.
Colorado: Hosts intrastate rival Colorado State on Saturday.