In the final home game of McKinley Wright’s college career, he scored 24 points to lead the Colorado Buffaloes (20-7) past the Arizona State Sun Devils (10-12).
The opening ten minutes of this contest were nothing short of horrendous. These teams simply could not hold onto the ball. CU folded under Arizona State’s pressure and kept throwing the ball out of bounds; ASU, meanwhile, couldn’t keep themselves from committing offensive fouls.
This game began to resemble basketball after Tad Boyle took a timeout to scream at each and every player in a white uniform, including the walk-ons. The Buffs moved the ball with efficacy and found some open shots, during which Keeshawn Barthelemy stood out with excellent play. The Sun Devils, meanwhile, relied almost exclusively on pull-up jumpers — never a reliable weapon, but it works when Holland Woods is hitting garbage shots.
Jeriah Horne and Jabari Walker eventually woke up, pouring in 14 points combined later in the half. Horne’s shooting opening things up against an aggressive defense. Walker’s three-pointer gave the Buffs their first lead of the game at 27-26, before his second chance layup closed the half with a 31-30 lead.
Once the second half began, this game became the McKinley Wright Show. The senior doesn’t hesitate putting the team on his back when they need a win. He had absolutely no trouble scoring the ball. None of ASU’s three 6’0 guards could contain him off the dribble, and once he was past them he was finishing all his floaters and contested layups. He had 17 points in the half and CU needed all of them to gain separation.
The Buffs took control of the second half by dominating the paint on both ends of the floor. Defensively, they forced Arizona State and their tired into jump shots, then sealed the glass effectively. On offense, they let Kin do Kin things, crashed the boards hard, and ended up with 9 offensive rebounds and 24 points in the paint in the final 20 minutes.
This was an ugly game, no doubt, as these teams combined for 31 team fouls and 23 turnovers (and that was with a clean final 10 minutes). Colorado did eventually settle and they outworked Arizona State for the 75-61 win. McKinley Wright remains the best player in the Pac-12, cramps and all.
The Buffs are now 20-7 on the season, not only securing another 20-win season for Tad Boyle, but they will finish 3rd in the Pac-12 and have locked up an NCAA Tournament berth.