During a quiet moment this past week, Tad Boyle’s wife, Ann, causally remarked that it seemed as if the week was passing quickly.
Her husband politely disagreed. It was at times an interminable wait for Boyle and his Colorado Buffaloes to get back on the floor after a gut-wrenching defeat last week. And, evidently, there was a fair amount of simmering frustration the Buffaloes had been dealing with over the past week.
The Buffs quickly, and emphatically, took that frustration out on Utah.
Exactly one week after a late collapse against Oregon State turned a sure win into a bitter defeat, the 25th-ranked Buffs jumped on the visiting Utes early and never let up, posting a 91-52 win in a Pac-12 Conference battle Sunday afternoon at the CU Events Center.
The Buffs improved to 13-3 overall and 2-1 in the Pac-12 going into their first league road series of the season, which begins Thursday at Arizona State.
“I told them in the locker room that this has been the longest week of my coaching life that I can remember,” Boyle said. “My wife told me on Friday, ‘Boy, this week has gone quick.’ I said, ‘Well, maybe it has for you, but it hasn’t for me.’ It was getting that taste out of your mouth. And I think our players felt the same way.”
CU used an early 14-0 run to build a 16-2 lead and never looked back, shooting a season-best .594 from the field while four players scored in double figures. Defensively, the Buffs harassed the Utes from the opening tip and held sophomore Timmy Allen, who entered the game with a Pac-12-leading scoring average of 21.1 points per game, to a season-low seven points on a 2-for-11 effort from the floor.
Additionally, Utah’s Both Gach and Rylan Jones, who boasted a combined scoring average of nearly 24 points entering the game, were held to a combined 5-for-14 with 13 total points. Factor in a dominant 42-24 rebounding advantage, including 14 offensive rebounds by the Buffs that turned into a 14-4 edge on second-chance points, and it’s understandable why Boyle described the effort “as complete a performance by our team all year.”
“Obviously the Oregon State loss was frustrating and a disappointment for us,” said CU point guard McKinley Wright IV. “We had a week to prep for these guys. We took advantage of that. We wanted to just respond well. And coach was telling us the same thing. We answered the bell.”
CU built a 44-22 halftime lead and, unlike the collapse over the final seven-plus minutes a week earlier against Oregon State, the Buffs didn’t step off the gas pedal, gradually extending the lead throughout the second half.
Evan Battey posted his second double-double of the season and the third of his career, grabbing seven of his 10 rebounds off the offensive glass while also finishing with 17 points. Junior forward Tyler Bey recorded his seventh double-double of the season and the 26th of his career with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Wright flirted with a triple-double before finishing with 16 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds.
“You outrebound a team by 20, and you have 17 assists to nine turnovers, and you execute the defensive game plan the way our guys did tonight, it just shows you what the ceiling of this team is going to be,” Boyle said. “That’s what we’re going to need as we go through this league, night in and night out. The defense and rebounding has to be a constant. The shooting is going to go up, it’s going to go down. The free throws are going to go up, they’re going to go down. Sometimes you’re going to make them, sometimes you’re not. This team took a step forward tonight. I’m really, really proud of them.”
What went right: CU shot a season-high .594, outrebounded Utah 42-24, and committed only nine turnovers
What went wrong: Very little, though of Utah’s 24 total rebounds, 10 were on the offensive glass.
Star of the game: Evan Battey. There was plenty of credit to go around, but Battey’s seven offensive rebounds included four putback baskets, and he finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds for his third career double-double.
What’s next: The Buffs play their first Pac-12 road game on Thursday at Arizona State (7 p.m. MT, ESPN2).
No. 25 Colorado 91, Utah 52
UTAH (10-5, 1-2 Pac-12)Gach 3-9 0-0 7, Allen 2-11 3-4 7, Battin 3-7 1-2 8, Jantunen 2-4 0-0 4, Jones 2-5 1-1 6, Brenchley 2-8 2-2 6, Plummer 1-3 0-0 3, Carlson 1-2 0-0 2, Reininger 1-3 1-3 4, Thioune 1-1 0-0 2, Ballstaedt 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 19-54 8-12 52.COLORADO (13-3, 2-1)Wright 6-7 1-1 16, Schwartz 6-13 2-2 14, Battey 8-11 1-2 17, Bey 5-9 1-3 11, Gatling 1-5 0-0 3, Kountz 3-6 0-0 6, Daniels 3-4 0-0 8, Siewert 2-5 2-2 7, Strating 0-0 1-2 1, Parquet 2-2 0-0 4, Walton 2-2 0-0 4, Dombek 0-0 0-0 0, Ersek 0-0 0-0 0, McQuade 0-0 0-0 0, Ryder 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-64 8-12 91.Halftime — Colorado 44-22. 3-point goals — Utah 6-17 (Ballstaedt 1-1, Jones 1-1, Reininger 1-1, Plummer 1-2, Battin 1-4, Gach 1-4, Jantunen 0-1, Brenchley 0-3), Colorado 7-18 (Wright 3-3, Daniels 2-3, Siewert 1-3, Gatling 1-4, Bey 0-1, Kountz 0-1, Schwartz 0-3). Rebounds — Utah 24 (Allen 5), Colorado 42 (Bey 12). Assists — Utah 8 (Jones 3), Colorado 17 (Wright 8). Total fouls — Utah 14, Colorado 13. A — 8,017.