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Utah basketball: Utes look to control boards against Colorado

Published February 26, 2014 6:13 pm

Utah basketball • U. outrebounded 42-24 in earlier loss at Colorado.
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The memory of one of the season's low points still sits with Utah's Jordan Loveridge.

A 79-75 overtime loss Feb. 1 to Colorado at the Coors Events Center was bad enough for the Utes. Blowing a 12-point second half lead was worse. But the biggest insult to Utah's injury was the manner in which the Buffaloes rallied for the victory.

They simply manhandled the Utes in the rebounding department. They were the tougher team and outrebounded Utah 42-24.

"It's hard to forget that," Loveridge said. "They sent a lot of guys to the boards off the wings, and they were pretty tough to block out because they were getting a running start. We have to be aware of that when we play them, and we have to make sure that they don't get such an advantage again."

The two teams play at the Huntsman Center on Saturday, senior day for the Utes. In many ways, winning will depend on who controls the backboards. Colorado is one of the most difficult teams in the Pac-12 to rebound against. Josh Scott is rough and rugged at 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds. Wesley Gordon provides a nice complement at power forward as well.

But the key is Xavier Johnson. He's a headache at small forward, 6-7 and 225 pounds. He has long arms, athleticism and a nasty streak about him that serves him well on the floor.

"He's tough to keep off the glass when they play him at small forward," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "They certainly present some issues for us and they did when we lost to them at their place. But some of our problems weren't just boxing out. There were 50-50 balls that we just didn't get to. They were just tougher than us and had more [effort] … That can't happen if we want to win."

Senior Day addition

Renan Lenz is Utah's lone scholarship senior. The power forward was to be the only player honored on Saturday. Now he will have company in Xan Ricketts, a 6-7 walk-on forward. Ricketts has been listed as a junior all season, and technically has one year of eligibility remaining. But he recently informed the coaching staff of his desire to be honored on senior day.

A telling statistic

Colorado is 5-0 under head coach Tad Boyle in games after it is beaten by 20 points or more. Arizona beat the Buffaloes 88-61 on Saturday.


Twitter: @tjonessltrib —

Colorado at Utah

O At the Huntsman Center

Saturday, noon

TV • Pac-12 Network






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