Buffaloes Host Utah Saturday
ABOUT THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is 14-9 overall and 6-7 in the Pac-12 Conference after splitting its home series with the Oregon schools last week. The Buffaloes dropped a 66-51 decision to Oregon on Feb. 3 before bouncing back with an 86-63 win over Oregon State on Feb. 5.
Colorado's win over Oregon State stopped a three-game skid, which was the program's longest since the end of the 2019-20 season when the Buffaloes dropped five in a row leading into the season shutdown due to the pandemic.
The Buffaloes have dropped five of seven and six of their last nine. Three of those losses have been to ranked teams and five of Colorado's nine overall losses have been to Top 25 opponents.
Despite the recent slide, Colorado has won 37 of 54 (37-18) dating back to the beginning of the 2020-21 season.
The Buffaloes have fared well in tight contests. Thirteen of Colorado's games have been within six points - or two possessions - with four minutes or less remaining in the game. The Buffaloes are 9-4 in those contests.
Colorado is averaging 69.0 points per game while shooting 43.7 percent from the field. The Buffaloes broke out of recent offensive slump against Oregon State scoring a Pac-12 season-high 86 points while setting overall season-bests for field goal shooting (32-56, .571), field goals made, 3-pointers made (14), 3-point percentage (.560) and assists (19). Colorado's 86-point performance had come on the heels of scoring just 94 in the previous two games, which included season-lows in points (43) and shooting percentage (.286) at Washington State.
Colorado's 14 3-pointers against OSU tied for its seventh most in any game and tied for its second most against a conference opponent. The Buffaloes tied a school record with 11 3-pointers in the first half. It's the fifth time the Buffaloes have achieved that number, with the last time in last year's Georgetown game. Colorado's .560 clip (14-25) was its best since hitting .640 (16-25) vs. Georgetown.
Colorado leads the Pac-12 in 3-point accuracy in Pac-12 play at 37.5 percent. The Buffaloes are second in 3-point shooting in all games (.350).
Defensively, the Buffaloes have allowed 66.3 points per game. Colorado has held its opponents under 70 points in 10 of its last 15 games, including a Pac-12 season-low 57 to Arizona State on Jan. 15. The Buffaloes are the second-best rebounding defense team (32.1 rpg) in the Pac-12 and rank fourth in rebound margin (+5.1).
Colorado is 7-0 this year in one of the program's "gold standards" of holding opponents to 40 percent of less from the field and least a plus-8 rebound advantage. Colorado improved to 79-5 in those games after holding Oregon State to 38.3 percent shooting and winning the battle of the boards by 17 (40-23).
Sophomore forward Jabari Walker leads the Buffaloes at 13.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Walker had back-to-back double-doubles in the home games against the Oregon schools last week, increasing his Pac-12 leading total to 11 on the season.
Walker leads the Pac-12 in overall rebounding and defensive boards (6.8 drpg) while ranking ninth in scoring. In Pac-12 games, Walker is averaging 14.6 points and a league-best 9.9 rebounds an outing while shooting 49.3 percent from the field.
The defensive end is where Walker's rebounding numbers really stick out. During Pac-12 play, Walker's 8.2 defensive rebounds per game lead the conference by nearly two and one-half per game. USC's Isaiah Mobley is second at 5.8 drpg. Walker has recorded double figures in defensive rebounds alone, four times, including a season-high 12 at Arizona State.
On the national leaderboard, Walker is 15th in double-doubles, 21st in defensive rebounds (6.8 drpg) and 33rd in overall rebounding.
Senior forward Evan Battey is averaging 11.3 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting a team-best 51.0 percent from the field. Battey had seven points, hitting 3 of 4 from the field, with a pair of assists against Oregon State.
On the Pac-12 charts, Battey is ninth in overall shooting and 20th in scoring. During conference games he is shooting 49 percent from 3-point range (16 for 33), leading all Pac-12 players.
Sophomore guard Keeshawn Barthelemy leads Colorado free throw shooting (.838) and 3-point field goals made and attempted (30 of 88) while ranking second on the team in assists (57) and third scoring at 11.2 points per game. He led Colorado in scoring against Oregon and Oregon State last week, putting up a pair of 16-point performances. Against the Beavers he was 6 of 10 overall from the field and connected on a career-best four 3-point field goals. Barthelemy shot 57 percent from the field (12-21) in the two games, including 46 percent from 3-point range (6-13).
Barthelemy leads the Pac-12 in free throw shooting during conference games at 90 percent hitting 36 of 40. He had a season-best string of 16 consecutive made end at Arizona State and followed that up with 15 in a row which ended at Washington. During this last run, he had a team and career-best 9 for 9 performance at Oregon. The 9 for 9 from the line matches the top performance among all Pac-12 players this season - and best in a conference game.
Sophomore Tristan da Silva is averaging 9.0 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 45 percent. He is third on the team in assists with 38 and dished out a career-best five against Oregon State. Da Silva also had 10 points and six rebounds against the Beavers. He has made 13 of his last 26 from downtown (.500).
Da Silva is Colorado's second-leading scorer during Pac-12 play at 10.5 points per game. He is second in the Pac-12 in 3-point percentage during conference games (.484) and 13th in overall shooting (.487).
Nique Clifford is averaging 6.3 points, leads the Buffaloes in blocked shots (18) and is second in rebounding at 4.7 per game. Clifford, who has started the last seven contests, had a career-high 15 points against Oregon State hitting 6 of 9 from the field. He ranks 10th in the Pac-12 in blocked shots during conference games (1.0 bpg).
K.J. Simpson is averaging 6.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per game and leads the team in assists (61). He logged his first career start at Washington State, matching his career and team-season best with five assists.
Simpson is shooting 87.5 percent from the free throw line during Pac-12 play. He had a team season-best streak of 17 consecutive made come to an end against Oregon.
ABOUT THE UTES: Utah is 9-15 overall and 2-12 in the Pac-12. The Utes have dropped 11 of their last 12 with the lone win coming in an 84-59 rout of Oregon State on Feb. 3. Utah is searching for its first true road win of the season (0-8). Utah averages 70.3 points while shooting 42 percent from the field. The Utes are sixth in the nation in free throw shooting at 79.6 percent. Defensively, Utah allows 69.8 points while opponents shoot 43 percent from the field.
Branden Carlson leads Utah at 13.2 points per game while shooting 53 percent from the field and 86 percent from the free throw line. Both Gach is second on the team at 9.7 points per game, primarily coming off the bench. Marco Anthony is Utah's top rebounder at 7.5 per game while averaging 8.7 points an outing. Rollie Worster paces Utah in assists (80) while averaging 7.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
SERIES RECORDS: This will be the 56th meeting between Colorado and Utah with the Buffaloes holding a 30-25 edge. The teams split last season's series, with the road team taking both contests. Utah gave the Buffaloes their only home loss in 2020-21, a 77-74 decision on Jan. 30. Colorado is 20-7 all-time against Utah in Boulder.