Bey helps rally Colorado past New Mexico 78-75
Anthony Mathis scored 23 to lead the Lobos, but he fouled out with 5.8 seconds left to deprive New Mexico of its best 3-point shooter.
Bey finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds and Lucas Siewert had 12 points, including the final two points from the line.
New Mexico (4-4) used a 22-5 run midway through the first half to go up 32-15 before the Buffaloes (8-1) responded with a 14-0 run to close within 32-29.
But back-to-back 3-pointers from Mathis, including a rim-rattler that dropped, sparked an 11-0 Lobos run. Colorado, however, scored the final five points of the half to trail 43-34.
That was a spark for the Buffaloes, who survived a poor shooting night.
“We gutted out a win when we didn’t play our best offensively,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well from 3. Missed a lot of shots in the lane. We didn’t shoot the ball well from the free-throw line. And we found a way to win. And this was the best game New Mexico has played all year long.”
The Buffaloes chipped away at the lead throughout the second half, moving in front when McKinley Wright IV capped a 7-0 run on a drive to put Colorado up 66-64 at the 4:35 mark of the second half. It was the Buffaloes’ first lead since four minutes into the game.
Vance Jackson’s attempt at a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer was well off the mark.
The Buffaloes tightened things up as far as turnovers, committing just one in the second half after turning it over 12 times in the first.
“It’s just a matter of being strong with the ball and not getting sped up and not letting them dictate what you do,” Boyle said. “You dictate offensively what you do by the way you handle the ball and what you do. So, we did a better job of that in the second half.”
New Mexico’s inability to force the pace was a game-changer, Lobos coach Paul Weir said.
“The defense really let us down in the second half,” he said. “We got out to a lead, which is a little unusual for us and I don’t know if we didn’t know how to handle that or we just took our foot off the gas.”
Colorado’s third-largest road comeback victory will help the Buffaloes in the future.
“We’ve played in tough places but not gutted out a win,” Boyle said. “That’s the difference and that’s something we can use as a stepping stone as we go forward on the season. Certainly, we get into league play, it will give us some confidence.”
This was Colorado’s first appearance in the Pit since the 2012 NCAA Tournament when the Buffaloes beat UNLV 68-64 in the first round. That was their last tournament win.
New Mexico: After losing consecutive games away from home by a combined 60 points, the Lobos, despite the loss needed a strong showing to regain some confidence.
Colorado: This was the Buffaloes’ third game against a Mountain West opponent this season. The Buffaloes could meet the MWC’s UNLV in the second game of a holiday tournament in Hawaii.
New Mexico: This was the start of a four-game homestand for the Lobos, with Central Arkansas in on Dec. 16.
Colorado: This game marks the start of an extended period away from home for the Buffaloes. The Buffaloes play three games in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii just before Christmas starting with Indiana State on Dec. 22, then start Pac-12 play on the road at Arizona and Arizona State.