It was billed as a battle of two of the premier post players in the Pac-12 Conference, if not all of college basketball.
Jakob Poeltl and the Utah Utes will gladly take the victory. But it was CU's Josh Scott who won the individual battle despite the Buffaloes' 56-54 loss Friday night at the Coors Events Center.
"I wouldn't trade Josh Scott for any big man in the country," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "No disrespect to anybody, Jacob Poeltl included, but Josh Scott's my guy. I love him. I'll take him every single night. What he brings — the attitude, the effort, the competitiveness — the kid's a stud. I thought he was terrific."
Poeltl entered the game boasting a conference-best shooting percentage of .687 while averaging 17.7 points and 9.3 rebounds. With Scott matching him most of the night, Poeltl went just 2-for-8 before finishing with six points.
Poeltl didn't record his first basket until five minutes had passed in the second half. However, he did add four points during Utah's decisive 11-2 run down the stretch and also recorded 11 rebounds. Scott scored just four points after halftime but recorded the 31st double-double of his career with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists.
"I think defensively I did great," said Scott, who shot 5-for-12. "Offensively, I'm a little frustrated. I didn't get some calls I thought I should have got, but that's basketball. It's going to happen some nights."
Despite Poeltl's prowess, Utah entered the game with some question marks up front, as an injury to Kyle Kuzma had Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak considering pulling the redshirt off 7-foot freshman Jayce Johnson, according to reports this week in the Salt Lake Tribune.
Kuzma, though, started and gave the Utes a huge lift, going 4-for-5 at the free throw line and finishing with 12 points.
Dom Collier finished with three assists, ending a streak of three games in a row without one for CU's sophomore point guard...Offensively, CU finished with season-low totals in points (54), rebounds (37), free throw attempts (four), and made free throws (3). That final total was the Buffs' lowest mark for made free throws since they went without one against Missouri on Feb. 23, 2008.