Sometimes all you need is a 29-point blowout to feel good inside. After Colorado’s difficult win at Utah on Monday, it was nice to have everyone playing lights out on both ends of the court in this 89-60 win over Cal.
McKinley Wright began this game tied with Jay Humphries atop Colorado’s all-time assist leaderboard. It took him all of two minutes to get the record-breaking assist, then spent the rest of the game trying to make the record unbreakable. He took just one shot in the opening 20 minutes, opting instead to create open shots for his teammates.
The most common recipient of those assists was Jabari Walker. The freshman forward was electric off the bench, pouring in 17 points on just 8 shots. He was a perfect 3/3 on three-pointers and scored the rest of his points in the paint. More importantly, he energized the Buffs. They were scuffling before his entry, but went on a commanding 21-2 run beginning with his first made three-pointer.
The Buffs wasted no time running Cal out of the gym in the second half. With star guard Matt Bradley out with an injury, the Bears had no real shot of keeping up with CU. Especially not with CU playing intense, dive-after-loose-balls, contest-every-shot defense. That’s really the beauty of this team, they’re so solid defensively that a hot shooting night can quickly turn into a blowout.
The other beautiful thing about this team is that everyone in the main rotation is a solid or excellent two-way player. There’s no weaknesses on either side of the floor, and with the exception of defensive specialist Eli Parquet (whom I love dearly), anyone can get hot and carry the offense for stretches.
Tonight, everyone was hot. Wright had a career-high 12 assists with his usual 13 points. Walker had a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. D’Shawn Schwartz has been fantastic lately and picked up 18 points of his own. Even Maddox Daniels, who I have been critical of in the past, has turned into a dependable 3-and-D wing capable of scoring 12 points on just 4 shots.
Colorado isn’t going to shot 60% from three every game, but if they can continue this even slightly, Stanford shouldn’t be a problem on Saturday (1:00 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). Stanford has a top-10 defense, per KenPom.com, but they allow a ton of threes and dare opponents to beat them from deep.