Utah pulls away from Colorado to win 75-64
SALT LAKE CITY — Jordan Loveridge scored 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting and Delon Wright also had 21 to lead Utah to a 75-64 victory over Colorado on Saturday.
The Utes (19-9, 8-8 Pac-12) shot 70.8 percent (17-of-24) from the field in the second half to pull away from the Buffaloes. Josh Scott had 17 points and Xavier Johnson added 10 for Colorado (20-9, 9-7), which lost to Utah for just the second time in the last nine games between the two rivals.
The Buffaloes shot just 39.6 percent (21-of-53) from the field and were undone by 11 second-half turnovers.
After trailing by as many eight late in the first half, Utah shut down Colorado’s offense before halftime. The Utes held the Buffaloes without a field goal over a stretch of 8:14 spanning both halves.
It allowed Utah to finally claim its first lead early in the second half. The Utes scored 17 unanswered points — culminating in a 3-point play by Wright off his own steal — to take a 39-30 lead less than four minutes into the second half.
Scott broke the ice for Colorado with a jumper, but Utah tacked on a couple of more baskets — punctuated by Loveridge drilling a 3-pointer — to increase its lead to 45-32 with 13:52 remaining.
Colorado missed 10-of-11 shots and Utah forced the Buffaloes to commit eight turnovers during that decisive 23-2 run.
The Buffaloes cut Utah’s lead to nine points three different times and pulled within 59-50 on Xavier Johnson’s 3-point play with 6:48 left. But the Utes pressed on the gas pedal and pulled away from Colorado. Utah scored baskets on three straight possessions and took a 68-51 lead with 3:49 remaining when Wright fed Princeton Onwas for an alley-oop dunk and then hit three free throws a minute later.
Dustin Thomas scored three quick baskets to help Colorado sprint out to an early 7-2 lead. Utah had a difficult time cutting into the lead because the Buffaloes seemingly had an answer every time the Utes threatened to make a run.
Back-to-back dunks from Dallin Bachynski helped the Utes pull within three at 11-8. Xavier Johnson responded with his own pair of back-to-back baskets to push Colorado’s lead back to six at 16-10.
Utah tied it for the first time at 18-18 on four straight free throws from Onwas and Jeremy Olsen. That set the stage for back-to-back baskets from Eli Saltzer that fueled a 7-0 spurt to put the Buffaloes back in front. Colorado extended its lead to 30-22 on a 3-pointer from Jaron Hopkins with 4:35 left before halftime.
The Utes got back into the game by finally shutting down Colorado’s offense as the first half wound down. Colorado was held without a field goal over the final 4:35 of the half.
Utah took advantage by finally getting things going on the offensive end. The Utes tied it up at 30-30 on a 3-pointer from Loveridge with 1:42 remaining before halftime, positioning themselves to explode out of the gate in the second half.
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