The Colorado Buffaloes had a chance to finish in the top four in the Pac-12 standings Saturday afternoon, but lost control late as the Utah Utes came away with a 74-72 victory in overtime.
The Buffs have now lost four straight games heading into the Pac-12 Tournament, falling all the way down to the sixth seed. They will take on the Washington State Cougars Wednesday night at 9:30 PM MST in Las Vegas.
This play was kind of a head scratcher if you will. Colorado is in control just five minutes into the game, leading the Utes 12-6. Buffs guard Shane Gatling throws a bounce pass into the lane for Evan Battey who appears to have the easy bucket.
Instead, Battey passes up the open look for a potential corner three from D’Shawn Schwartz. Utah’s Both Gach closes out well, preventing the easy look.
Colorado didn’t end up getting a shot off in that possession due to a three second violation in the paint via Battey.
McKinley Wright is a wizard. Following a turnover from the Utes, Colorado had numbers in transition. Wright eyes were set on Eli Parquet who was sliding into the far corner for a look at a three pointer. Utah’s Riley Battin anticipated the pass going to him as well, leaving Battey open in the paint.
Wright noticed Battin closing in on Parquet, issuing a bounce pass into the post to Battey for the wide open layup.
This is one where I believe the refs got it wrong. Colorado is leading 46-45 just six minutes into the second half. Wright is bringing the ball down the court and drives to his left, losing the basketball and then is called for the charge.
Technically Wright didn’t have possession of the ball as he collided with Utah’s Mikael Jantunen — which should be a no-call. Wright was trying to kick the ball out to Schwartz in the corner for a three, but ended up fumbling it away.
This was a complete effort play by Utah. After the first shot goes up, both Branden Carter and Timmy Allen of the Utes collect offensive rebounds, resulting in Allen getting fouled where he would then knock down both free throws.
Tad Boyle didn’t make a lot of substitutions in the second half. It looked as if he was getting main rotation ready for the Pac-12 Tournament — that, or he didn’t trust the reserves. Colorado looked tired and was getting outmuscled on the boards.
If the Buffs want to make some noise in the Pac-12 Tournament, they are going to need production from D’Shawn Schwartz. Saturday’s game is one he would like to forget.
Schwartz scored just two points on 1-of-9 shooting, missing all five attempts from beyond the arc. Here was another mental mistake from Colorado. Schwartz tried to force a lob over to Battey in the post, which was immediately stolen from Utes guard Alfonso Plummer.
Utah would capitalize on Schwartz’ turnover on the other end as Gach drilled a tough jumper from the corner to force a Colorado timeout.
During a crucial time in the game, the Buffs get an unlucky bounce. After the missed three point attempt from Battin, the ball deflects right to Jantunen who pulls down a huge offensive rebound with less than three minutes to go.
Jantunen finds Plummer who knocks down a big three to give Utah the one point lead. That three pushed Utah to a 13-4 run. You can’t make this stuff up. Colorado has been having these issues with not closing out games and this was another example.
I don’t really have much to offer on this play other than it should have been a no-call. The two bigs are battling for position and the refs ended up calling Battey for a hook.
Hard to call something like that late in the game and with the score being what it was. This gave Utah two free throws. Jantunen knocked down both of them to give Utah the one point lead.
This was the straw that broke the camels back. This was probably the worst sequence the Buffs could’ve had in the game.
Wright was at the charity stripe on a 1-and-1 prior to this clip. He missed the front end of the free throw which gave Utah the ball with seven seconds left.
Gach drove down the court and hoisted up a contested three which was off the mark. However, the refs called a foul on McKinley — this should’ve been another no-call. Gach kicked his feet out on the release, prompting the refs to make a decision.
Gach nailed all three free throws, leading the Utes to victory.
The Buffs have their work cut out for them in the Pac-12 Tournament. With the loss to Utah, Colorado didn’t clinch a first-round bye. This means if the Buffs want to make a run, they’ll have to play four games in as many days.