The Colorado Buffaloes were one bounce from a disastrous loss to Quinnipiac, but McKinley Wright saved the day and drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to get the win, 70-69.
The near disaster started with Colorado doing everything they could to not run away with the game. Despite holding Quinnipiac to 24% shooting in the first half, the Buffs continually shot themselves in the foot with turnovers and poor shooting. They played offense like they had never seen a zone defense before and they couldn’t create or convert an open shot to save their life. The only salvage was freshman McKinley Wright, of course, as he had 14 points on just 7 shots in the first half. The Buffs couldn’t do anything in the half-court offense, so he bypassed that and kept zipping past the defense and making acrobatic transition layups. If the Buffs had anyone playing well besides just him, they would’ve busted open the game early, but they had to settle for a 32-29 halftime lead.
Colorado was far and away the better team in the first half, but they were badly outplayed in the first 16 minutes of the second half. Quinnipiac’s shots started falling and CU’s defense couldn’t rotate quickly enough to keep up with their motion offense. The Buffs’ offense somehow got significantly worse and Wright wasn’t there to bail them out with quick layups. At one point, the Buffs were shooting 5-20 from the field in the second half and 1-16 from three overall. The Buffs’ meager 3-point lead turned into a tie, then a small Quinnipiac lead, then ballooned to a 13-point deficit. With 1:33 to play, Colorado was down by 12 points and had just a 1.2% chance of winning. Then magic happened.
Colorado finally got it together and dominated their opposition in the final minutes. The Buffs went on a late run as Lucas Siewert and McKinley Wright broke the three-point drought in the last minute, Namon Wright had a fast break dunk and later a tip-in, and George King made some shots. Colorado scored frenetically, but they were only in position to win because Quinnipiac couldn’t make a free throw. With 7 seconds left, Quinnipiac was up 69-67 and sent Chase Daniels to the line, but he missed both free throws. McKinley Wright got the rebound, sprinted down the court and pulled up for a contested, buzzer-beating three-pointer that hit the back of the rim and bounced in for the Colorado victory.
The Buffaloes turned a disastrous loss into a memorable win, all thanks to the heroics of McKinley Wright.
Next up for the Buffs is the winner of Wake Forest and Drexel. That game will be Saturday at 6:30 p.m., streamable on FloHoops.com (with a subscription) or you can listen on the radio at 760 AM KDSP.