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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Utah Men’s Basketball Falls to Colorado on the Road

Colorado’s remarkable 54.2% field goal shooting and 88.2% free throw shooting were too much for Utah to handle, as the Buffaloes won 89-65.
Utah+guard+Gabe+Madsen+%2855%29+walks+back+after+losing+to+the+Arizona+Wildcats+at+the+Jon+M.+Huntsman+Center+in+Salt+Lake+City+on+Thursday%2C+Feb.+8%2C+2024.+%28Photo+by+Xiangyao+%E2%80%9CAxe%E2%80%9D+Tang+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Xiangyao Tang
Utah guard Gabe Madsen (55) walks back after losing to the Arizona Wildcats at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

The University of Utah men’s basketball team (16-11, 7-9 Pac-12) started slow against Colorado, trailing by as much as 17 points. An explosive scoring outburst by Gabe Madsen helped close the gap to just nine points at the half.

The second half, however, was similar to the first, as Utah could not string together enough stops to cut into the Colorado lead. Every time Utah looked to be on the verge of making a run, the Buffaloes’ explosive offensive attack took over and limited the Utes’ ability to close the gap. The defensive ball pressure and the ability to score at every level for Colorado proved to be too much for the Utes to handle, as they eventually fell 89-65 in Boulder.

First Half

The first-half struggles have plagued Utah all year, and that theme continued throughout this game as well. With 14:55 remaining in the first half, the Utes found themselves down 14-5, forcing Head Coach Craig Smith to take his first timeout just five minutes into the contest. Utah’s defensive energy was not effective enough as Colorado continued to find open shooters on beautiful drives and kicks by their guards, leading to uncontested jump shots and layups that the Buffaloes effortlessly knocked down.

At the 7:05 mark of the first half, Utah trailed by 17 points out of the TV timeout, and things started to look dire for a Utah team coming off their first Pac-12 road win of the year a week earlier. Fortunately for the Utes, two Madsen 3-pointers along with layups by Ben Carlson, Branden Carlson, Deivon Smith and Hunter Erickson helped close the gap to just nine points as Utah trailed 43-34 heading into halftime. After a half that could be categorized as less than ideal, a nine-point halftime deficit was a very positive sign for Coach Smith and the team.

Second Half

Utah came into the second half looking to capitalize on their scoring burst towards the end of the first half, but the Colorado defense was prepared for everything the Utes threw at them. The Buffaloes came out of halftime looking to create more separation than nine points, and that is exactly what they were able to do.

Less than three minutes into the second half, a 3-pointer by Colorado guard KJ Simpson opened up a 15-point lead. Utah continued to fight, however, as a Madsen layup cut the Buffalo lead to 10 points with 14:11 to go. That was the closest Utah got to Colorado for the rest of the game, as the Buffaloes were able to open up a 19-point advantage at the 10:41 mark.

The Utes had no answer for the explosive Colorado offense as the Buffaloes continued to pour it on for the remainder of the game. Colorado’s remarkable 54.2% field goal shooting and 88.2% free throw shooting were too much for Utah to handle, as the Buffaloes won 89-65.

Utes Stuffing the Stat Sheet

Madsen led Utah in scoring with 18 points, and Smith was close behind at 15 points, also dishing out five assists and grabbing six rebounds. Keba Keita scored eight points of his own, while the other big man, Carlson, put up six points to round out the majority of the Utah scoring.

What’s Next For the Utes?

Utah’s NCAA tournament hopes are still alive as they look to string together some much-needed conference wins down the stretch. The Utes’ next challenge will be a Stanford team that has dropped four straight games. The Stanford Cardinal will head to Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 29, at 6:30 p.m. MST. Utah looks to bounce back in a big way against a formidable conference opponent.

 

[email protected]

@Kylegarr23

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About the Contributors
Kyle Garrison, Sports Writer
Kyle garrison grew up in Spring Lake, Michigan. He moved to Salt Lake City to pursue a degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism. Kyle plans on pursuing broadcast journalism as a career once graduating from the University of Utah. Kyle started with the Chronicle this fall and has loved every minute of working with the team.
Xiangyao Tang, Photo Director
Axe is a photographer and the photo director of the Daily Utah Chronicle. He is from China and is a senior majoring in computer science and minoring in digital photography. Axe joined the Chronicle in August of 2021. In addition to his position at the Chrony, he is also a photo intern for University of Utah Athletics. When he's not writing code, you will find him rock climbing, camping, skiing or hiking with his camera.

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