SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - The University of Colorado men's basketball team fell short of completing the second largest comeback in school history after trailing by as many as 22 points and eventually falling to Utah, 58-55 Saturday afternoon at the Huntsman Center.
Spencer Dinwiddie led the Buffs (14-7, 4-5 Pac-12) with 18 points, while Andre Roberson recorded his 34th career double-double with 10 points, and 12 rebounds, respectively.
"These are the games that you have to prepare yourself for, whether it is on the road or it could happen at home, and we didn't handle it very well," said CU head coach Tad Boyle on 850-KOA radio. "We worry about the wrong things."
Utah (10-11, 2-7) took advantage of sloppy play by Colorado, who committed 10 turnovers in the first half, which marked a Pac-12 Conference high this season. It was the second straight game that CU committed 10 miscues in the first half. Comparatively, Utah only had two turnovers at the break.
The Utes ended the half on a 10-2 run to take a 27-23 lead into the locker room. The Utes also benefited from a solid performance from its reserves that outscored the Buffs bench 14-0 in the half.
However, CU did grab seven offensive rebounds in the first half which also marked a Pac-12 Conference high this season. Askia Booker and Josh Scott each pulled down two offensive rebounds, while Roberson had six defensive rebounds in the first half.
Roberson has recorded a double-double in all four games of his career against the Utes. He now moves into sixth place all-time in career double-doubles at CU with his mark of 34.
Yet, the second half started as bad as the first half ended for the Buffs as Utah went on a 9-0 run until Colorado forward Xavier Johnson made a layup to cut the lead to 40-27 with 14:12 remaining; however, that didn't slow down Utah.
Instead the Utes went on yet another 9-0 run and seized all momentum. During that span Colorado head coach Tad Boyle received a technical, granting Utah a pair of free throws and the ball which the Utes converted into four points and a 46-27 lead.
Moments later, Utah gained its largest lead of the game of 22 points after a made three-pointer by Cedric Martin with 12:28 remaining to take a 49-27 advantage.
Sabatino Chen cut the lead to four points after a made three-pointer of his own with 2:33 remaining in the game. The following possession Utah turned the ball over on a 10-second backcourt violation.
Dinwiddie then made one of two free throws after being fouled on a layup attempt to cut the deficit to 54-51. After another Utah turnover, Roberson scored on a layup to make it a one point game, the closest CU had been since 2:36 remaining in the first half.
Colorado had one last chance to send the game into overtime, trailing by three, but Dinwiddie's last second three-point attempt bounced off the backboard.
"It's a disappointing loss in a lot of different ways," Boyle said. "I'm disappointed in myself, and I take this loss as a head coach, if your team is not ready to play for the first 32 minutes of the game then you have to take a look at yourself in the mirror."
The largest deficit a CU team has ever overcome was 23 points when the Buffs completed an unbelievable comeback to beat Kansas State, 63-60, on February 26, 1955. It would have also been the largest second half comeback win in school history (18 points vs. Texas, Feb. 26, 2011, 91-89).
For Utah, it was the first win over Colorado since Dec. 30, 2004 when the Utes took down the Buffs 80-48 in Salt Lake City. The win snaps a five-game losing streak against CU.
Saturday afternoon, the Utes honored their former and late-head coach Rick Majerus, who passed away last December (2012). The Runnin' Utes honored the Majerus family with a special halftime tribute. Coach Majerus' famous sweater was retired into the rafters of the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
CU continues its three-game road trip to Oregon taking on the Ducks, Thursday, Feb. 7 (8 p.m., MST) and the Beavers (Sunday, Feb. 10, 7 pm.).