SALT LAKE CITY — — Josh Scott has developed into one of the best post players in the Pac-12 Conference.
There are times, however, when his Colorado teammates fail to recognize that.
In Saturday's 75-64 loss to Utah, the Buffaloes settled for a lot of jump shots, especially early in the shot clock, rather than looking down low to the 6-foot-10 Scott.
"We got a little jump-shot happy (in the second half)," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "We took some quick jump shots, without getting the ball inside, without getting the ball moved. They didn't go in and then we turned it over two or three times and (Utah) converted those turnovers. Now all of a sudden you're down nine, down 10 and you're scratching and clawing back."
Scott did finish with 17 points, but 13 of those came after the Buffs fell behind by 13 points with 13 minutes to go.
"I think our players finally understand tonight that we have to play through Josh Scott," Boyle said. "It doesn't mean Josh has to score it every time, but it's important that we get the ball inside, whether it's to him, Wesley Gordon, Xavier Johnson. We have to play inside-out and when we do, we're pretty good."
Scott averages 14.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and has been downright dominant at times this season. His 20-point, 10-rebound effort against Utah on Feb. 1 in Boulder was a big reason the Buffs won that game, 79-75 in overtime. He scored early and often in that one.
CU has a tendency, though, to take bad shots, especially from the perimeter, when the opponent makes a run. The Buffs did that again Saturday, which made Scott a non-factor for a good portion of the afternoon.
"They made an effort with about 10 or 12 minutes left to go to really get it in (the paint)," Scott said of his teammates. "We need to do that for a whole game instead of taking quick jumps and turning the ball over."
Scott didn't use that as an excuse for CU's loss, though.
"Really, defensively, if we could just get stops, it wouldn't matter what type of offense that we're running," he said.
Freshman Dustin Thomas got his sixth consecutive start, and the 6-foot-7 forward was impressive early. He made his first three shots — a 3-pointer and two strong drives to the hoop — and scored CU's first seven points of the game. That all came in the first 2 minutes, 30 seconds.
"I just came out with confidence," Thomas said. "I knew we had to jump on them early, so I just came out to try to do what I could for the team."
Thomas also picked up two first-half fouls and spent the last eight minutes of the half on the bench. His foul trouble weighed on his mind the rest of the game, as he finished with eight points and was 0-for-3 from the floor in the final 37 minutes, never displaying the same aggressiveness he did early.
"I was trying not to come out and get in the same type of foul trouble I did in the first half," he said. "I was trying to stay in the game a little longer."
CU's two starting guards, Askia Booker and Xavier Talton, combined for just seven points on 2-for-16 shooting. Both went 1-for-8 from the floor.
Booker has gone three consecutive games without a 3-pointer (going 0-for-6) — his longest stretch without one since Jan. 16-24, 2013.
Meanwhile, the Buffs' two back-up guards, Eli Stalzer and Jaron Hopkins, combined for 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting. Stalzer had a career-high eight points and Hopkins made three 3-pointers for just the second time this season.
Utah's Delon Wright leads the Pac-12 in steals and he showed why Saturday. He had just two steals, but both were big during Utah's game-changing run.
"You have to give Delon Wright some credit," Talton said. "He's amazing in the passing lanes and he got a couple of steals on us, which led to their transition buckets, which got them going."
Wright also had 21 points, five rebounds four assists and three blocks.
Scott went 9-for-9 at the free throw line and he's made 20 consecutive free throws dating back to Feb. 19 against Arizona State. ... Freshman Tre'Shaun Fletcher missed his 12th consecutive game with a knee injury. This week, the Buffs thought he might be ready to play against the Utes, but determined he's not yet healthy enough. ... Saturday was the first time this season that either team was tied at the half. ... CU was outscored 38-22 in the paint, falling to 1-5 in Pac-12 play when losing that category. ... CU has played back-to-back games without a single fast-break point. The Buffs averaged 8.0 fast-break points in the first 27 games.