Wright scores 20, San Diego upsets Colorado 69-59
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — The elation of the San Diego players was rather low key on the court and raised a few decibels behind closed doors in the locker room.
Celebrate away — the Toreros are off to their best start since becoming a Division I program in 1979-80.
Isaiah Wright scored 20 points and Tyler Williams went 8 of 8 from the free throw line over the final 4:41 to help San Diego withstand a late charge in a 69-59 win over Colorado on Tuesday night.
The Toreros (8-2) were an 8 1/2-point underdog against Colorado, but built a 16-point lead early in the second half. The Buffaloes (7-3) cut the deficit to five with 5:28 remaining before San Diego sealed the game at the free throw line.
“It’s an honor to be on this team and to keep on going with this group,” Wright said. “It’s a really fun environment to be in.”
There were three Wrights on the floor — Colorado had two with the last name — but none came up bigger than Isaiah Wright. The Buffaloes have seen the 6-foot-2 guard before, when Wright was with Utah before transferring to San Diego. He was 6 of 11 from the floor, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
“He’s playing with confidence,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said of Wright. “He’s a Pac-12-level player, there’s no doubt about that.”
Williams finished with 13 points as San Diego led in this game for more than 37 minutes. Another big win for the Toreros, who’ve also knocked off New Mexico State, San Jose State and Robert Morris.
“I like all of our wins. I want more,” San Diego coach Lamont Smith said.
George King had 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Colorado, which has dropped three of four since a 6-0 start. Colorado was coming off a 96-69 loss at No. 10 Xavier last weekend.
“We’re not as good as we think we are,” King said. “I don’t think we respected San Diego enough coming into this game. I think it was clear as day, especially in the first half.”
San Diego is one of the best defensive teams in the country and showed off that prowess Tuesday. The Toreros held the Buffaloes to 26 percent shooting.
“We want the game to be easy. We want life to be easy,” Boyle said. “Guess what? You play against good defensive teams, life isn’t easy. You have to work for everything.”
San Diego: The days of being overlooked have vanished. “Now we understand that we’re not going to sneak up on anybody anymore,” Smith said. “It’s different when you’re the hunted.”
Colorado: The Buffaloes aren’t the same in the middle with Tory Miller-Stewart out indefinitely with a foot injury. They were outrebounded by a 38-37 margin by San Diego.
King apologized his teammates after the game for a couple of miscues he felt he made late in the second half.
“That’s going to keep me up tonight for sure,” King said.
TIES TO TOREROS
Colorado assistant Bill Grier was the head coach at San Diego from 2007-15. He led the Toreros to the 2008 West Coast Conference title and beat No. 4 seed Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA tournament. He went 117-144 at San Diego.
Leading at halftime, Smith had a simple message for his team.
“No home runs. We want to hit singles,” Smith said. “Our guys did a great job executing on both sides of the ball. So I couldn’t be more excited for our program and these young men.”
THIS & THAT
Isaiah Pineiro and Olin Carter III both had 10 points for the Toreros. ... The Buffaloes are 105-20 under Boyle at the Coors Events Center. ... Freshman McKinley Wright IV had 12 points and has scored in double digits in every game this season. ... Colorado only hit 14 shots from the field and went 3 of 18 from 3-point land.
San Diego: Host North Texas on Saturday.
Colorado: Host South Dakota State on Friday before a week off between games.