I must begin by apologizing for my lateness on this article. My heavy testing schedule at the beginning of this week, prevented me from writing out my feelings about the Buffs until now. To best sum up the Utah game: I hope my tests went better than how CU faired against the Utes. They looked sluggish, lazy, and lacked attention to detail, leaving many to question, "Have the Buffs thrown in the towel this season?"
The Utah Recap: The game started out horribly, with a 17-3 Utah run early on. Since the Buffs were without Askia Booker and with Xavier Johnson, and Wesley Gordon coming off the bench due to their tardiness to shoot around, Colorado had to reply on Jaron Hopkins and Dustin Thomas for an offensive spark. It wasn't enough. Jakob Poeltl cleaned up in the paint, and Delon Wright showed every fan in attendance why he's the best guard in the Pac-12. Colorado mounted a small run led by Dom Collier, and Wesley Gordon as well as Dustin Thomas on the defensive end. The Buffs managed to cut the Utes lead to 18-12 with 8:08 left in the half. That would be the closest they got. As the half neared, Utah only grew stronger while CU faded. Brandon Taylor delivered a step back three and a kick into the rib cage of the Buffs at the buzzer, to put the Utes up 35-23 at the half. Coming out of the second half, the Buffs went all Wyoming against Utah. They only managed put up 11 points in the first 14 minutes of the second half. By the time Colorado mounted a little run, it was far too late. The Buffaloes lost by a final score of 79-51. The biggest disappointment of the game was that Brett Brady didn't even get a chance to play.
What Went Wrong: Everything. What had the chance to go wrong, went wrong. Colorado was completely and unquestionably outmatched. They didn't cover three point shooters, they didn't stop Delon Wright, they didn't move any Utah big man out of the paint, and that's just defensively. On offense, CU couldn't get anything to drop as they took off balance shots and tried to force the ball inside too much. Plus the Buffaloes struggled against a mediocre press. All in all, they didn't even seem to care until the very end. If I were to break down everything that went wrong for the Buffs last Saturday night, the list would extend to infinity. Utah came to play Saturday night, and Colorado didn't, plain and simple.
What Went Right: Amongst this turmoil and disappointment remain two dots of light: Josh Scott and Dominique Collier. Scott returned to the Buffs for the first time in several games. Against Utah he showed that he hadn't lost very much during his recovery. Scott worked his way into the paint on offense and put up 10 points, and grabbed three offensive rebounds. He also played solid defense against Utah's massive Jakob Poeltl, and Dallin Bachynski, who scored only as much as Scott combined. Next, Collier showed promise for the future of the Buffaloes. He led Colorado in scoring with 11 points, and had four rebounds as well. Even though a good amount of his points came during the second half blowout, it was still nonetheless promising to see him take on a leadership role when the team morale was down. Collier must continue to improve so he can be the Buffs point guard and offensive leader next year.
With such a lackluster performance, hopefully the Buffs will not lose too much of the confidence they built up over the past few games. While it was unquestionably a disappointing games, Colorado must move on from this loss and focus on the remaining eight games. Sadly, Utah was CU's last possible chance to get a much needed "big win" on the season. The current outlook may seem grim, but maybe the Buffs will be able put a small run together to end the season. We will see how Colorado responds to their lashing against California this Thursday.