Utah makes a layup with 1.1 seconds left and beats the CU men’s team 56- 54.
UTAH 56, COLORADO 54 Victorious battle of big men not enough as late layup wins war
boulder » Colora dow on the battle of the big men Friday night. But the Buffs are quickly learning that wars of attrition in the Pac- 12 aren’t so easily secured.
Lorenzo Bonam hit the gamewinning layup over the long, outstretched arm of 6- foot- 10 Buffs senior Josh Scott with 1.1 seconds left to give Utah a 56- 54 victory in Colorado’s home league opener.
“They made a play at the end,” a dejected Scott said after the game. “Bottom line.”
The loss dropped Colorado to 12- 4 overall and 1- 2 in the Pac- 12. Utah improved to 12- 4 and 1- 2.
For much of the night, Scott put the clamps on Jakob Poeltl, the Utah 7-footer who was averaging nearly 18 points per game. That defensive success helped CU grind to a 52- 45 lead with 5: 25 remaining in a game far more physical than the four free throws the Buffs attempted would indicate.
But the tough- nosed Utes chipped away. Bonam hit a 3pointer then finished a layup to tie the game 52- 52. And Poeltl’s second basket of the game gave Utah a 54- 52 lead. George King then hit a difficult running shot to tie the game54- 54 with 1: 20 to go.
But CU missed offensive chances from there. Bonam stole the ball on CU’s final possession then scored the tough layup, the ball hanging on the rim for several moments before falling through the net and gutting the Buffs and the Coors Events Center crowd.
“We have to be better,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “I thought our defense was good enough tonight. I thought our rebounding was good enough, defensively. ... But overall, our offense just wasn’t good enough, and we didn’t make enough plays down the stretch. And we have to get better at that.”
Poeltl finished with only six points on 2- of- 8 shooting. His every move and shot were contested by Scott, who proved for at least one night that he is the Pac- 12’ s premier big man.
“I wouldn’t trade Josh Scott for any big man in the country,” Boyle said. “That’s no disrespect to anyone else, Jakob Poeltl included, but Josh Scott is my guy. I love him, and I’ll take him every single night with what he brings — the attitude, the effort, the competitiveness. He’s a stud, and I thought he was terrific.”
Utah took a different approach defensively, consistently sending an extra defender at Scott. Still, the senior tallied a double- double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
With Scott commanding heavy attention, King took advantage. The redshirt sophomore led CU with a team- high 21 points, scoring 13 in the first half when baskets were otherwise difficult to find for the Buffs.
Dom Collier added a scoring punch in the second half, softening the Utah defense with two penetrating drives for layups then nailing a corner 3pointer that gave the Buffs a 41- 34 lead.
Still, victories don’t come easily in the Pac- 12. CU shot just 38 percent from the field and 31 percent from 3- point range, scoring only one bucket in the final five minutes of the game.
“We have to learn to finish,” Boyle said.
CU star Josh Scott tries to score against Utah in Friday night’s Pac- 12 game at the Coors Events Center in Boulder. Scott finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jeremy Papasso, Daily Camera