Joel Davidson, UteZone

Utes beat Buffs to open Pac-12 play

Utah started 2017 in strong fashion, with a blowout win over Colorado

After a sluggish start, Utah basketball found their groove and took care of business against Colorado 76-60.

The Buffaloes got out to an early lead going up 10-2 on Utah before they started to respond and dig their way back into the game. The Utes finally got their first lead late in the first half after Sedrick Barefield had a three point play off of a foul putting the Utes up 25-22 and they never looked back.

“I think it was our effort,” said junior forward David Collette who was seven of 11 from the field and contributed 14 total points to the Utes’ effort. “I don’t know if there were jitters or anything being the first game but I think it took us a while to get settled in and get used to it. Once we did, we took off.”

One area where head coach Larry Krystkowiak has not been pleased with his team so far this season has been in the assist to turnover ratio saying he thinks guys have been thirsty for scoring points rather than taking care of the ball. However, point guard Sedrick Barefield had a good night for the Utes in that department setting a new season high for himself with eight assists.

“I think our point guards are a little bit embarrassed when they look at assist to turnover,” Krystkowiak said. “Even though Sed only had a handful of games, I think he was five assists, 15 turnovers. That is not what you are looking for. He came out tonight. That is the kind of ratio you are looking for.”

Another big contributor on the night for Utah was junior forward Kyle Kuzma who the Utes missed during their tournament in Hawaii sitting out with an ankle injury. Kuzma added 14 total points, two of which were statement dunks that drew roaring applause from the crowd.

“I was kind of angry I couldn’t play in Hawaii,” Kuzma said. “I really thought we could have won and took advantage of some things. It was good to come back. I am not really 100% right now but it is a start and I am glad we beat [Colorado] by 16.”

Next up the Utes will be traveling to Tuscon to take on the Arizona Wildcats on January 5, before heading back home to host USC in a week.

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