The Colorado Buffaloes (15-9, 7-7 Pac-12) got their second straight win defeating the Utah Utes (9-16, 2-13) by a score of 81-76. The Buffs seem to have found their footing after losing 5 of their previous 7 games this season.
The Buffs began the game slowly, finding themselves down eight to nothing in the early going. Utah Center Branden Carlson was the driving force behind the Utes in the first half. Carlson had a huge first-half shooting 9-12 from the field and 2-3 from three-point range. He finished the half with 21 points in only 16 minutes.
“Well there were some plays where we weren’t really doing we were supposed to be doing on the defensive end,” said senior forward Evan Battey. “In the second half, we started to lock in and started to have more of a team defensive mindset and that allowed us to you know, get some stops and run.”
With 6:25 left in the first half, Utah led the Buffs by 11. At that point, the Buffs were shooting 43% from the field, but that was nothing in comparison to the Utes who were shooting 57% to that point.
At the half, Colorado had shot 12-24 from the field and 3-6 from three. Battey led the way with 10 points, shooting 4-8 from the field and 2-3 from three. The Buffs finished the half shooting 4 of 4. Buffs Sophomore forward Jabari Walker, who started slow, finished the half with six points and eight rebounds.
With Carlson playing well, the Utes dominated the Buffs with 22 points in the paint compared to the Buffs 12 in the first half. The Buffs may have only been able to keep the game close because of the terrible free throw shooting of the Utes, who shot 5-14 from the line in the first half. At the half, the Buffs trailed 36-33.
The second half started similar to the first, as Utah came out shooting the basketball. Utah had a 6-0 run and led the game 49-38 with just over 15 minutes left in the game.
Walker was forced to exit after gathering four fouls with under 14 minutes left in the game. Walker re-entered the game with 7:47 left on the clock and made every second count.
“Defensively just trying to stay solid and make them shoot over my length. I was playing a little handsy at first and I picked up some unnecessary fouls,” said Walker. “So just trying to play solid, slide my feet, and make them shoot over was the thought defensively. Then just trying to knock down shots and catch every ball that was thrown to me and put it in the basket really.”
The Buffs will hit the road to take on the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis on Tuesday at 7 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Noah Anderson at email@example.com.