BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – McKinley Wright IV received a little pep talk from none other than himself.
â€œI told myself I had to get going,â€ he said of his second-half inner monologue.
Wright listened to Wright.
The junior guard scored 11 of his 21 points in the final five minutes and Colorado beat another ranked team, taking down No. 4 Oregon 74-65 on Thursday night.
â€œI love moments like that,” said Wright, who also had eight assists. “I like having the ball in my hands to make plays for myself and my teammates.â€
Tyler Bey added 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Buffaloes (12-2, 1-0 Pac-12) improved to 9-0 all-time against the Ducks (11-3, 0-1) in Boulder.
Now that’s a record hard to imagine. Wright can’t explain it, nor can Oregon coach Dana Altman.
â€œIt’s just one of those things they have a good team,â€ said Altman, whose team was 3 of 18 from 3-point range. â€œOne of the best home courts. It’s a tough place to play.â€
Colorado moved to 2-1 against ranked teams this season, which includes a win over Dayton in Chicago on Dec. 21 and a loss to then-No. 2 Kansas on Dec. 7. Colorado is now 19-32 under coach Tad Boyle versus teams in the AP Top 25 since he took over in 2010-11. He accounts for 30% of Colorado’s 63 wins over ranked opponents since 1949-50.
â€œThis is a special team,â€ Boyle said. â€œWe have great kids in that locker room. It’s a special group.â€
This was a matchup between the teams picked to finish first (Oregon) and second (Colorado) in the Pac-12 preseason media poll. Round 1 went to Colorado, which despite being unranked was a 1 1/2-point favorite.
In the mind of Wright, a message was sent.
â€œWe thought we were the best team in the conference,â€ he said. â€œWe wanted to showcase that tonight.â€
They did. All part of the process.
â€œRespect cannot be learned, purchased or acquired. It can only be earned,â€ said Boyle, whose team has that mantra posted in their film room. â€œWe have to earn that respect.â€
Colorado built a 15-point lead early in the second half on an alley-oop, fast-break dunk by Bey. But Oregon began to steadily chip away.
Bey had a big block of Anthony Mathis with 4:34 remaining, but was given a technical foul for taunting. Mathis made both free throws to make it 57-53. Wright hit a 3-pointer to restore some breathing room.
â€œGot the crowd back into it. We needed that,â€ Boyle said. â€œBig players make big plays.â€
The noise was at a frenzied level despite the students being on winter break, and the fans ran onto the court after the final buzzer.
â€œThat was a high-level college basketball game,â€ Boyle said. â€œIt was as good as advertised.â€
The Ducks had their five-game winning streak halted on a night when they struggled at times to run their offense.
Payton Pritchard had 21 points to lead Oregon, while Chris Duarte added 10.
â€œJust one of those nights,â€ Altman said.
Oregon: Boulder, Colorado, continues to haunt the Ducks, who were out-rebounded 36-34.
Colorado: Defense has been the Buffs’ calling card all season. They fed off of it all evening as they led for over 30 minutes.
THIS & THAT
D’Shawn Schwartz finished with 13 points. … Former Colorado football standout and current Denver Broncos tailback Phillip Lindsay was in attendance and given a round of applause when he was introduced. … The attendance was 10,770.
Boyle wasn’t pleased with Bey picking up a technical for taunting.
â€œThere’s no room for that,” Boyle said. â€œUnacceptable.â€
OFF FROM DEEP
Oregon entered the game averaging nearly nine made 3-pointers a game. The Ducks didn’t make their first 3-pointer until the second half.
â€œWe had some good looks and didnâ€™t knock them down early,â€ Altman said.
ELITE COMPANY, PART I
The Ducks have their men’s basketball, women’s basketball and football teams all currently ranked in the top seven of the AP polls.
ELITE COMPANY, PART II
Oregon’s appearance at No. 4 matches its highest ranking in the AP poll, although the Ducks are likely to drop next week. The team also was No. 4 in the Nov. 14, 2016, version of the poll. That team went on to reach the Final Four.
Oregon: At Utah on Saturday.
Colorado: Hosts Oregon State on Sunday.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25