LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — McKinley Wright IV played nothing like a college freshman with only two previous games under his belt.
Wright rebounded a missed free throw, raced to the other end of the court and made a 3-pointer as time expired Friday, giving Colorado a 70-69 victory against Quinnipiac in the relocated Paradise Jam.
It was moved from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands to the Vines Center in Lynchburg due to damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Wright said he never had a doubt the shot would fall.
“No. I hit one a couple plays before and on the free throw I told D’Shawn (Schwartz) that I was going to shoot this and it was going to go in. I shot it and it went in,” Wright said.
And it gave the Buffs a victory coach Tad Boyle said they probably didn’t deserve.
“I told the Quinnipiac coaches in the handshake line, ‘You guys deserved to win this game and we didn’t.’ We’re not going to give it back. We played well down the stretch and we did what we had to do, but it was not pretty,” Boyle said.
Colorado (3-0) trailed by as many as 13 in the game, but got a chance when Alain Chigha missed a pair of free throws for the Bobcats with seven seconds left.
Wright collected the rebound and raced down the court, letting his shot fly from the left wing. The ball bounced once on the rim, then dropped as Wright was mobbed by teammates.
Quinnipiac (1-2) trailed 32-29 at halftime, but outscored the Buffs 31-15 over the first 14½ minutes of the second half, taking a 60-47 lead on Chaise Daniels’ layup with 5:25 to play. Colorado rallied to within 68-67 on Wright’s 3-pointer with 16 seconds to play, and after Rich Kelly made one of two free throws for the Bobcats, Chigha rebounded the miss and was fouled with 7 seconds left. He missed them both, setting up the wild finish.
“Colorado did a great job with their length and athleticism and just being aggressive with good defense,” Bobcats coach Baker Dunleavy said. “There were some turnovers we wish we had back and some missed free throws we wish we had back. I’m proud of our guys.”
Wright led Colorado with 21 points and Namon Wright added 16.
Cameron Young led Quinnipiac with 26 points and Isaiah Washington added 16.
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