National Basketball Association
Utah 57, Colorado 55
When: 9:30 PM ET, Saturday, March 5, 2016
Where: Jon M. Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
Officials: # Daryl Gelinas, # Michael Irving, # Shawn Lehigh
Attendance: 15000

SALT LAKE CITY -- Few teams can match the sort of positive momentum that Utah is enjoying right now.

Even when nothing is going right on offense, the Utes seem to find a way to pull out wins.

Colorado learned that firsthand on Saturday night after Utah's defense smothered the Buffaloes down the stretch to help the No. 13 Utes rally for a 57-55 victory.

Utah (24-7, 11-5 Pac-12) won its seventh straight game and clinched the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament next week. And the Utes did it by using a 19-0 run to erase a double-digit deficit late in the second half.

"We've improved in getting out there and playing our hardest," Utah center Jakob Poeltl said. "Even when we're going through a tough stretch, we always find a way to come back and to get ourselves back together and focused back on the game and make that run that helps us win the game."

Poeltl finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots. Lorenzo Bonam added 16 points and seniors Brandon Taylor and Jordan Loveridge chipped in 11 points and 10 points, respectively.

Tre'Shaun Fletcher scored 12 points and Josh Scott added 11 points and seven rebounds to lead Colorado (21-10, 10-8), which dropped its fifth straight in the series.

Colorado held Utah to 31 percent shooting from the field (18 of 58). But the Buffaloes could not capitalize after shooting just 30.5 percent (18 of 59) themselves -- with many of the missed shots coming when they blew a 14-point lead in the final eight minutes.

"Down the stretch, we stopped doing our offense," Fletcher said. "We stopped being aggressive. We just weren't playing our game that we were playing the whole game.

"We stopped guarding like we were guarding the whole game. We just let them hit shots. We weren't giving them (pressure)."

Colorado initally took advantage of a cold spell on offense by Utah to stake out a double-digit lead midway through the second half. The Buffaloes ripped off a 16-0 run -- highlighted by back-to-back layups from Thomas Akyazili and Tory Miller -- to take a 45-31 lead with 8:15 remaining.

The Utes woke from their slumber and countered the run when Loveridge banked in a 3-pointer to spark the decisive 19-0 spurt. Loveridge also capped the run with two free throws to put Utah up 50-45 with 2:26 left.

Colorado missed seven straight shots and committed four turnovers while being held without a point for more than six minutes. The Buffaloes didn't break the drought until Josh Fortune buried a jumper with 2:01 remaining.

"We just kept getting stops," Loveridge said. "Our defense really helped us through this game. If a shot doesn't go in, we had the confidence to come back and get another stop and go try it again. That's what fueled our offense."

Colorado cut the lead to 53-52 on a 3-point play from Fortune with 1:00 left. Utah did not allow another field goal after that and closed it out with Taylor, Dakarai Tucker and Poeltl all making free throws in the final seconds.

The loss cost the Buffaloes a chance at setting a school record by winning their 22nd regular-season game.

Colorado coach Tad Boyle though his team showed good mental and physical toughness until Utah made its late run. At that point, Boyle said, the Buffaloes lost their composure.

"You have to make plays down the stretch on offense to stem the tide," Boyle said. "If they're making a run, you got to take care of the basketball, get good shots and then you got to finish."

NOTES: Colorado leads the Pac-12 in free throw shooting (73 percent), 3-point shooting (39.7 percent) and total rebounds (42.1 per game). Only Michigan State has a higher per game rebounding average among Power 5 conference teams. ... Utah G Brandon Taylor is averaging 12.3 points and 5.1 assists per game during the team's seven-game winning streak. ... Utah C Jakob Poeltl ranked first among Pac-12 players in field goal percentage (66.7) and total field goals made (196) coming into the regular-season finale. He finished 6 of 12 from the field against Colorado.
Top Game Performances
Colorado   Utah
Tre'Shaun Fletcher 12 Scoring Lorenzo Bonam 16
Wesley Gordon 2 Assists Brandon Taylor 4
Wesley Gordon 8 Rebounds Jakob Poeltl 13
Josh Scott 5 Free Throws Made Brandon Taylor 8
Dominique Collier 2 Steals Brandon Taylor 4
Wesley Gordon 4 Blocks Jakob Poeltl 5
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
Colorado 55 30.5 6-16 13-16 4 33 10 7 10
Utah 57 31.0 4-21 17-24 10 40 8 8 10