Colorado’s Namon Wright 25 points in the Buffs’ win over Drake.
Colorado's Namon Wright 25 points in the Buffs' win over Drake. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

 

Fast break

What went right: After a somewhat cold start the Buffaloes shot the ball well, finishing .589 overall (33-for-56) with a 10-for-22 mark on 3-pointers.

What went wrong: Very little. Drake was hot early from 3-point range, starting the game 7-for-17, but the Buffs harassed the Bulldogs into a 4-for-20 mark the rest of the way.

Star of the game: Namon Wright. The Buffs' only senior scored 25 points, the best of his CU career, while going 8-for-12 with eight rebounds.

What's next: The Buffs host Omaha on Friday night at 7 p.m. (Pac-12 Mountain).

Among 353 Division I basketball programs in the nation, the Colorado men's basketball squad was the last one to finally make its season debut.

After a slow start, the Buffaloes ultimately made it worth the wait.

The Buffs were able to turn around early shortcomings at the 3-point line at both ends of the floor before blitzing Drake with a game-breaking run just before halftime, eventually cruising to a 100-71 win Tuesday night at the CU Events Center.

It was the first time the Buffs have scored 100 points in a non-overtime game since a 100-91 win against Oregon on Jan. 5, 2014. It was the first 100-point game in a season-opener since 1990.


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CU made just one of its first five 3-point attempts while Drake kept the game close by starting 7-for-17 from long range. Yet the Buffs were able to go 9-for-17 the rest of the way while holding the Bulldogs to a 4-for-20 mark.

"It was a reiteration of the game plan. We knew going in that Drake shot a lot of threes and that they had good shooters," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "We had to make sure we got them off the 3-point line. Certainly midway through the first half they had seven threes. We want to hold a team to six in a game, so we didn't do a good job there.

Colorado’s Lucas Siewert, left, dunks while being defended by Drake’s Liam Robbins on Tuesday at the CU Events Center.
Colorado's Lucas Siewert, left, dunks while being defended by Drake's Liam Robbins on Tuesday at the CU Events Center. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

"We did a much better job in the second half. I thought overall we started contesting shots better in the second half. You can't let a good 3-point shooting team get rhythm and get hot."

Drake took 32-30 lead with about four minutes left in the first half before the Buffs quickly and assertively took control. CU closed the first half with a 15-2 run, with senior Namon Wright scoring seven of his game-best 25 points during the burst.

CU kept the pedal down after halftime, with Wright adding another five points in a 7-0 run after the break. Those points gave the Buffs an 18-point lead after they had trailed by two less than six minutes earlier.

Wright's 25 points represented his best scoring total at CU, though he scored 28 once before transferring from Missouri. Wright started 13 games a year ago but came off the bench on Tuesday, a role Boyle indicated he currently prefers for his team's only senior.

"I just want to help my team however I can and make sure our team is flowing the best way it should," said Wright, who added eight rebounds. "However way our coaches see that is probably good. The group I'm with usually are younger guys. I'm the oldest guy on the team, so I'm sure it's a good balance. I've just got to have the right focus mentally. Starting, off the bench, it doesn't really matter to me as long as we win."

CU outrebounded Drake 44-29 and attempted 37 free throws — more than the Buffs attempted in any of their 32 games last season.

Sophomore point guard McKinley Wright also enjoyed a solid all-around night, going 6-for-9 with 17 points and six assists. Forward Tyler Bey just missed posting a double-double with nine points and a career-best 14 rebounds.

"It was 18 minutes to go and they called timeout. We were up 18 and I wanted to keep the foot on the gas and we did," Boyle said. "That's a testament to our guys and the progress that they've made."

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07

COLORADO 100, DRAKE 71

DRAKE (1-1)

T.Murphy 2-4 0-1 4, McGlynn 3-10 7-9 13, Wilkins 5-10 2-5 16, Norton 6-10 2-2 18, Ellingson 1-9 0-1 3, Pilipovic 0-3 0-0 0, Robbins 0-0 0-0 0, Thomas 4-9 0-1 10, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, A.Murphy 3-7 1-2 7. Totals 24-62 12-21 71.

COLORADO (1-0)

Siewert 4-4 1-3 11, Battey 3-6 2-2 8, M.Wright 6-9 5-6 17, Gatling 3-7 5-8 12, Bey 3-7 3-5 9, Strating 1-2 2-4 4, Martinka 0-0 0-0 0, Kountz 3-4 2-4 9, Parquet 2-4 0-0 5, N.Wright 8-12 4-5 25, Ersek 0-0 0-0 0, McQuade 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 33-56 24-37 100.

Halftime — Colorado 45-34. 3-point goals — Drake 11-37 (Wilkins 4-7, Norton 4-7, Thomas 2-5, Ellingson 1-8, Pilipovic 0-3, A.Murphy 0-3, McGlynn 0-4), Colorado 10-22 (N.Wright 5-8, Siewert 2-2, Parquet 1-1, Kountz 1-2, Gatling 1-3, McQuade 0-1, Battey 0-1, M.Wright 0-2, Bey 0-2). Fouled out — T.Murphy, Robbins. Rebounds — Drake 24 (McGlynn 7), Colorado 44 (Bey 14). Assists — Drake 14 (Norton 4), Colorado 15 (M.Wright 6). Total fouls— Drake 26, Colorado 17.