All season long, senior guard Derrick White has been the driving force behind Colorado’s success on the court. Although he put up his 12th 20-plus-point game of the season on Thursday night in Boulder, the rest of the team couldn’t get the job done as the Buffaloes fell to Utah, 86-81.

“We didn’t play very smart; we didn’t play very together, I thought, in the first half,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “Our offense got selfish and we took bad shots and that caused some problems for us. I thought in the second half our offense was much better.”

White’s efforts on Thursday night reached peak intensity when, in the first half, he took a pass from junior guard George King, slid past a couple of defenders, and viciously dunked a one-handed masterpiece over 7-footer Jayce Johnson — a play that was certainly SportsCenter Top 10 worthy.

But that was hardly the best to come for White throughout the contest, as he finished with a game-high 31 points to go with six rebounds, five assists and four blocks. But the whole team effort fell short as the squad only managed 44 percent shooting. His efforts, however, were complemented by the 12 points that Wes Gordon and King each put up.

“Coach [Jean] Prioleau said it in the locker room after the game: Consistency is this team’s Achilles’ heel, and he’s exactly right,” Boyle said. “What happens is late in the year in close games, tough games, your Achilles heel gets exposed, and our Achilles heel got exposed tonight.”

“Terrific,” Boyle said of White’s performance. “I don’t know where we’d be without him.”

After going down by 12 in the first half, the Buffs (16-13, 6-10) dug deep in the second and almost overpowered the Utes to avenge their loss earlier in the season.


With 39 seconds left in the game, junior guard Dominique Collier was fouled on a three-point attempt and converted all three free shots to pull the Buffaloes within inches of the Utes, 80-78. But many fouls later over what seemed like an endless last few seconds, the Utes pulled away to seal the deal.

The Utes (18-10, 9-7) excelled on offense all night (shooting 55 percent). At the half, Kyle Kuzma boasted just four points, but he exploded in the second half to finish with 25, a team high.

“Our defense wasn’t good enough tonight,” Boyle said. “Utah just came in here and schooled us. For us to beat anybody in this league, especially a team like Utah, who’s efficient and good as they are offensively, we can’t have as many breakdowns as we did.”

The Utes earned the quick lead at the start of the game, but the Buffs responded to keep with up throughout much of the first. However with five minutes to go, the Utes built up a 12-point lead. At the half, the Buffs eased the pain a little with a 37-29 score.

As the second half began, the Buffs chipped away at the Utah lead and quickly returned to winnable-game mode.

After scoring no points in the first half, Gordon woke up in the second half and challenged the Utes in the paint, notching a total of 12 points. He added to the final push from the Buffaloes to try and ice out the Utes on a cold February night, but Utah’s hot start proved too great to overcome in the end.

After falling 86-81 on Thursday, the Buffs will return to their home floor on Thursday, March 2 as they host the Stanford Cardinal at 7 p.m.

“They got to do some soul-searching,” Boyle said. “They’ve got to figure out what do they want for the rest of the season. We knew what was in front of us, we knew exactly what was in front of us and we didn’t get it done tonight.”