The Utes went and got a win without Devon Daniels last night in Boulder, which frankly, was a bit of a shocker to me. Coach Larry Krystkowiak released a simple statement before the game:
“Devon Daniels has been suspended from the team indefinitely, due to conduct detrimental to the team”
Of course, we don’t know what got Daniels suspended, but after watching the game last night, I wonder if the suspension of the talented freshman guard got his teammates’ attention. Last night, the Utes got a nice win on the road against a surging CU team, that beat Oregon in Boulder just a couple of weeks ago, which was Utah’s 7th straight win in the series. Utah played a lot more disciplined against the Buffs, which is something we haven’t seen in the last couple of weeks. Only 10 turnovers from the Utes was huge, especially for a team that was turning the ball over 15+ times a game over the past couple of weeks. Also, shooting 25-of-32 from the free throw line was huge. Those are two areas that have cost Utah over the second half of the conference season.
Utah also shot 55% from the floor, while CU only shot 44%, and Utah played a lot more focused on that side of the ball. Utah did allow Derrick White to drop 31 points, but unlike against Oregon State, they were able to hold a lead in the waning minutes of the game. Against OSU, 3 turnovers in the final minute, whereas against CU, Kyle Kuzma was able to find David Collette for some big baskets.
Between the frustration of their losses last week, and seeing a starter getting suspended, the team may have been on notice. Now the team has some time to rest and get ready for the final two games of the regular season.
Will we see Daniels the remainder of the season? I’m not so sure, especially with such a short statement from Coach K. Regardless, Utah needs to continue the strong play from last night through the end of the season, and into the Pac-12 tournament.