It was a weird, sloppy game in Boulder, but the Colorado Buffaloes (14-10, 6-6 in Pac-12) apparently had the gritty experience to hold off the California Golden Bears (8-17, 2-10) in a 68-64 win.
Cal isn’t exactly what you would call “good at basketball,” but they are huge and like to press. That combination won’t win many games on its own — evidently — but it is extremely annoying to play against, especially for a team like Colorado that struggles to score at the campus rec center. This wasn’t a fun game for anyone involved, except maybe Tad Boyle because there’s a non-zero chance he enjoys tasteful masochism.
The Buffaloes scored 28 points in the first half and it even took a hot streak at the end of the period to get there. It doesn’t matter who scored them or who assisted the baskets. CU had 13 turnovers and 9 made shots, which, you know, isn’t ideal. The only consolation was that Cal also refused to make any shots in the first half, though that’s normal for them.
Things got much more interesting in the second half, but only in the way a kitchen brawl gets more interesting when each fighter grabs a knife. Colorado drew blood first and kept slicing away, 3-pointer by 3-pointer, as Cal weakened with every cut. If you’ve ever seen the knife fight scene in the Korean crime thriller The Man from Nowhere, it was just like that with the Buffs played by Won Bin. Also in this bloody analogy, McKinley Wright is the knife*.
We try to celebrate Kin as much as possible on this blog, but it doesn’t feel like we do it enough. On a night when no one was really doing anything (aside from hitting the occasional three), Wright had to do everything else. He’s always in the right spot and he has next-level anticipation to make plays wherever they’re needed — sometimes that requires him to contest a 7’1 center, sometimes it requires him to grab an offensive rebound out of nowhere and throw a no-look pass to find Tyler Bey for a wide-open dunk. He’s only 6-feet tall, but he was the biggest player on the floor. In this tight victory, he made every critical play and carried the team.
Overall, this wasn’t a great game, but it is nice that they still came away with a win despite playing like a high school JV team. And God bless McKinley Wright; we truly don’t deserve him.
Next up for the Buffs is a home game against Stanford on Sunday afternoon (2 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). Colorado should finish the home sweep, but it will be hard to do if they play like they did tonight.