You could see the Colorado Buffaloes kicking themselves mentally Friday night while Utah players and coaches were patting Lorenzo Bonam on the back.
Colorado's offense faltered - make that disappeared - in the final six minutes opening the door for Bonam to lead the Utes to a come-from-behind 56-54 win and avoid an 0-3 start to Pac-12 play after being picked third in the conference at the start of the season.
— Utah Athletics (@utahathletics) January 9, 2016
Yes, that's Bonam making all the key plays in the final three minutes for the Utes with a little help from the careless Buffaloes who have had problems all year taking care of the basketball. Colorado threw it way late throwing away a victory in the process. The Buffs scored just four points in the final seven minutes.
With the Utes down by five with just under four minutes to play in a defensive struggle, Bonam made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to two. Less than a minute later, Bonam made a steal and layup to tie the game, Bonam then helped give the Utes the lead with two minutes remaining when he grabbed an offensive rebound off his own miss and fed big man Jakob Poeltl for a go-ahead bucket.
Colorado tied it again on a jumper from George King, who led the Buffs with 21 points, but Bonam intercepted a pass along the baseline from Josh Fortune, giving the Utes the final shot. Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak is no dummy. He stayed with the hot hand after a timeout. Bonam drove down the left side of the lane and hit a runner over the outstretched hands of Buffaloes' center Josh Scott for the game-winner.
Bonam's perfromance was huge because it came on a night when none of the Utes shot the ball particularly well and Poeltl was a nonfactor offensively until deep into the second half. Poeltl is averaging almost 18 points a game but was held scoreless in the first half and finished with six points and 11 rebounds.
The Utes are able to breathe a sigh of relief going home to host Oregon and Oregon State next week with a valuable conference road win and a 1-2 mark in the league. It's a much better place to be than 0-3 in the conference.
Colorado has now lost three of its past four, not coincidentally a much tougher stretch than it had faced earlier in the season. This one will sting for a little while in Boulder.
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