What went right: The Buffs shot .541 from the field and went 19-for-23 at the free throw line.
What went wrong: CU committed 18 turnovers, a total bolstered by a number of offensive fouls, and SDSU converted those giveaways into a 19-8 advantage in points off turnovers.
Star of the game: McKinley Wright. Fellow freshman Tyler Bey also was big down the stretch, but Wright narrowly missed the fourth triple-double in team history with 30 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds.
What’s next: The Buffs will be off a couple days ahead of finals week before taking on Iowa in the nonconference finale on Dec. 22 in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The plan was to throw as many bodies at South Dakota State star Mike Daum as possible until something finally worked.
In the end, it was freshman Tyler Bey who finally came up with an answer.
Turning in what by far was the best performance of his young career, Bey and fellow freshman McKinley Wright carried the Colorado men’s basketball team down the stretch of a wild finish Friday night at the Coors Events Center, leading CU to a 112-103 double-overtime victory against South Dakota State.
Bey recorded a handful of defensive stops during the extra sessions against Daum, who otherwise dominated the array of CU players assigned with the unenviable task of attempting to slow him. Bey also scored eight of his season-high 12 points during the second overtime, while Wright fell just one rebound short of recording the fourth triple-double in program history.
“Coach told me to stay down on his pump fakes and stand my ground,” Bey said. “I just wanted to step up, and it was an opportunity to step up for my team and play defense. I’m more confident (than) going into the season, and I’m getting more confident as I keep playing.”
Two free throws by Daum with 6.5 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime, and the Buffs appeared in trouble when the Jackrabbits took a six-point lead with two minutes remaining in the first overtime.
A pair of buckets from Wright sandwiched around two missed free throws by Daum pulled the Buffs within two points, and one more defensive stop by CU led to a George King-to-Deleon Brown layup that tied the score 94-94 and extended the game into yet another overtime.
CU never trailed in the second extra session, breaking a 99-99 tie on consecutive baskets from Wright and Bey. The two freshmen combined to score 17 of CU’s 18 points in the second overtime.
“I’m really proud of our guys for bucking up,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “I thought we really could have folded our tent in that first overtime but we didn’t panic. We just kept coming and getting stops, and we converted those stops into buckets. I felt really good going into that second overtime.
“(Bey) made his open shots. He made his free throws. He took care of the ball. He made good decisions. He had one shot where I was, ‘No, no, no … yes,’ on a baseline jumper. But he shot it with confidence.”
Bey finished 4-for-4 from the field and 4-for-4 at the free throw line while also grabbing a season-best nine rebounds for the second consecutive game. Defensively, the Buffs had tried a number of players against Daum — King, Lazar Nikolic, and Lucas Siewert among them — but couldn’t slow SDSU’s 6-foot-9 junior until Bey’s efforts in the game’s latter stages.
“(Daum) creates foul problems,” Boyle said. “The big thing is we wanted the pace of the game to wear them down. I give South Dakota State a lot of credit. They’re a good team. That’s an NCAA Tournament team we beat.”
After enduring the worst shooting night of his young career against San Diego on Tuesday, Wright bounced back to go 10-for-19 from the field and 9-for-10 at the free throw line, finishing with 30 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds. He became the first CU player to record 11 assists in a game since Nick Mohr on Feb. 26, 2002.
Six CU players scored in double figures, with King going 4-for-6 on 3-pointers before finishing with 17 points and five rebounds. Daum went 14-for-28 for South Dakota State, posting a double-double with 37 points and 12 rebounds.
“In the first overtime we were down by six, and we bought into our defense,” Wright said. “They have a very good player who’s probably going to the NBA. He scored the ball at all three levels tonight. We just had to buy in and contain him and get stops down the stretch.”
COLORADO 112, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE. 103 (2OT)
S. DAKOTA ST. (9-5)
Daum 14-28 6-9 37, Flatten 2-8 0-0 5, T.King 3-7 0-0 6, Jenkins 10-23 4-5 31, Tellinghuisen 4-7 0-0 10, Howell 1-3 0-0 2, Key 4-9 4-4 12, Severyn 0-1 0-0 0, Krueger 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-86 14-18 103.
Strating 0-1 0-0 0, Walton 2-2 0-0 4, Repine 0-0 0-0 0, Collier 3-7 1-1 9, Schwartz 2-4 0-0 4, Siewert 6-9 0-0 14, D.Brown 4-12 0-0 10, G.King 5-7 3-4 17, M.Wright 10-19 9-10 30, N.Wright 3-8 2-4 10, Nikolic 1-1 0-0 2, Bey 4-4 4-4 12. Totals 40-74 19-23 112.
Halftime — Colorado 43-36. End Of Regulation_Tied 86. End Of 1st Overtime_Tied 94. 3-point goals — S. Dakota St. 13-29 (Jenkins 7-12, Daum 3-6, Tellinghuisen 2-4, Flatten 1-3, T.King 0-1, Severyn 0-1, Key 0-2), Colorado 13-27 (G.King 4-6, D.Brown 2-4, Siewert 2-4, N.Wright 2-4, Collier 2-4, M.Wright 1-3, Schwartz 0-2). Fouled out — Nikolic, T.King. Rebounds — S. Dakota St. 29 (Daum 12), Colorado 42 (Bey, M.Wright 9). Assists — S. Dakota St. 13 (Key 5), Colorado 21 (M.Wright 11). Total fouls — S. Dakota St. 22, Colorado 25. A — 6,933 (11,064).