In an ugly game that featured more nasty falls than made three-pointers, the Colorado Buffaloes left everything on the floor and earned a crucial home win over the Arizona Sun Devils.
This game was always going to be a rock fight. Both teams play with an “I’m gonna fight you for this rebound or die trying” attitude to the game. Early on, though, CU struggled to hold their own inside, not with the screaming bezerker Romello White and his goons patrolling the paint. As hard as CU was fighting, they couldn’t deal with ASU’s size. And with no one hitting any shots aside from McKinley Wright and Tyler Bey, the early prognosis wasn’t good.
Things changed when Evan Battey asserted himself as the thickest gravy on the table. He big-assed his way to second chance points and even attempted to bring some yam to the table (though he only jumped about 5 inches on his fast break dunk try). Unfortunately, Battey’s viscosity can only withstand so much, as he had to leave the game just minutes after, likely aggravating back spams, per Jake Shapiro.
After tying the game at 32 at halftime, it looked like CU might fold without Battey’s presence. But Tad Boyle called on Bey and Wright to save the team from Wednesday night damnation. The two of them were everywhere and everything for Colorado. Kin was breaking down the defense and scoring contested layups, as well as being the heart and soul in this heated battle. Bey, meanwhile, was doing Tyler Bey things, like getting rebounds, hitting mid-range jumpers, and whatever the hell this is:
While Bey and Wright were showcasing why they will join George King and Derrick White courtside as NBA alumni, the rest of the team stepped up with them. The Buffs controlled the second half with their grinding defense allowed only a handful of uncontested shots. They clamped down and held ASU to just 33% shooting in the second half, and with Bey grabbing an unholy 18 rebounds, that was enough to hold down the Devils.
After wrestling for the lead, the dagger finally came on Wright’s clutch, contested three-pointer that hit net as the shot clock expired. That shot gave CU 66-58 lead with 2 minutes left. Because their defense was locked in, all they had to do was make their free throws to seal it. Oh, and in a carbon copy of the final play of CU’s Pac-12 Tournament win over ASU last year, Bey did this, just without a fight nearly breaking our or a Tad Boyle tearing his calf muscle.
Colorado fought for this. It’s a testament to their willpower that they came away with the win. If they continue showing this much heart, they’re going to be a scary team down the stretch.
Next up for CU is a home game against Arizona on Sunday night (6:00 p.m., ESPNU).