TEMPE, Ariz. — McKinley Wright maintains he's not trying to do too much for the Colorado men's basketball team.
His head coach disagrees.
Perhaps the most confounding aspect of the Buffaloes' struggling offense, from the ongoing turnover issues to the errant shooting touch in recent weeks, has been the turnover big that has infected Wright, the Buffs' sophomore point guard.
Asked if he believed Wright was pressing following Thursday's loss at Arizona, head coach Tad Boyle responded:
"Yeah. He's got to finish in transition better. Three-on-twos and two-on-ones. Your job is to get your team good shots. He's pressing a little bit and he's turning the ball a lot here recently. McKinley does so many things for this team from a positive standpoint. The kid feels he has the pressure of the world on his shoulders. He needs to take a little of that off his plate. And the rest of the guys need to step up. We're not playing real well offensively and we've got to figure it out between now and Saturday at 4 (at Arizona State)."
Wright deflected the notion that he is pressing, but the numbers and even the eye test say differently. A case in point was during Thursday's loss in the second half, when a two-on-one fast-break opportunity with Wright leading the way alongside Tyler Bey ended not with an easy basket, but with a Wright turnover.
As a freshman last year, Wright posted only seven games in which he finished with more turnovers than assists. In all but one of those instances, the difference was no greater than two, and five of those games occurred within the first 10 games of the season as Wright assimilated into his role as a rookie floor general.
Thursday's three-assist, six-turnover effort was the second time in the past three games Wright has posted more turnovers than assists. Wright suffered through just 11 games last year with at least four turnovers, but following the loss at Arizona he has reached that mark seven times in 13 games so far.
"I don't think I'm forcing it," Wright said. "(The play at Arizona) was a costly mistake. I should've just laid it in for the two points. But it is what it is and I'll learn from it."
Arizona State gave Pac-12 basketball a much-needed jolt by topping then-No. 1 Kansas on Dec. 22. Like last year, when the Sun Devils climbed to No. 3 in the nation before spiraling into the middle of the pack in the league, ASU couldn't sustain the momentum, losing at home to Princeton before wasting a 17-point lead at home against Utah Thursday in its league opener. Nevertheless, Boyle believes ASU is as physically talented of a team the Buffs will face this season.
"I haven't said this since I've been a coach in the Pac-12, but Arizona State is probably a little more talented than Arizona," Boyle said. "I'm not saying they're better, but man-for-man they've got some size, they've got athleticism, they're a formidable foe. We better have our boots strapped on Saturday because it's not going to be easy."
Sophomore forward Tyler Bey has recorded 13 blocked shots over the past five games, increasing his season total to 23. Bey had 22 blocked shots in 32 games last year as a freshman...CU's 19 field goals in Thursday's loss at Arizona was a season-low...In three games against ASU last year, junior forward Lucas Siewert went 9-for-14 from the field and 8-for-8 at the free throw line.