Wright scores 17 as Colorado beats Cal 68-64
BOULDER, Colo. — Tad Boyle was frustrated, upset and angry with the way his team played against California.
“I’m disgusted with our performance,” the Colorado coach said.
And that was after his team won.
The Buffaloes came out flat in a late-starting home game but got a boost from McKinley Wright IV down the stretch. Wright scored eight of his 17 points in the final two minutes to help Colorado beat California 68-64 on Wednesday night.
The Buffaloes (14-10, 6-6 Pac-12) beat the Bears for the 12th time in the last 14 games in Boulder, but it wasn’t pretty. Colorado had 19 turnovers and allowed the Bears to grab 18 offensive rebounds.
“I can’t remember a time in my coaching career when I’ve been this disappointed after a win,” Boyle said. “We dodged a bullet.”
Marcus Lee had 10 points and 12 rebounds and Kingsley Okoroh and Justice Sueing scored 12 points each for Cal (8-17, 2-10), which was attempting to win consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 16.
The Bears nearly pulled out the rare win in Colorado but came up short.
“Defensive-wise we played really well in the first half, and they came out with the three 3s and that made it really rough,” Lee said. “We kept chopping at it.”
Boyle said the Buffaloes wouldn’t have pulled out the win without Wright, but the freshman point guard took the blame for the team’s lackadaisical performance.
“Guys feed off my energy,” he said. “My energy was terrible tonight.”
Colorado used a 10-0 run early in the second half to go ahead 38-31. The Bears hung around and made it a one-point game on Okoroh’s soft hook with 4:45 left.
The Buffaloes turned it over on their next possession but Don Coleman missed a layup that would have given Cal a lead with 3:58 left. Wright hit a layup as he fell out of bounds to extend Colorado’s lead to three and he reached double figures on his bucket with 1:50 left for a five-point lead.
“We had a couple of opportunities at the free-throw line to close the gap but we couldn’t capitalize,” Cal coach Wyking Jones said.
The Bears hit three of their five 3-pointers in the final 40 seconds but Wright made six free throws down the stretch to seal it. He was 11 of 14 from the line.
“I was happy to see that and we made it interesting in the end, but they made their free throws and closed it out,” Jones said.
Cal: Coleman, the team’s leading scorer coming in at 16.4 points a game, had just two points at halftime and finished with eight. … The Bears’ last win in Boulder was a 68-61 victory on Feb. 12, 2015. … Lee has seven double-doubles this season.
Colorado: Senior George King picked up two quick fouls and only played eight minutes in the first half. … Namon Wright missed his second straight game due to illness. … Colorado had 13 turnovers at halftime and six in the second half. The team’s season high in turnovers is 23.
Cal: At Utah on Saturday night.
Colorado: Hosts Stanford on Sunday.