Runnin’ Utes Close Out Regular Season with Tough Loss in Colorado


Jack Gambassi

University of Utah guard Lazar Stefanovic (#20, So.) in the game vs. the California Golden Bears on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on campus in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Max Lepore, Sports Writer


The Runnin’ Utes played their last game of the regular season against the Colorado Buffaloes on Friday. The Utes looked to rebound off of their recent losses and head into the Pac-12 tournament on a positive note. Instead, the Utes suffered a 69-60 defeat to the Buffaloes, making it their fifth straight loss to close out the season. Here’s how the game went.


The Utes were able to build a quick 5-2 lead over Colorado, with a field goal from senior Branden Carlson and a three-pointer from junior Ben Carlson. However, Colorado put together an impressive 13-2 run, taking a 15-7 lead over the Utes with 11:35 left in the first half.

Junior Rollie Worster was able to bring back some momentum for the Utes, making a three-pointer followed by a two to tighten the score to 15-12. However, the Buffaloes fought back, outshooting the Utes 8-2 en route to a 23-14 lead. Worster and Branden Carlson were able to collect some points for the Utes before the end of the half, but Colorado ultimately took a double-digit 33-21 lead into the break.

The Buffaloes came out of the half with two three-pointers, but Branden Carlson also managed a couple of field goals, resulting in a 39-25 Utah deficit. Some back and forth ensued, but junior Gabe Madsen put in a three-pointer to tighten the score to 33-41. Madsen made another three later on to cut the Buffaloes’ lead to 44-36. Again, the Utes and Buffaloes went back and forth, with fifth-year Marco Anthony putting in a shot, resulting in a 40-48 Colorado lead.

The Utes kept fighting to come back in the game, with sophomore Lazar Stefanovic hitting a couple of three-pointers, but ultimately, Colorado found themselves winning 58-47 with a little over five minutes left in the game. The two teams continued to play hard, but eventually, the Buffaloes were ahead 63-52 with under a minute left in the competition. Stefanovic continued his second half explosion from deep with two more three-pointers in the final minute, but some free throws from Colorado gave them the 60-69 victory to end the game.


Worster, Branden Carlson and Stefanovic all had double-digit points in the competition, with 15, 13 and 12, respectively. Carlson also led the team in rebounds with ten total, while Stefanovic was able to compile five assists to lead the Runnin’ Utes.

As a team, the Utes shot just 33.3% from the field with 30% from three and 75% from the line. Colorado shot higher in all regards, with 46.3%, 38.1% and 78.6%, respectively. The Buffaloes also out-rebounded the Utes, as they collected 39 as opposed to Utah’s 33. Utah did have more assists, with 14 compared to 12, but they also committed 15 fouls as opposed to Colorado’s 11. Ultimately, the Utes were able to keep the game close for the duration of it, but Colorado shot better from all three areas to give them the win.

Looking Forward

After concluding their regular season with a 17-14 record, the Utes were able to earn the 7th seed in the upcoming Pac-12 tournament. Because of their seeding, they will face off against the 10th ranked Stanford Cardinals this coming week on Wednesday, March 8 in Las Vegas. The Utes did not end the regular season how they were hoping to, but they have the opportunity to make some noise this coming week against their conference rivals.


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