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Runnin’ Utes top Colorado in Pac-12 opener, 76-60

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NCAA Basketball: Prairie View A&M at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Things weren’t looking good for the Utes, as they fell behind by a 10-2 score early on in their game against Colorado at the Huntsman Center on Sunday afternoon, fortunately they were able to turn it around and put together arguably their best performance of the season. The Utes, who have been struggling to take care of the ball for the last couple of weeks, turned the ball over only 10 times, while dishing out 18 assists. Whenever the Utes have done that over the last couple of seasons, not surprisingly they have success. On offense, they were passing with a purpose and had very little one-on-one action. They were finding the open man on almost every possession. That showed in the box score not only with the 18 assists, but also the almost five guys in double figures. Utah started to put some distance between themselves and CU at the end of the first half, with a 7 point lead. They really put the hammer down at the beginning of the 2nd half with a quick 7-0 run to build the lead to 14, and they never looked back from there.

The Utes were led by Lorenzo Bonam, who probably played one of his best games of the season with 15 points and only one turnover. Bonam has struggled with turning over the ball this season. David Collette and Kyle Kuzma, who returned from his sprained ankle after missing 2 games, each netted 14 points. JoJo Zamora had 10 points, and went on his own personal little tear in the second half that really put the game out of reach for the Utes. Sedric Barefield didn’t quite get into double figures with 9 points, but he did have 8 assists and just 2 turnovers. Sedric has also struggled with ball security in the past couple of games. His jumper has left him a bit, but I’d expect him to shoot himself out of his little funk.

The Utes showcased their length and athleticism in this game, getting out into passing lanes, with 8 steals, tipping passes, and getting easy points in transition. We saw some highlight dunks from Kuzma and Bonam as a result of the good defense and quick ball movement. It was fun to watch, and hopefully a sign of what’s to come for the Utes.

Utah now moves on to take on Arizona in Tucson, Utah’s only time playing Arizona in the regular season this year. The ‘Cats demolished Stanford on Sunday, but have struggled at times this season as well.