Utah had lost seven of their last nine against Colorado. The Utes hadn't ever beaten the Buffaloes in Colorado since joining the conference for the 2010-2011 season. Saturday night in the Coors Event Center, Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak got his first win in Boulder, 79-51, and his first regular season sweep of the Buffs.
The Runnin' Utes did a lot of their offensive damage from downtown, hitting 13-of-22 from three-point range (59.1 percent). Utah was led by point guard Brandon Taylor's game-high 18 points on 6-of-9 from deep. (Taylor also dished out six assists with only one turnover.) Taylor ended the first half with a triple, then started the second with another to really start blowing the game open.
"We had to come out with an edge and come out offensively and defensively on point," Taylor said afterward.
Utah's shooters were so dialed in that backup center Dallin Bachynski hit his first three of the season. With the clock winding down, Taylor was bracketed and had to pass to Bachynski at the top of the key. Big Bach raised and calmly drained the triple. Six different Utes hit at least one trifecta, including freshman forward Kyle Kuzma's 2-of-3.
Utah junior forward Jordan Loveridge chipped in 11 points, including 2-of-3 from behind the three-point arc, and a game-high 10 rebounds. Guard Delon Wright added nine points, seven rebounds, and six assists (also only one turnover).
As a team, the Utes shot 57.8 percent from the field (26-of-45), while holding Colorado to 29.8 percent (14-of-47). Worse yet for the Buffaloes, while Utah was burning up the nets, Colorado could barely find the basket from outside, hitting just 1-of-9 (11.1 percent).
Utah out-rebounded Colorado 33-20, but the Utes gave up eight offensive rebounds to their three.
Without leading scorer Askia Booker, Colorado struggled on the offensive end of the floor. At the first half break, CU starters were held to just five points... combined. In fact, the Buffs' starters finished the game with 20 points combined, meaning Taylor nearly outscored Colorado starters all by himself. CU simply didn't have the firepower to keep up with the sizzling shooting of Taylor and the Utes.
Colorado center/forward Josh Scott played for the first time in seven games and put up 11 points, seven rebounds, one assist, and one block. Scott didn't start the game, and it was clear early on that Colorado couldn't handle Utah center Jakob Poeltl without him. Poeltl dominated the paint on both ends until Scott entered the game. The Austrian 7-foot freshman still finished the game with seven points, eight rebounds, and two blocks in only 24 minutes.
Colorado guard Domique Collier pitched in 11 points and four rebounds, while forward Xavier Johnson contributed eight points and four rebounds. Johnson also threw a wild elbow to the jaw of Taylor, who ended his night with the tooth rattler. (Taylor said afterward that he was fine.)
Utah improves to 18-4 overall, 8-2 in the Pac-12 and pulls into a first place tie with Arizona, who dropped a stunner in Tempe earlier in the day. The Utes' have not just been winning games in the conference, they've been destroying teams on a regular basis. Utah's average margin of victory in the Pac-12 this season is now 24.6 points.
Utah has won their last two games on the road and are 3-2 in the Pac-12 away from the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The bad new for the conference is that the No. 13 team in the land is 13-0 in Salt Lake City, with the Northern California schools visiting next week. First up is Stanford (15-7, 6-4) on Thursday at 7 p.m. MT.