"It doesn't matter how good a team is; how prepared they are or how good a coach is, we all have to come together as a team to work against everything," Colorado senior forward Michel Morandais said after the game. "This is the type of game that lets all of us know that we've got to get open and stay in our offense no matter what kind of defense the other team's playing."
Colorado saw only three scorers post double figures, as the Buffs hit less than 39 percent from the field as a team (not to mention a horrid 2-16 from beyond the arc). Junior forward David Harrison led the way in the losing effort by posting 18, 10 of which came in an uncharacteristically successful effort from the free throw line.
The last of Harrison's three blocked shots in the game, a swat of freshman guard Justin Hawkins' floater on the baseline with just under 7:00 remaining in the first half, broke Colorado's all-time blocked shots record, previously held by Ted Allen (159 from, 1992-95). The junior is climbing the charts in several of the program's all-time categories, including: scoring (25th with 951 points), rebounding (20th with 521), and games started (16th with 60).
Allen was supportive of his predecessors' accomplishment, knowing that his was a record which couldn't have been attained by just anyone.
"It's an honor to have a player of his caliber break my record," the 6-10 former forward said in a statement released through the University Tuesday. "He's going to go on and have a long career in the NBA."
Despite the end result, Colorado wasted no time in attempting to take Utah out of the game early.
Senior forward Lamar Harris lifted the Buffaloes in the game's opening minutes, accounting for each of Colorado's six points its first three possessions. Meanwhile, the Buff defense allowed three different Utah players points, including a three-pointer from senior Nick Jacobson just over two minutes in to help lift the Utes to an early 7-4 lead.
CU responded with an 8-2 run, helped by a transition dunk by Harris, followed by a long two by senior Blair Wilson on the ensuing possession, lifting Colorado to a four-point, 13-9 advantage with 15:11 remaining.
The Ute offense hit a slump in the last half of the first, scoring just seven points over the final nine minutes, while allowing the Buffaloes enough separation to maintain a comfortable lead as halftime neared. Scores on back-to-back possessions by Harrison and freshman point guard Marcus Hall made the CU advantage 10 with just under 5:00 to go.
Utah was able to finagle its deficit to within single digits, but a three-quarter court transition dunk by Harris with 2:13 left in the half brought the crowd of 5,415 to its feet, prompting CU to a slim but authoritative 32-31 halftime lead.
Utah owned the tempo of the game coming out of halftime, as Rick Majerus' squad went on a 14-2 run which saw five different Utes put points on the scoreboard, including old-fashioned three-point plays on consecutive possessions by sophomores Richard Cheney and Bryant Markson, suddenly lifting the Utah advantage to 44-34 with 15:11 on the clock.
Harrison began to chip away at the Utah lead from the line, hitting six consecutive free throws in a five minute period as the Buffs found themselves in an early bonus situation, pulling Colorado to within 51-44 at the 11:50 media timeout.
CU continued to claw its way back into the contest, only to be once again turned away by a Utah team hungry for its eighth win of the season.
The Buffs brought the margin to seven with a Glenn Eddy three, only to see Utah reclaim a double-digit advantage in the next minute, as Andrew Bogut and Cheney scored on consecutive transition possessions, bringing the Utah lead back up to 63-52 with 7:04 left.
Colorado scored just two points over the next 5:50; a pair of Jayson Obazuaye free throws, as Utah closed out the win with a lethal 19-4 run.
"It should be an eye opener. It should certainly be a wake-up call. It should put things in perspective," CU head coach Ricardo Patton said in his press conference after the game. "Sometimes when you haven't had a great deal of success you start reading the clippings and you start thinking that you're better than you actually are. We won 16 straight because I think we played some pretty solid defense. Tonight we didn't do that."
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