The Colorado Buffaloes saved one of their most entertaining performances of the season for last, as they put on a dazzling offensive display in their 81-69 loss to the Utah Valley State Wolverines. However, despite the sour ending, the future looks bright for CU MBB.

The first half between the two clubs was an immaculate shootout that saw neither team able to separate from the other. For brief moments, each team held a five-point lead, but outside of those few seconds, the margin in the first half was rarely more than a single basket. As a result, despite the opponent being the unheralded Utah Valley State, it was the most entertaining half of basketball the CU MBB team had displayed all season.

The big star in that first half was Lawson Lovering — the much-maligned Buffalo seven-footer, whose offensive development many are anxiously waiting for.

Lovering compiled just two double-digit scoring performances all season for a Colorado squad that was desperate for scoring help from almost everyone not named ‘Tristan Da Silva,’ and that lack of development as a scorer has maybe been the single greatest disappointment in a season of several for CU.

Tonight, the Boulder faithful caught a glimpse of what they have been waiting for, right when they least expected it.

Lovering was matched up with the Wolverines’ own seven-footer — Aziz Bandaogo — a walking double-double, who has dominated the paint all season for UVSU, on his way to averaging 11.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game, all on 60.5% shooting.

That’s the type of matchup that has given Lovering headaches all season long, but tonight, he was more than up to the task.

He scored 10 of Colorado’s first 21 points, on 5-for-6 shooting, as the Buffaloes jockeyed with the Wolverines for control of the game.

Unfortunately for the Buffs, in some sort of weird, Freaky Friday-esque conundrum, right as Lovering emerged as a legit scoring threat, Da Silva became the coldest player on the floor.

At one point in the second half, every single player on the Buffaloes with multiple shots, besides Julian Hammond and Tristan Da Silva — Colorado’s two leading scorers since K.J. Simpson exited the lineup — was shooting 50 percent or above. Hammond had made just two of his five attempts, while Da Silva was one for five.

Although Hammond and Da Silva’s ineffectiveness nullified great showings from Lovering and Wright — who was 3-for-4 from three-point range in the first half — CU MBB still found themselves tied at the half at 38.

In the second half though, as the Buffaloes’ offense fell back down to earth, the Wolverines’ offense continued to soar over Boulder, as they seemed infallible whenever they had the ball in their hands.

CU played their general brand of physical defense, which was their own defining strength throughout this season, and yet, UVSU refused to miss a shot. In the second half, the Wolverines made 17 of their 28 field goals, three of their six three-point attempts, and all six of their free throws, for shooting splits of 61/50/100.

That’s absurd.

Meanwhile, the Buffaloes went from posting first-half shooting splits of 55/38/50 to posting second-half shooting splits of 39/9/60.

Also, in the second half, Colorado turned it over 10 times, while Utah Valley State suffered just five turnovers.

If your opponent is shooting the lights out of the gym, you’re ice cold from the field, and you’re gifting them twice as many free possessions as they’re giving you, it’s going to be impossible for you to hold serve, and that’s what happened to the Colorado Buffaloes Sunday night.

However, even though it wasn’t their night, there’s never been as much promise for the future as there currently is with CU MBB.

The team is only losing their No. 3 and No. 4 guy off the bench, and they’re set to add a ton of talent, including the 2023 class’s No. 1 overall player. Pair that with exciting signs of growth from Lovering and Julian Hammond in recent weeks, and CU is primed to take as big a leap as any program in the country this coming season.

Hopefully, next year comes with a happier ending.