Evan Battey finished with 18 points off the bench and McKinley Wright IV added 14 points in Colorado’s first road test of the season, a 70-64 loss to San Diego on Tuesday night.
The Buffs (2-1) jumped out to an early lead in the second half after a close game throughout the first twenty minutes. San Diego (4-1) stayed persistent taking a 35-30 lead into halftime, and regained control of the game in the final two minutes.
The Toreros fell behind by three to five points to the Buffs and surged back to tie the game or take a two point lead in the back-and-forth affair. Battey’s jumper with 12:16 left gave CU their biggest lead of the game of eight points at 45-37. Neither team led by more than four points for a majority of the second half.
Wright nailed two free throws to give Colorado a one point lead, 61-60 with 1:53 to go. But San Diego’s Isaiah Pineiro took advantage of a Buffs defensive miscue in the paint for a go-ahead dunk on the next possession, putting the Toreros back up by one. Colorado went 1-of-4 from the field in the last two minutes, along with committing five fouls and two missed free throws from Battey, sealing the victory for San Diego.
“San Diego had a lot to do with that,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said of the Buffaloes losing the eight-point lead. “They’re a quality team with veteran players and they don’t get rattled. They’re not a team that’s going to beat themselves. Really, what it comes down to, when you’re up eight and the lead gets shrunk, you’re not getting stops.”
Pineiro had 27 points to lead all scorers and Olin Carter III chipped in 22 points for the Toreros. San Diego defeated Colorado for a second straight year, winning 69-59 last December in Boulder.
Wright landed in the first couple rows of the Jenny Craig Pavilion as he went after a loose ball late in the game. CU’s star guard got up after being down for a minute or so and appeared to be in pain as he slowly limped to the bench area.
Colorado travels back home for another road matchup with Air Force on Saturday (11/24), before a four-game home stand to open up the month of December.