Utes struggle offensively and lose to Colorado, 71-63

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BOULDER, Colo. (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Runnin’ Utes (15-13, 9-7) dropped its final road contest of the regular season, falling 71-63 to the Colorado Buffaloes (17-11, 8-8) Saturday evening at CU Events Center.

Colorado’s Tyler Bey scored 15 of his team-high 17 points and pulled down seven boards while guiding Colorado to a 36-26 lead through the first 20 minutes of play. CU opened the game on an 8-0 run and would later outscore the Utes, 23-12, over the final nine minutes of the first period to take the nine-point lead into the break.

Both teams would have a five-minute scoring drought in the first half. CU would go 5:27 without a bucket and allowed Utah to erase the 8-0 deficit and take its first lead, 9-8, at the 12:44 mark. Utah would go up 14-12 with 11:07 to play, but CU countered with a 9-0 run and keeping Utah off the scoreboard for a total of 5:08.

Both teams combined to drain just four three-pointers in the first half, with Utah shooting less than 20 percent (3-16) and CU shooting less than 15 percent (1-7). CU would go zero for its first six shots from downtown, but nailed a buzzer-beater at the half for its first three-pointer of the game.

Utah’s first five points of the second half came via the free throw line, but the Utes still managed to cut the halftime deficit to four points with a 9-4 run. CU countered though, scoring 12 of the game’s next 17 points to go back up double-digits. The Utes and Buffs would trade buckets throughout the majority the half, allowing the home team to never relinquish its lead.

Utah finished the game shooting .393 (24-61) from the field overall, but were limited to a season-low .192 (4-26) effort from downtown on the evening. Despite the woes from beyond the arc, the Utes did manage to drain a season-high .909 (10-11) effort from the charity stripe.

“Not making shots, that was a big part of it,” Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “We were pretty dialed in for the most part. When you are playing in the 60’s on the road in this conference, going into the last media timeout, that is where you want to be. But, it takes three phases to win a game. You have to have some offense, play defense – which we checked that box – and we out-rebounded them, which is hard to do here against a Colorado team. Give Colorado credit, they played really well.”

Sedrick Barefield led the way for the Utes, scoring a game-high 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting overall. He drained a pair of three-pointers on the night and moved into sole possession of sixth-place on the school’s all-time single-season list for three-pointers made in a season. He now has 83 three’s made on the year.

Donnie Tillman got his second straight start and poured in 14 points, while Both Gach added 12 points. Timmy Allen made his way back into the line-up following a two-game hiatus and scored 11 points. Jayce Johnson tied his season-high for the third time, leading the way on the boards with 13 rebounds.

CU would go onto shoot .481 (25-52) from the field overall and were led by Bey’s 17-point effort. He also managed to pull down 10 boards for a double-double on the evening.

Utah is back in action next week with its final two home games of the regular season. The Utes will first host USC next Thursday, May 7, and will then close out the week hosting UCLA on Saturday, May 9, for Senior Day.

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