Shots would not fall for the University of Utah men’s basketball team (13-9 overall, 5-6 Pac-12) as it lost to Colorado (13-10 overall, 5-6 Pac-12) on the road Friday night, 67-55. The defeat serves as another reminder that it’s tough to escape an opponent’s stomping grounds with a victory. Utah has now lost back-to-back road games.
“You hate to pin it on one thing,” said assistant coach Andy Hill on ESPN 700. “But when that ball doesn’t go in the basket, it just puts a lot of pressure on you in a conference like this.”
As a team, Utah shot 35.1 percent from the floor, 30.4 percent from behind the arc and 66.7 percent from the charity stripe. For the first time this season, no Ute scored in double-digits. David Collette led the Runnin’ Utes with eight points on 3-of-6 shooting and going 2-for-4 at the line.
Utah had two consecutive buckets to get itself on the board first, but its early 4-0 edge was the team’s biggest lead all night. The Utes seemed to have a steady handle on the game as Colorado was unable to top them for the majority of the first half. Then the Runnin’ Utes were held scoreless for the final 5 minutes and 17 seconds before halftime. With 4:04 to play, Colorado went up 22-20 and never looked back. Despite Utah keeping the game within single digits, the team wasn’t getting to the other end of the court fast enough. Overall, the Buffaloes scored 15 fast break points.
“It’s one of those nights, I don’t know what to say,” Hill said on ESPN 700. “There were some great shots that didn’t go in and it kind of snowballed.”
Although Utah improved shooting percentage-wise in the second half compared to the first half, the team turned the ball over eight times. These mistakes, as well as the four times the Utes lost control of the ball in the first 20 minutes, resulted in 11 points for Colorado.
“The second half, it just kind of got away from us,” Hill said on ESPN 700. “We started the second half with … a couple wide-open shots, a couple live ball turnovers. And [it] didn’t go so good.”
The Buffaloes were up by as many as 21 points at the 4:15 mark. The closest Utah came to catching them was 12 points and that was on the last bucket of the night.
“The great teams, you can continue to defend, you can continue to rebound, you can continue to execute even when their shots don’t go in,” said Parker Van Dyke on ESPN 700. “And so that’s something that we can take from this game. Regardless of the shots, just continue to execute and do what we do.”
Five of the Utes’ seven remaining games on their schedule will be played at home. While the team regroups, Van Dyke is optimistic Utah will be ready for what lies ahead.
“It’s a tough loss, we all know it,” Van Dyke said on ESPN 700. “We all know we didn’t put forth our best effort, but we’ll have a good couple practices the next days, and we got to just win the next one.”
The Runnin’ Utes will return to the Huntsman Center to host Stanford and Cal. The game against the Cardinal gets underway on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m.