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Utah (11-14) at Colorado (17-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 21, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Coors Events Center (11,064) -- Boulder, Colorado. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Utah 9-7, Colorado 10-2. Away Record: Utah 2-7, Colorado 4-6. Neutral Record: Utah 0-0, Colorado 3-0. Conference Record: Utah 3-10, Colorado 7-6. Series Record: Colorado leads, 23-16.
GAMES NOTES: The Utah Utes will begin a three-game road trip on Thursday night with a Pac-12 Conference bout with the Colorado Buffaloes at Coors Events Center.
Though it gave nationally ranked Arizona all it could handle on Sunday, Utah still fell, 68-64, for the third time in the last four games. The Utes' second year in the Pac-12 hasn't been going much better than the first as they own just an 11-14 overall record, while managing just three wins in 13 tries against league foes.
A buzzer-beating layup from Arizona State's Evan Gordon sank Colorado in overtime in the Buffaloes' last contest. Colorado had been rolling before the setback with wins in six of its previous seven outings. There is still hope for the season for Colorado as it sports a solid 17-8 mark though it will need a strong finish to improve on a modest 7-6 league mark.
In a grueling matchup earlier this season Utah pulled out a 58-55 victory against Colorado at the Huntsman Center. Colorado had won the previous five contest and leads the all-time series by a 23-16 margin.
Though they trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, the Utes used a 14-3 run midway through the period to tie things at 51-51 with Arizona. However the Wildcats would score the next five points and UTah never pulled even again.
By struggling to get much going on the offensive end the Utes have doomed themselves this season. Utah is the second-worst scoring team in the league (64.7 ppg) which has wiped out the strong defensive efforts the squad has put forth. In fact UTah still owns a positive scoring margin (+2.5) while holding teams to just 38.9 percent shooting. UTah hasn't controlled the boards over well either ranking second to last in the PAc012 (35 pg) in the category. Jarred DuBois (12.1 ppg) is shooting just about 40 percent from the field as the top scoring option on the roster. Jordan Loveridge (11.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Jason Washburn (11.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg) have been solid up front but haven't shown an ability to carry the team on a consistent basis.
Colorado trailed by six points with 1:19 left in regulation against Arizona State but rallied behind a pair of free-throws from Spencer Dinwiddie, a jumper from Askia Booker and the game-tying dunk from Xavier Johnson with two seconds left. There were six lead changes in the extra session with the final one coming on Gordon's layup which was just nine seconds after a lay-in from Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie (15.4 ppg) is the leading scorer on the roster for Colorado and has really picked the right time to heat up. The 6-foot-5 guard has scored at least 21 points in each of the last three games, while reaching double figures in nine of the last 10 contests. Booker (13.6 ppg) was the Buffaloes' leading scorer early on in the season but his cold shooting (.386) has had him dropping on the scoring list since league play began. Josh Scott (11.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg) isn't a primary scoring option but by shooting 50.9 percent from the field is a fine complimentary piece. Andre Roberson (10.3 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 2.2 spg) is the nation's leading rebounder as well as one of the best defenders in the Pac-12.
Other than the setback against Arizona State, Colorado has been almost impossible to handle at home. Utah doesn't have the type of depth to hang with the Buffaloes in this contest.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado 70, Utah 63
02/21 10:32:52 ET
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