By Eric Christensen

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– In CU’s upset of #4 Oregon last week, McKinley Wright looked every bit like the PAC 12’s Player of the Week. The junior guard scored 21 points and added 8 assists in the Buffs win over the Ducks.

Three days later, nothing changed. Through 33 minutes, Wright nearly had a triple-double against Oregon State. But those final 7 minutes were a nightmare. Wright turned it over 3 times and went scoreless as the Buffs lost a big lead and ultimately the game.

(credit: CBS)

“There were a lot of careless reads down the stretch,” said Wright. “Turned the ball over and they came back within striking distance. It was disappointing, man.”

“He certainly did not play well down the stretch,” said the Buffs head coach Tad Boyle. “He certainly knows that, everybody who was here knows that and what’s so disappointing is that he played so well for the first 33 minutes. I mean he had 10 assists and no turnovers.”

LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 07: Tra Holder #0 of the Arizona State Sun Devils drives against McKinley Wright IV #25 of the Colorado Buffaloes during a first-round game of the Pac-12 basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Buffs learned a valuable lesson against the Beavers. It’s that McKinley Wright, their best player, may not always be there to bail them out. And that sometimes, someone else may have to step up.

“When he struggles some of his teammates have to pick him up,” proclaimed Boyle. “Just like when they struggle and he picks them up you know it’s got to be a two-way street.”

“I feel like McKinley is the most important piece on our team and if he’s not playing well someone has to step up,” said junior forward Tyler Bey. “In that game, no one stepped up.”

Of course everyone needs a little help but if the Buffs want to be dancing in March, they need McKinley to have the “Wright” stuff.

“There’s a lot of weight on me and my team as a whole,” said Wright. “We need to bounce back.”

“This program would not be in the position it’s in if it weren’t for McKinley Wright, I can promise you that,” said Boyle.

Wright and the Buffs can make amends for their late game collapse against Oregon State on Sunday when they host Utah at 4p.m.

Eric Christensen

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