Bey scores 23 to lead Colorado over Colorado St. 86-80

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              Colorado forward Evan Battey, left, struggles to hold on to a rebound as Colorado State guard Kris Martin defends in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Colorado players feel an early-season loss to their rival last year cost them a tournament bid. The Buffaloes made sure that wouldn’t be a factor this season.

Colorado hit 12 consecutive shots during a decisive run in the second half before surviving a late Colorado State rally, and the Buffaloes beat the Rams 86-80 on Saturday.

Tyler Bey had a career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds and McKinley Wright IV tied a career high with 11 assists along with 18 points and seven rebounds for Colorado (5-1). The Buffaloes overcame a cold first half to avenge a loss at Colorado State last season.

“We just kept stressing how much this game meant to us and this program, and all the former players that were here,” Wright said. “I just kept telling the guys, ‘We can’t lose this one.'”

Kris Martin led the Rams (4-4) with 21 points, J.D. Paige had 17 and Nico Carvacho had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

“Just a few more plays,” coach Niko Medved said. “It was right there for us.”

Colorado trailed by one when it got hot from the field. Wright hit three field goals, Bey also had three and the Buffaloes went ahead 70-59 with 6:19 left.

The Rams got back into the game by making five straight shots, the last by Anthony Masinton-Bonner to cap a 16-4 run to give Colorado State a 75-74 lead.

Evan Battey put the Buffaloes back in front with a 3-point play, and after Carvacho missed the front end of a one-and-one, Shane Gatling’s dunk made it 79-75 with 40 seconds left.

“We made another run back, but I have to make my free throws,” Carvacho said.

Colorado hit five free throws down the stretch to hold on.

“You’re up 10 and now we’re down one. In a rivalry game, it’s a sign of progress,” Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle said of the win. “Maturity and toughness.”

WHAT A DIFFERENCE

The Buffaloes shot just 33 percent in the first half and trailed 32-29 at intermission. They turned that around in the second half, hitting 62 percent and scoring 57 points to beat their in-state rival.

“We missed some bunnies in the first half, we missed some really good looks,” Boyle said. “We’re shooting 33 percent from the field, they’re shooting 50 percent and 45 percent from three, they’ve got five threes, we should have been down more. I told our guys we’re down three because we’re taking care of the ball.”

THREE’S A CROWD

Colorado had three players record a double-double for the first time in 16 seasons. The last time it was done was Feb. 22, 2003, by Michael Morandais (17 points, 10 assists), David Harrison (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Stephane Pelle (18 points, 18 rebounds).

BIG PICTURE

Colorado State: The Rams suffered their first true road loss of the season under Medved, who is in his first year. Colorado State will have a period of adjustment, but the good news is Nevada isn’t on the schedule until Jan. 23.

Colorado: Without any marquee non-conference opponents, wins are at a premium for the Buffaloes. They recovered from a cold first half to take care of business. Colorado needs to do well in the Diamond Head Classic later this month to put itself in a good position heading into Pac-12 play.

UP NEXT

Colorado State: Hosts Arkansas on Wednesday.

Colorado: Hosts South Dakota on Tuesday.