The Colorado Buffaloes had a chance to keep their positioning atop the Pac-12 standings Saturday afternoon but the UCLA Bruins had other plans in mind. UCLA stunned the CU Event Center with a 70-63 upset over the No. 18 Buffs.
The Buffs started out the game with a small wrinkle in the starting lineup. Instead of having Tyler Bey start at the four per usual, Tad Boyle inserted senior Lucas Siewert to start alongside fellow senior Shane Gatling.
UCLA got off to a strong start as guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell scored four points each, propelling the Bruins to an 8-2 run. The Buffs would storm back as McKinley Wright scored on back-to-back possessions to cut the lead to two.
Colorado struggled shooting from downtown, going just 1-of-8 while the Bruins were a solid 5-of-11 thanks to junior guard Chris Smith. Smith was 3-for-3 from the field (all threes) with nine points and three rebounds to his credit.
The CU Event Center was absolutely rocking following a pull-up three from seven-foot center Dallas Walton, which eventually lifted the team to a 9-0 run. Evan Battey had a ferocious offensive rebound and putback following the Walton three to give Colorado their first lead of the game, 19-17.
The back and fourth game continued when UCLA inserted freshman guard Jake Kyman off the bench. Kyman hit back-to-back three pointers to bring the lead to just one. Wright pushed the Buffs lead to three before the end of the half with a layup.
Buffs led UCLA 29-26 at halftime.
The second half was an absolute nightmare. The Buffs went 10+ minutes without recording a field goal — McKinley was the only one to score a field goal in the last twelve minutes. You’re not going to win many basketball games that way.
The Buffs were once up 50-41 in the second half but the Bruins had other ideas. UCLA went on a 14-0 run led by forward Cody Riley who completely took over the game. Riley added 16 pointss on 8-of-12 shooting, sealing the game after a bad switch by the Buffs resulting in a layup.
Campbell was also a difference maker for the Bruins, recording his first double-double of his young career, tallying 15 points and 11 assists.
McKinley Wright did everything in his power to help the Buffs get back into the game but they fell short. Wright hit a couple of clutch threes late to bring the game within three but it wasn’t enough. The junior finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Evan Battey was the second leading scorer for Colorado, finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Nothing more you can say about that game other than it gives you flashbacks to the Oregon State loss at home on January 5. The Buffs need to forget this loss and move forward. Their last three games of the season are on the road starting next Thursday at California.