There’s a saying in sports that goess “you have to beat the teams in front of you.” Getting a week’s rest after a pair of tough losses in Washington, and facing a Utah squad that’s ranked fourth in the conference, Colorado did just that.
On a night when both teams had their fair share of offensive woes, CU was able to scratch out a 71-63 victory on their home floor.
Early on, it was a Katy Perry style hot-and-cold type game. Boyle’s Buffs were the ones to get off to the hot start, as they went on a 8-0 run in the opening five minutes. They played stellar defense, forcing two turnovers and holding Utah to 0-for-4 shooting from the field during this span.
But just when it seemed like Colorado would stretch out a major lead, it quickly evaporated as the Utes quickly went on a 14-2 run of their own. The teams went back-and-fourth in a first half that featured four lead changes in a matter of minutes. CU led for all but 53 seconds in the half.
D’Shawn Schwartz hit a corner three at the buzzer to give CU some momentum and a 35-26 lead heading into the break. Once again, CU did an excellent job playing selfless basketball as they had 11 assists on 35 points at the half.
Utah’s shooting woes commenced in the second half as they went over four minutes without scoring before a Sedrick Barefield basket cut the lead to 51-42. The Utes never were able to go on a run because their offense never found its rhythm.
They shot 39.2 percent from the field and 5-for-26 from beyond the arc. Utah was able to stay within striking distance until back-to-back threes from Lucas Siewert and McKinley Wright in the final two minutes put the game on ice.
As the case was in their last game against Washington, the real difference in this one was points of turnovers. Colorado had 16 points off of 12 turnovers to Utah’s four points off nine.
Tyler Bey recorded his third straight double-double, scoring 17 points to go along with 10 boards. D’Shawn Schwartz and Evan Battey added 16 and 15 points, respectively, on a night when McKinley Wright struggled offensively. Sedrick Barefield had a game high 19 points in the losing effort.
With the win, CU still has an outside chance to squeak into the top four in the conference and earn an all-important first round bye in the Pac-12 tournament.
They’ll remain at home for their final two regular games of the season, starting with a crucial matchup against the UCLA Bruins (16-13, 9-7) Thursday at 7 p.m. MT.