The Runnin’ Utes got their starting guards back in the lineup Saturday, but couldn’t reverse their late-season slide and fell 69-60 to Colorado at CU Events Center in Boulder.
Having lost five straight games, Utah (17-14, 10-10) will be the No. 7 seed in next week’s Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas and will meet 10th-seeded Stanford in a first-round game Wednesday.
Rollie Worster got the start after missing the last two games with an ankle injury, while Gabe Madsen made an appearance for the first time in five weeks, coming in off the bench.
However, Utah fell behind 33-21 in the first half and never got closer than six in the second half in falling to Colorado (16-15, 8-12) for the first time this season.
Colorado played without starting point guard KJ Simpson, the Buffs’ leading scorer, who was ill.
Here are 3 keys to Utah’s regular-season ending loss to Colorado:
• Despite the returns of Madsen and Worster, the Utes continued to shoot the ball poorly, a malady that has plagued them the past three weeks. They shot 33% from the floor and 30% from 3-point range.
• Worster led the Utes with 15 points in his return, but fellow guards Madsen (3 of 10) and Lazar Stefanovic (4 of 15) struggled to find their shooting touch until late in the game.
• Tristan da Silva and Julian Hammond II scored 15 points apiece for Colorado, which shot 46% from the field and 38% (8 of 21) from 3-point range.