UCLA hosts Colorado in crucial Pac-12 battle

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The Colorado Buffaloes came into the week with a tough road trip to start the Pac-12 season. After a win over Southern California on Thursday night, Colorado has a chance for two wins in this three-game swing before starting a four-game homestand.

The Buffaloes (7-2, 1-1) will go for the sweep of Los Angeles when they face the UCLA Bruins on Saturday night.

Colorado's fifth straight win over the Trojans was helped by the presence of McKinley Wright IV. Wright suffered an ankle injury in a loss at Arizona on Tuesday night and his status for Thursday was in question. Not only did he play, he scored a game-high 19 points to surpass 1,500 for his career (1,513).

He should be fine for the matchup with UCLA, and head coach Tad Boyle gave a shout out to head trainer Rawley Klingsmith for his work to get Wright back on the court.

"We have a great trainer," Boyle said after Thursday's game. "People don't talk about college basketball trainers enough, especially in years like this year, with all of the things he has on his plate with testing and protocols and contact tracing. Then he's got to keep our guys healthy mentally and physically. He's an important part of our success. He doesn't get talked about enough."

The Bruins (6-2, 2-0) are coming off a 72-70 victory over Utah on Thursday night that extended their home winning streak to 11 games. They showed some resiliency in the win over the Utes after their lone senior, Chris Smith, was briefly knocked out of the game with a bone bruise in his left knee late in the first half.

He returned to finish with a team-high 16 points but got plenty of help from his younger teammates. UCLA will need that kind of depth if Smith is hobbled or unable to play against the Buffaloes.

The Bruins will also need to be less sloppy than they were Thursday night to beat a veteran Colorado team. Jules Bernard's late foul gave Utah a chance to tie, but he made up for it with a game-clinching steal in the final second.

"We're happy we got the win, but there are definitely things we got to take away from this game," Bernard said. "We didn't play our best."

--Field Level Media