Photos by Rick Bowmer / Associated Press
What went right: Very little. Making five of their first six shots while jumping to a 10-2 lead basically was the extend of the highlights for CU.
What went wrong: Everything. Utah torched the CU defense at a .525 clip from the floor while getting to the rim for far too many easy baskets.
Star of the game: Derrick White. The senior guard was one of the few bright spots for CU, finishing with 15 points and eight assists.
What’s next: The Buffs begin a two-game swing through Arizona with a date at Arizona State on Thursday.
SALT LAKE CITY — The Colorado Buffaloes made five of their first six shots and raced to a 10-2 lead Sunday at Utah.
And that sentence pretty much sums up the extent of the highlights for the Buffs in their Pac-12 Conference opener, as the host Utes dominated both ends of the floor the rest of the way in handing CU a 76-60 defeat at the Huntsman Center.
After that 10-2 opening run, Utah outscored the Buffs 74-50 the rest of the way. CU went 18-for-51 (.353) after the opening 5-for-6 showing, while the Utes’ final shooting percentage of .525 was the best by a CU opponent since Oregon shot .532 against the Buffs on March 12, 2015 in the Pac-12 tournament.
“We weren’t good enough in any phase of the game to win a Pac-12 game on the road,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “Our defense really let us down out of the gate in the second half when they scored on the first three possessions. We weren’t able to string enough stops together in the second half to get back in the game. And our offense in practice is a totally different animal than our offense in the games. I thought our ball movement was really, really poor and we showed very little patience.”
Once CU surged ahead with its opening salvo Utah reverted to a zone defense that pretty much frustrated the Buffs throughout the remainder of the contest. CU trailed by only seven points at halftime, but Utah opened the second half with a 7-0 run and steadily built its lead to 23 points with just under 11 minutes remaining.
A pair of 3-pointers from Derrick White highlighted an 8-0 run that gave the Buffs a glimmer of hope with nine minutes remaining, but the Utes reeled off a 10-2 run that squashed any chances of a CU comeback.
“It was a 2-3 zone we worked on all week. We just didn’t move the ball like we did in practice,” White said. “We’re not doing what we do in practice in games, and that’s a problem. We’ve got to move the ball from side-to-side and get better looks.”
White was one of the few individual bright spots for CU, going 3-for-6 from 3-point range before finishing with 15 points and eight assists. George King was solid in his first appearance this season off the bench, going 4-for-6 and posting 11 points with five rebounds.
Yet if White’s eight assists and two turnovers are excluded from the equation, the rest of the Buffs managed just three assists against 13 turnovers. On the defensive end, they forced only 10 turnovers against a Utah squad that had been struggling in that department and entered the game averaging 15.3 per game.
While last year’s two losses against Utah were frustrating, both were games hotly contested right up to the final moments. What perhaps was most disturbing for CU in Sunday’s effort was that they were dominated in all facets by a team most believe will finish in the second half of the league standings.
“We’re not taking on the challenge defensively,” King said. “It was terrible, embarrassing. We embarrassed ourselves today.
“Especially when you’re down seven at halftime, and a team comes out and hits a three, that momentum carries into them. For us, that’s now what we want to happen. They scored three times in a row and that cannot happen. That pretty much was the ball game.”
Utah 76, Colorado 60
At Huntsman Center
Gordon 3-3 2-3 8, Johnson 3-8 1-1 7, Collier 1-6 2-2 5, White 6-12 0-0 15, Fortune 1-5 0-0 2, Akyazili 1-4 0-0 2, Brown 0-3 0-0 0, Miller 4-5 0-0 8, Peters 0-4 2-2 2, King 4-6 2-2 11, Siewert 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-57 8-11 60.
Collettte 7-11 0-0 14, Kuzma 6-12 1-2 14, Zamora 4-5 0-0 10, Daniels 3-8 0-0 6, Bonam 6-8 0-0 15, Barefield 2-8 5-6 9, Van Dyke 1-3 0-0 2, Connor 0-0 0-0 0, Rydalch 0-0 0-0 0, Rawson 2-3 0-2 4, Bealer 0-1 0-0 0, Johnson 1-2 0-0 2, Reininger 0-0 0-0 0, Jokl 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-61 6-10 76.
Halftime — Utah 36-29. 3-point field goals — Colorado 6-18 (Johnson 1-1, Collier 1-3, White 3-6, Fortune 0-3, Akyazili 0-2, Brown 0-1, King 1-2); Utah 6-16 (Kuzma 1-4, Zamora 2-3, Daniels 0-1, Bonam 3-3, Barefield 0-2, Van Dyke 0-2, Rawson 0-1). Rebounds — Colorado 33 (Johnson 7); Utah 33 (Collette 9). Assists — Colorado 11 (White 8); Utah 18 (Barefield 8). Total fouls — Colorado 16, Utah 14. A — 12,108.