BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – Colorado got off to a rousing start in its first Pacific-12 Conference game with a runaway victory over a fellow conference newcomer.
Spencer Dinwiddie scored a career-best 19 points, and Colorado beat Utah 73-33 Saturday in the Pac-12 debut for both teams.
“I thought that was a great way to start conference play, obviously,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “We know Utah’s struggling a little bit right now. They had some open looks that they missed. I think maybe we dodged a little bit of a bullet, but I like the way our guys really guarded. I thought the first half was a testament to our defense. We struggled a little offensively in the first half, but we still had a nice lead.”
That’s putting it mildly. Utah (3-10, 0-1) got 10 points from Jason Washburn but failed as a team to score with any sort of consistency throughout the game.
“Embarrassing is a good word,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “We got kind of manhandled in all elements of the game. Mentally, we weren’t engaged for whatever reason. Guys aren’t locked in, and it’s very disturbing at this point.”
The Utes never led and converted only 12 of their 53 shots (22.6 percent) from the field. Their 11-point first half was an all-time low by a Colorado opponent, and their final point total was just the second time since 1976 that Utah had scored 40 or fewer points in a game.
The 40-point loss marked the fourth time this season Utah had been beaten by 30 or more points. Eight of the Utes’ losses have been by 20 or more points.
“Obviously, a loss always hurts, but this was even worse because it was the start of the Pac-12,” Washburn said. “Regardless of the score, we wanted to make a statement, like we’re not going to lay down for anyone, and I think that’s kind of what we did a little bit. It’s not the way we wanted to start off, but we have to regroup.”
Colorado (9-4, 1-0), substituting freely for most of the second half, got 17 points and 17 rebounds from Andre Roberson en route to winning its fourth in a row. Roberson has nine double-doubles this season.
Askia Booker chipped in 14 points and Carlon Brown, who transferred from Utah to Colorado, added 10.
Booker said the Buffaloes’ success in the conference debut was a confidence boost.
“A big lift, actually,” Booker said. “We now go into the next game just that more confident and know that we can compete with anybody.”
Boyle cautioned that tougher competition lies ahead.
“We can’t get too high off this one,” Boyle said. “We know Washington, next Thursday, is going to be a different animal; an offensive juggernaut, so it is time to start preparing for them.”
And time for Utah to put its latest debacle behind it.
Josh Watkins, who came in averaging a team-leading 16.1 points for Utah, epitomized the Utes’ offensive problems, failing to score until hitting a pair of free throws with 9:30 left to play. That cut Utah’s deficit to 54-22, but Booker hit successive 3-pointers around Watkins’ only field goal to rebuild Colorado’s advantage to 60-24 with 7:35 remaining.
Dinwiddie did most of his damage early. He hit a 3-pointer eight seconds into the game and had 16 of his points in the first half, when Colorado opened a 27-11 lead.
Washburn began the second half for Utah by hitting a layup, but the Buffaloes then scored 18 of the next 20 points, pulling away to a 45-15 lead.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)