Colorado came into this game knowing that if they could handle New Mexico’s high press, they would easily run away with the game. The first half showed that the Buffs could outplay the Lobos in virtually every aspect of the game, but it wouldn’t matter if they struggled with turnovers. The CU outshot UNM 44% to 35% and outrebounded them 26 to 18, but the Buffs were plagued with 12 giveaways. You would think that against a press, those turnovers would be forced, but almost all were the result of mental errors on plays like aired passes and offensive fouls. The Buffs went into halftime with a 35-33 lead, but it should have been a double-digit lead at the very least.
Colorado didn’t solve their turnover issues in the second half — somehow it got worse, if you can believe it — but they managed to make up for it with excellent play everywhere else. The Buffs had 16 possessions fewer than their opponent, but they made the most for it with sublime shooting and inspired defense. On the offensive, freshman hero McKinley Wright was the engine of a well-balanced attack and Dom Collier led the bench with 16 points. On the defensive, redshirt freshman Dallas Walton showed off his potential by manning the middle with his teammates flying around the perimeter. The Buffs started to pull away when Deleon Brown found Lazar Nikolic for a highlight-reel alley-oop that motivated the crowd and the team. It also helped New Mexico shot 30% from the field and 38% on free throws (!). The team ballooned to the final score of 75-57.
Next up for the Buffs is an away game at Xavier on Saturday, Dec. 9, which tip-offs on FS1 at 2 p.m. The Buffs will need to play perfect basketball for the upset bid, so hopefully they will have learned a lesson from tonight.