It's difficult to remember the last time the Colorado men's basketball team defeated Utah. There aren't many folks still remaining within the program who were there the last time it happened.
"Utah, we haven't beaten them for a while," senior guard Dom Collier said.
It's been such a while, in fact, that Collier still was a senior at Denver East High School when the Buffs last topped the Utes, posting a 79-75 overtime win on Feb. 1, 2014 at CU. The Utes have reeled off seven consecutive victories against the Buffs in the four years since, and on Friday night Utah visits the Coors Events Center coming off its most impressive weekend of the season.
Naturally, with the Buffs on the horizon, the Utes look like they are may be rounding into form. While Colorado faltered late in losses at No. 11 Arizona and No. 21 Arizona State this past weekend, the Utes did the opposite while salvaging a split on the same trip. Utah topped ASU 80-77 in overtime and very nearly rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit at Arizona before suffering a one-point defeat.
As usual, coach Larry Krystkowiak's club is showing signs of improvement as the season rolls along while taking care of the opponents the Utes can handle more readily. At 5-5 in the Pac-12, Utah has suffered all five of its league losses against Arizona, ASU, USC, and UCLA, teams generally regarded as the four most talented in the conference. Against Oregon, Oregon State, and Washington — teams CU has gone 0-3 against — the Utes are 3-0.
No team has attempted more 3-point shots in league play than the Utes' 259. While they rank second in league games in made 3-pointers (99) they rank third in 3-point percentage (.382).
After two big games in Arizona's sweep of CU and Utah — which included a 7-for-8 shooting night against the Buffs — Wildcats senior Dusan Ristic was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week.
Ristic averaged 19 points in UA's two victories, beginning the weekend with a 15-point, eight-rebound effort against the Buffs. After not even attempting a 3-pointer Dec. 18, Ristic went 3-for-3 from long-range against Utah before finishing with a season-high 23 points along with seven rebounds. Ristic went 9-for-11 against Utah and went 16-for-19 in the two games.
Along the way, the 7-foot Ristic became the 52nd Arizona player to reach 1,000 points in his career. He also is the 28th UA player to record at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career.
Arizona jumped from No. 11 to No. 9 in this week's AP top 25. ASU, which was ranked as high as third on Dec. 25, hung on to the No. 25 spot this week...USC guard Jordan McLaughlin amassed 19 assists in the Trojans' wins against Stanford and Cal to move into 10th-place among the Pac-12's all-time assists leaders. With 634 assists, McLaughlin needs just three more to surpass former UCLA player Darrick Martin for ninth-place.