BOULDER, Colo. (AP) - Lorenzo Bonam’s game-winning floater was halfway down before popping up, briefly resting on the rim and finally falling through.
“Money the whole way,” Bonam beamed.
Bonam arched a go-ahead layup over the outstretched arms of big man Josh Scott with 1.1 seconds remaining after making a pivotal steal and Utah rallied to beat Colorado 56-54 on Friday night.
“They wanted me to get to my strong hand and try to finish or create something for the last shot so we could win,” explained Bonam, who finished with 17 points. “I didn’t even look back at it. … I thought I made it.”
With Bonam’s assistance, the Utes (12-4, 1-2 Pac-12) overcame a nine-point deficit in the second half to snap a two-game Pac-12 skid. Kyle Kuzma added 12 points as he was back in the lineup after hurting his tailbone on a hard fall last Sunday in a loss at California.
George King led Colorado (12-4, 1-2) with 21 points. The Buffaloes have dropped four straight to Utah.
“They made a good play at the end,” Scott said. “Offensively, we could’ve done better, but defensively we’re right there and they made a play at the end.”
Scott posted the slightly better numbers against Jakob Poeltl in a showdown featuring two of the top centers in the country. Scott finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Poeltl had six points and 11 boards. Poeltl didn’t score his first bucket until 14:59 remaining, but he came up with a big bucket down the stretch.
It was Poeltl’s lowest points total since scoring six in 19 minutes during a 105-58 blowout of Delaware State on Dec. 22.
“Right now, I honestly don’t even care anymore about my own performance because we came away with the win,” Poeltl said. “During the game it was kind of like, I was just frustrated with myself, I felt like I could make those shots and I was just missing them.”
Colorado had a nine-point lead in the second half, only to see Utah storm back. The Utes outscored Colorado 11-2 over the final 4:48.
Poeltl gave the Utes a 54-52 lead on a difficult layup with 1:39 remaining. After King tied it on a jumper, the Utes missed a long shot, but played stellar defense and got the ball back when Bonam stole a Josh Fortune pass.
Utah called timeout with 13.1 seconds remaining to set up a final play. Bonam’s number was called and came through.
That play was well worth missing a pregame nap. See, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak designed that particular play at the hotel before the game.
“Lorenzo’s really got a knack for getting there and made a big time play for us,” said Krystkowiak, who was wearing a stylish burgundy blazer. “So it was kind of fitting as much as we talked about it today and as much as we thought about it.
“I stayed wide awake and missed my nap, but it was well worth it.”
THINGS THAT MAKE A COACH GO HMMM
The Buffaloes shot just four free throws. They average 25.1 a game.
“They let us play tonight. That was a physical game,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “We knew it going in, that it was probably going to be a physical game. It was a physical game.
“Twenty-plus free throws a game attempted, and we shoot four tonight? Wow.”
Utah: Senior guard Brandon Taylor had three steals to move into a tie for ninth place in Utah history. He now has 122 in his career. … Junior guard Kenneth Ogbe (groin) didn’t play.
Colorado: Scott started his 105th game at Colorado, tying Donnie Boyce (1991-95) for fifth-most in school history. … There’s no timetable for a decision by senior guard Xavier Johnson, who’s considering whether to return this season or to redshirt after tearing his left Achilles in June.
Utah hosts Oregon on Thursday.
Colorado hosts Oregon State on Wednesday.
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