McKinley Wright admitted he wasn't quite himself at times during Colorado's 3-1 start to the basketball season.
That changed in a hurry during the second half Wednesday at the CU Events Center. Wright did a little bit of everything during the Buffaloes' decisive second half-run, playing the role of floor general to perfection as the Buffs pulled away for a 93-69 win against visiting Portland.
Wright scored a season-high 22 points, tallying 15 in the second half.
"I think I'm starting to get back in my groove," Wright said. "I think early I was trying to force it some, and (wasn't) playing the way I normally play. Coach told me in practice to trust my teammates. I kind of thought about it and sat down and realized the players I have around me. Once I get them going early in the game, it creates more for myself and gets the defense off me a little bit.
"I think I'm getting more comfortable. It's just trusting my teammates, making sure they're getting the ball too."
Wright recorded at least five assists in each of the first four games of the season but struggled somewhat in other departments, committing 13 turnovers in the previous three games heading into Wednesday's contest while also going 1-for-9 on 3-pointers.
Wright was nearly flawless against the Pilots, going 7-for-11 overall, 2-for-3 on 3-pointers, and 6-for-6 at the free throw line. He also finished with seven rebounds, three assists, and one steal in 26 minutes.
"Vintage McKinley Wright," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "He just says, 'OK guys, it's time to get this train moving.' And the train starts moving."
Other Wright stuff
Guard Namon Wright, the Buffs' only senior, quietly has put together a solid start to the season. He finished with seven points, seven rebounds and three steals off the bench on Wednesday while going 3-for-6 from the field.
Through five games, Namon Wright is shooting an impressive .556 from the field (20-for-36) with a 10-for-21 mark on 3-pointers. Although he didn't attempt a free throw on Wednesday he owns a 10-for-11 mark for the season, and Namon Wright also is averaging five rebounds per game.
It's an early sample size for certain, but Wright averaged only 3.5 rebounds a year ago. He also recorded nearly twice as many turnovers (57) as assists (34) last year, but through five games he owns five assists against only three turnovers.
"(Namon) got out and created some offense with his defense," Boyle said. "We want him to shoot it when he's open, and he's proven to be a very, very effective defensive rebounder for us. I'm pleased with the way Namon is playing."
For the 128th time, the Buffs will collide with state rival Colorado State Saturday at the CU Events Center (1 p.m., Pac-12 Network). The Buffs have lost their past two games against the Rams in addition to their past two home games against CSU.
"Our players will be ready Saturday at one o'clock. I can guarantee you that," Boyle said. "We've just got to make sure we don't get too keyed up. It's a rivalry game. We know we're going to get CSU's best shot. We always do. We have to be able to handle that and keep our emotions in check and play Colorado basketball.
"It should be a great game. We're playing the game for our fans. So I hope our fans understand that, appreciate that, and show up. We need to have this place rocking at one o'clock."
After going 3-for-9 in the season's first two games, redshirt freshman forward Evan Battey has gone 15-for-24 (.625) over the past three games...Freshman guard Daylen Kountz from Denver East recorded three assists in only nine minutes. It was the third time in five games Kountz has posted at least three assists off the bench.