Skip to content

CU basketball notes: McKinley Wright IV likely to remember end of loss at Utah, not how he carried Buffs

Eli Parquet, Maddox Daniels contribute off the bench

SALT LAKE CITY — Colorado would not have had a fighting chance to knock off Utah on the road Saturday afternoon if not for the play of McKinley Wright IV.

Yet, as is his habit, the Buffaloes’ junior point guard is likely to remember the missteps at the end, and not the gutsy effort he provided to put his team in position to win.

That end was a foul called on Wright as Utah’s Both Gach heaved a desperation, fade-away 3-pointer at the overtime buzzer of the teams’ battle in the regular season finale at the Huntsman Center. The Buffs led 72-71 at the time, and Gach’s three free throws with 0.6 on the clock gave Utah a stunning 74-72 win.

Prior to that sequence, Wright had an opportunity to pad CU’s one-point lead, but missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw chance. If he had knocked them both down, the worst the Utes could have done on their final possession was send the game into a second overtime.

It wasn’t just the numbers for Wright, though those were excellent — 20 points, six assists, six rebounds, and two steals. Until the waning moments, every time the Utes made a run at a CU team that led for the bulk of regulation, it was Wright that came up with the momentum-turning shot.

Late in the first half, when Utah trimmed what had been a 10-point CU lead down to three, a breakaway layup by Wright began a 5-0 spurt by the Buffs to close the first half. After the Utes reeled off seven straight points to start the second half, a Wright jumper ended the Utes’ run. When Utah took its first lead at the 13 minute, 25 second mark of the second half, a Wright 3-pointer started the Buffs on a 9-0 run that recaptured the momentum for CU.

Yet it still wasn’t enough for the Buffs to hold off the Utes at the end.

Bench roles

CU head coach Tad Boyle was critical of his own usage of the Buffs’ bench, even though guards Eli Parquet and Maddox Daniels both contributed some of their better efforts of the season.

“I didn’t do a very good job of using our bench in the second half,” Boyle said. “I really shortened it. We had some guys that were tired out there. I’ve got to do a better job as a coach of keeping guys fresh. McKinley got a little run down. Evan (Battey) got a little run down. I’ve got to do a better job. I just felt like we needed our best defensive team on the floor, and that was our best defensive team, at least in my mind. But it wasn’t good enough.”

Parquet went 3-for-8 with a pair of 3-pointers, finishing with career-highs in points (eight) and assists (three). Daniels also provided a spark with two 3-pointers in the first half, recording eight points with a season-best six rebounds.

However, senior Lucas Siewert, a key contributor off the bench all season, went scoreless for the first time this year.

“I thought Eli played well. I thought Maddox gave us some good minutes, especially in that first half,” Boyle said. “That’s a guy I probably should have gotten some more minutes in the second half. He and Lucas probably should have played a little more in the second half, but I didn’t. We’ve got to talk about that as a staff. I’ve got to do a better job.”

Notable

Neither Jakub Dombek nor Dallas Walton made the trip. Both players are in the concussion protocol…Wright, Battey, and Tyler Bey shot a combined 20-for-33. The rest of the Buffs were 8-for-31…Bey’s double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) was his 12th of the season and the 31st of his career. Bey also recorded the 100th blocked shot of his career, becoming the 10th CU player to reach that mark…Gach finished with a career-high 28 points…The only senior honored at Utah’s Senior Day was former walk-on Marc Reininger, a Monument native who starred at Regis Jesuit High School.