Colorado sophomore guard McKinley Wright faced a familiar, and friendly, foe on Friday night.
Opposing Wright and the Buffaloes at the CU Events Center was Omaha junior guard JT Gibson, a high school teammate of Wright's at Champlin Park High outside Minneapolis. Gibson won the individual battle against his former teammate but the Buffs won the war, posting a 79-75 victory to improve to 2-0 on the young season.
"One of my best friends. He kind of showed me the ropes when I was young," Wright said. "In seventh grade I met him. He was a freshman in high school and ever since then our relationship has just grown."
While Wright will be able to brag about the victory, Gibson got the upper hand individually, finishing with 18 points and six rebounds while going 7-for-11 overall and 4-for-7 on 3-pointers.
Wright, meanwhile, recorded five turnovers, with three of them occurring within the game's first five minutes. Wright shot 3-for-7 from the floor but went 7-for-8 at the free throw line before finishing with 13 points and five assists.
Wright rejected the notion the showdown against his good friend contributed to some of his uncharacteristic miscues.
"He wasn't in my head. I don't know what it was," Wright said. "I wasn't myself. Five turnovers is not who I am. In order for us to win, and me being the point guard of this team and a leader, I can't do that. It won't happen again. Tonight I just got off to a bad start."
Junior forward Lucas Siewert is doing his best to prove last year's strong finish wasn't a fluke.
Siewert received his first start of the season and the sixth of his career against Omaha, and he responded by sharing the team lead with 16 points while going 6-for-10 overall and 4-for-6 on 3-pointers. In two games so far, Siewert has shot 10-for-14 overall and 6-for-8 on 3-pointers. Siewert also recorded five rebounds against Omaha.
"We talked in our film session after the Drake game with our team that Lucas Siewert needs to get more than four shots," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "He was 4-for-4 against Drake. He was 6-for-10 tonight. I'd like to get him 12 or 15 quite frankly the way he shoots it and the confidence he's playing with. I think Lucas is doing some really, really good things and really coming into the player we thought he could be when we recruited him. A testament to him and the hard work he's put in on his game and certainly in the weight room."
Senior Namon Wright turned in another solid effort off the bench, going 3-for-6 from the floor and 4-for-4 at the free throw line before finishing with 11 points and four rebounds...Junior guard Deleon Brown saw his first playing time after remaining on the bench for the opener as well as the exhibition game against Colorado Mines for what Boyle described as a coach's decision. Brown posted three points and two assists in 21 minutes...CU is 2-0 all-time against Omaha...In two games the Buffs are 43-for-60 (.717) at the free throw line.