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Colorado collapses, loses to Oregon State

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The Buffs fall to 1-1 in conference play.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon State at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After a momentous win against Oregon on Thursday, the Colorado Buffaloes lost everything in a second half free-fall against Oregon State. This one hurts.

Things looked promising in the first half. McKinley Wright could not be stopped off the dribble. He continually knifed through the Oregon State defense to find shots for himself and others. Of the Buffs’ first 17 points, he scored 7 and assisted the other 10.

Oregon State hung around because they kept hitting tough shots in the lane. D’Shawn Schwartz locked down do-it-all forward Tres Tinkle, but tertiary scorers Ethan Thompson, Zach Reichle and Kylor Kelley scored 25 of OSU’s 32 first half points. Those players were mostly hitting contested layups and drawing fouls — Colorado only slowed down their scoring once Tyler Bey and Dallas Walton started blocking shots.

Colorado built a 39-32 halftime with Wright taking over, but he wouldn’t have those assists if not for Shane Gatling and Bey getting hot. Gatling has recently emerged as the starting shooting guard — a position of weakness and instability until he stepped up — and scored 11 in the half. Bey had a couple soul-destroying blocks, then dunked on Kelley at the halftime buzzer.

After halftime, Wright and Bey kept up the scoring and built an 11-point CU lead. Wright finished with 14 points and 10 assists, his sixth career points/assist double-double, tying Jay Humphroes for most in CU history. Bey finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Just when it looked like the Buffs would pull away, OSU turned up the pressure with a full-court press and perplexed CU with an aggressive 1-3-1 zone defense. Colorado couldn’t handle it and struggled to pass, handle and shoot the ball. The Buffs committed 8 turnovers and missed 10 of 12 field goals down the stretch.

Tres Tinkle was held scoreless all half, but made a three to bring the score to 66-65, then made a layup to take the 67-66 lead. Colorado tried at the end, but that Beavers defense continued to cause problems and the Buffs finished their collapse. Oregon State ultimately won 76-68 and outscored Colorado 24-5 in the final eight minutes of the game.

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