BOULDER, Colo.—It took all forty minutes, but the Utah Utes (12-4, 1-2 Pac-12) scrapped their way to a 56-54 win over the Colorado Buffaloes (12-4, 1-2 Pac-12), courtesy of Lorenzo Bonam’s buzzer-beating layup.
Utah finished the game on a 13-4 run, their late switch to a zone defense forcing Colorado to miss six of their last eight shots. However, the turning point of the game came around the ten-minute mark in the second half. Colorado’s Tre’Shaun Fletcher made a three-pointer to put the Buffaloes up 44-35, with the Utes’ momentum waning. Senior forward Jordan Loveridge made two consecutive three-pointers and assisted a Kyle Kuzma dunk to keep the Utes within three.
The Utes were in dire need of a win after a disappointing 0-2 start to Pac-12 play, with a 70-68 loss to Stanford and 71-58 loss at Cal last weekend. Jakob Poeltl struggled with foul trouble in the first half, and was limited to six points by Colorado’s veteran big man Josh Scott.
With Poeltl (relatively) neutralized, the Utes needed to rely on strong guard play, and they got just that. Bonam’s late score was part of a 17-point, five-rebound effort. Bonam shot 7-of-12 from the floor. Brandon Taylor dished in seven points on three made field goals.
The champion effort of the night may go to Kuzma, who was questionable coming into the game with a bruised tailbone, sustained at Cal. He had 15 points on 4-of-5 shooting as well as 4-of-5 from the free throw line.
The Utes will head home next week to face Oregon at the Huntsman Center. Tipoff against the Ducks on Thursday will be at 8:00, with pregame coverage starting at 6:00 on ESPN700.
Highlights of tonight’s win:
Larry Krystkowiak Postgame:
Lorenzo Bonam Postgame:
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