SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Taking care of the ball has been a weakness for Utah all season. When the Utes opened the game with three quick turnovers, it felt like the same chapter unfolding in a familiar story once again.
Utah changed the script by beating Colorado at its own game. The Utes held the Buffaloes in check with stifling defense in a 76-60 victory to open Pac-12 play on Sunday.
Colorado withered under the pressure Utah applied on the defensive end. The Utes scored 20 points off of 15 Buffaloes turnovers to break open a close game after halftime. Utah, on the other hand, committed just 10 turnovers - only three after halftime.
''Everybody has their share in not turning the ball over and trying to be solid (on offense),'' Utah forward Kyle Kuzma said. ''Everybody just has to be solid. We did a great job today. We just need to build on this effort.''
Utah (10-3) proved equally tough for Colorado to deal with on the offensive end. The Utes shot 18 of 31 (58.1 percent) from the field after halftime to pull away.
Derrick White scored 15 points and George King added 11 to lead Colorado, which could not overcome the combination of turnovers or poor defense. It sent the Buffaloes to their second loss in the state of Utah this season. Colorado (10-4) also lost to BYU 79-71 in December.
Utah committed three turnovers in the first 2 1/2 minutes and the Buffaloes sprinted out to a 10-2 lead when Derrick White turned one Utah turnover into a layup and Xavier Johnson turned another into a dunk on back-to-back possessions.
Colorado went cold on offense midway through the first half, missing 8 of 10 shots over a seven-minute stretch. Utah cashed in with a 13-2 run and took a 27-22 lead on back-to-back layups from Sedrick Barefield and Collette.
“Really, really disappointing,” Buffs head coach Tad Boyle said during his post-game interview with Mark Johnson on 760 AM. “I really thought our team was ready to play after the way we practiced, after coming back from break. Man, we've had great practices, great energy, great karma going. But we do not play how we practice and we have to figure that out because offensively we didn't move the ball."
The Buffaloes committed four turnovers over the final 4:17 before halftime and then missed 7-of-9 shots to open the second half.
The Utes scored baskets on their first three possessions of the half, including a 3 and a layup by Bonam, to extend their lead to 43-29.
''We didn't guard,'' White said. ''We didn't follow the game plan. We knew the sets that they were going to run and they just carved us up. That was the big thing. We didn't guard nobody.''
Utah made six straight shots, culminating in back-to-back baskets from JoJo Zamora, to take a 62-39 lead with 10:56 remaining.
"We weren't good enough tonight in any phase of the game, you name it, shooting, taking care of the ball," Boyle said. "We have four numbers we look at, two on offense and two of defense; we didn't hit any of them. We were 0-for-4, so didn't deserve to win this game. I thought it was a winnable game so I am disappointed, but look, we have to grow. No reason to feel sorry for us.”
Colorado: The Buffaloes lost their sixth consecutive game to Utah dating to the 2013-14 season. Four of those losses have been by double digit margins.
Utah: The Utes won their Pac-12 opener for just the second time in six seasons. Beating Colorado also gave Utah its first victory of the season against an RPI Top-100 opponent, something the Utes will need plenty more of to offset a weak non-conference strength of schedule.
Colorado is at Arizona State on Thursday night.
Utah is at Arizona on Thursday night.