2022-2023 has been one of Tad Boyle’s most disappointing seasons since he took over as the Colorado Buffaloes head caoch, but he managed to close the regular season on a strong note, as his squad wallopped the Utah Utes at home.

The first half was all Colorado.

The game opened with a bit of a back-and-forth sparring match that positioned the score at 6-7, with Utah in front, but that was a pyrrhic victory considering Tristan Da Silva — Colorado’s best player and leading scorer — hadn’t even checked into the game yet.

Tad Boyle opted to start some of the Colorado Buffaloes’ seniors in favor of Da Silva, because this was ‘Senior Night’ and the last game of the regular season, and because Da Silva suffered a sprained ankle in the Buffaloes’ last outing.

The moment he finally entered the game, the contest changed drastically.

CU quickly unfurled a 9-0 run, with Da Silva contributing six. Then, when the Utes quickly retorted with a 5-0 run, the Buffs made it a non-factor by constructing a 5-0 run of their own, as Da Silva came up with a tough putback slam, and Nique Clifford hit a rainbow-arching three-point shot.

As Utah leaned on their seven-foot star center, Ben Carlsen, they slowed reeled Colorado in, whittling a 20-12 lead down to a 25-19 lead, before Da Silva led yet another run for the Buffaloes.

He parted two defenders after bobbling a pass under the rim, and then helped create scores on the next two offensive possessions (a Lawson Lovering slam and a Luke O’Brien buzzer-beater), to close the half on a 6-2 run, and give CU their largest lead of the game, at 33-21.

That momentum carried into the start of the third quarter, with two big three-point shots, which helped grow the lead to 16, though the Utes refused to stay on the mat for long.

Utah starting guard Gabe Madsen, in his first game in five weeks, suddenly caught fire from three. The Utes started the game 2-for-16 from behind the arc, only for Madsen to connect on back-to-back-to-back possessions, slicing the Buffs lead in half, from 16 to eight, as the game sat at 44-36.

From that point on though, neither team was able to construct a run, or pull the margin much in either direction.

Julian Hammond would put on a dazzing display of his handles, and sink an open jumper, only for Utah to respond with a three-point launch, or a Carlsen lay-in by the basket, and the cycle would repear, until, at 61-52, with less than two minutes on the clock, the Utes entered foul mode.

Unsurprisingly, the last-ditch effort was unsuccessful — though a late Stefanovic three that narrowed the lead to six did make things mildly tense for a moment — and the Colorado Buffaloes emerged victorious on Senior Night, by a score of 69-60.

The big stories of the day for Colorado have to be the performances of Hammond, Da Silva, and Nique Clifford.

Clifford had the first double-double of his college career with 14 points and 10 rebounds on 62.5% shooting, as he helped pickup some of the slack created by injuries to Da Silva and K.J. Simpson.

Though, the biggest beneficiary of those extra opportunities was Hammond. Hammond led the team with 15 points, while also tallying five assists and three boards. He demonstrated that the Buffaloes have more than just Simpson at point guard, and one can easily imagine Hammond taking on a bigger role in the 2023-2024 season.

Da Silva didn’t have the most amazing game by his standards, but dropping 15 and leading to Colorado on multiple runs, while on a sprained ankle, still warrants a mention.

With that win, the regular season now draws to the close for the Colorado Buffaloes, who have solidified their spot as the Pac-12’s No. 9 seed. They will play the No. 8 seed Washington Huskies in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament next week.