Colorado's defense was once again nowhere to be found as the Buffs lost to Utah 75-64 and allowed the Utes to shoot 70.8 percent in the second half. Josh Scott led Colorado with 17 points and seven rebounds, but no other Buff mustered up enough scoring for Colorado to stay in the game. Although they were tied with Utah at halftime, they never could get back into the game after Utah went on a 15-2 run to start the second half to push their lead to 45-32. With the loss, Colorado moves to 20-9 overall and 9-7 in the conference.
Things the Buffaloes did well:
They started off 8-of-12 from the field and were clicking on offense, but after that it was a struggle. Josh Scott, as usual, was the only bright spot in a disappointing loss and had 17 points on 4-of-7 shooting. He only had two points in the first half, but did all he could to get Colorado back into the game in the second half hitting all nine free throws he attempted.
Dustin Thomas scored seven of his nine points in the first two and a half minutes and Eli Stalzer had a career-high nine points.
Things the Buffaloes struggled with:
The defense, for the second straight game, was out of sync. There was no help on any pick and rolls and Utah had open shots possession after possession. Colorado couldn't string together any stops and constantly allowed Delon Wright and Jordan Loveridge to get whatever they wanted. The duo combined for 42 points on 16-of-23 shooting and helped Utah shoot 59 percent from the field. It was eerily similar to the UCLA game. Colorado started out hot from the field, but failed to capitalize in the first half because of poor defense. Once the shots stopped falling in the second half, the lack of defensive awareness became critical as the Utes began to take over.
On offense, Colorado committed 16 turnovers and had trouble making simple entry passes into the post. With two games left in the season, it's odd that Colorado is making these simple mistakes. When Utah switched to a zone in the first half, the Buffs committed multiple shot clock violations and were unable to find open spots.
After having an excellent run of play, Askia Booker has turned in two of his worst performances of the year in the past two games. He only had four points, which matched his amount of turnovers. He needed to respond after his game against Arizona and simply didn't as he went 1-of-8 from the field. Xavier Johnson did have 10 points, but was unable to get into a rhythm because of foul trouble. Wesley Gordon, who was key last time these two teams played limiting Jordan Loveridge, had trouble scoring at the rim and was 2-of-6 from the field and only picked up three rebounds. Colorado won the rebounding margin by 17 the last time they played Utah, but Saturday they lost it 30-27.
If the defense can't put together stops and continues to let teams have their way in the second half, it won't matter if Colorado makes the NCAA Tournament because they'll be bounced right away.
Up Next: Colorado will finish the season on the road in the Bay Area. They will play Stanford on Wednesday and then take on Cal on Saturday. The Buffs managed to win at Maples Pavilion last season, but if Colorado continues to struggle so much on defense, they will likely pick up their third straight loss.