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Buffaloes come back, defeat Washington State behind injured McKinley Wright

Colorado trailed by 18 in the first half

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at Colorado Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It started as a nightmare, but ended up in a 70-59 road win for your Colorado Buffaloes. This team is just so tough that they’re impossible to keep down.

If you described a worst possible scenario for the Buffs, it probably would have been better than the first 10 minutes of this game.

Needing a strong performance to bounce back from the Washington loss, the Buffs looked lethargic from the very start. Nothing was happening offensively, except for turnovers and missed jumpers. The defense looked like it did on Wednesday, but the Cougars shot the ball at a better clip, hitting 9 of 10 from the field (!). And, to top it all off, McKinley Wright hurt his knee on a loose ball.

After all that, the Buffs should be commended for their comeback effort. Down by 18 points, they slowly made their way back into the game by getting stops and working their way into good shots. Credit should go to Evan Battey and D’Shawn Schwartz for stepping up, calming the team with their veteran presence, and scoring the buckets that needed to be scored.

When the second half began, Wright was back on the floor. No one has ever doubted his toughness — not after he played half of 2017/18 with a torn labrum — but that injury looked serious. He certainly wasn’t 100%, but nothing could stop him from helping his team tonight.

With Kin orchestrating the floor and Eli Parquet flying around for blocks, the Buffs locked in on defense, allowing just 9 points in the first 10 minutes of the half. Playing defense like that, all while dominating the glass, gave them the platform to not only cut the deficit, but eventually take the lead on D’Shawn Schwartz’s mid-range jumper.

Once the Buffs had the lead, there was no chance they would relinquish it. Slowly they started pulling away, then all the sudden had an 18-point lead. Much of that was Jabari Walker scoring 6 points in the blink of an eye. The rest was Kin doing Kin things like hitting euro-step floaters, dishing assists and grabbing all the rebounds. (He finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists despite the injury, because of course he did.)

Next up for the Buffs is a home game against these same Cougars (Wednesday, 7:00 p.m., ESPNU). That game should resemble the second half more than the first.