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Boulder, Colo. • As a guard, the ideal goal in terms of taking care of the basketball is two assists for every turnover.
Unfortunately, things didn't work out quite the way the Utes planned Thursday night.
In a 60-50 loss to Colorado at the Coors Event Center, the statistic of the game originated with turnovers.
Over 40 minutes, the Utes gave the ball away 15 times. They had 12 assists. Most concerning is the fact that 13 of the turnovers came from a perimeter player. The starting backcourt of Brandon Taylor and Jarred DuBois accounted for eight.
When trying to win on the road in the Pac-12, that usually won't get you a victory. Predictably, Colorado turned the miscues into easy baskets at the other end, jump-starting the Buffaloes when they were struggling in the halfcourt.
"We did turn the ball over some, and that hurt us," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "It's something that we have to work on and that we have to get better at. It got to the point where I told the guys that it's better to not throw the ball in the air so they get an easy shot on the other end where we aren't defending."
So how did it happen? Easy. Colorado blitzed Utah's main offense, the pick-and-roll. Whenever a big man set a screen, the Buffaloes would trap a Ute guard.
It worked because players like Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker are much bigger than Taylor, who struggled to make passes out of the trap. Not only that, but Colorado big men Andre Roberson and Xavier Johnson were long and athletic, and more than quick enough to cut off driving angles.
It added up to a nightmarish game for Utah in terms of taking care of the ball. In a game the Utes could've easily won if they had played turnover-free, this is the one area they can point to if asked to supply a main reason for losing.
"We didn't take care of the ball as well as we could've," Taylor said. "It was hard because that was an important part of the game."