BOULDER, Colo. — Utah’s second Pac-12 game in Colorado proved to be a lot more competitive than the first. Thursday’s 60-50 setback was a far cry from the 73-33 loss the Utes suffered at the Coors Events Center on Dec. 31, 2011.
“The situation is night and day. The team is night and day different,” said Utah center Jason Washburn. “We thought we were going to win. So obviously we’re not going to pull that out and say ‘Hey, at least we didn’t get beat by 40.’”
The Utes, after all, defeated the Buffaloes 58-55 in the Huntsman Center on Feb. 2.
“That’s a team we thought we could beat — the whole time — and I think that’s why we never really gave up (Thursday) because we knew we could beat these guys,” Washburn said. “We knew we had it in is us. We’ve done it before and we thought we could do it again.”
Senior Cedric Martin, the only other returning starter from the 40-point blowout, acknowledged things were different this time around.
“A lot better feeling. We played through the crowd,” Martin said. “They’ve got a crazy crowd here. It was a lot better from last year.”
Announced attendance was 9,823.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN RIVALS: Although he didn’t see how it started, Washburn commented on a scuffle of sorts between the teams as they headed to their respective locker rooms at halftime. There was a lot of jawing at each other in the hallway.
“I think the league wants it to be (a rivalry) and now it might be just based on that,” Washburn said. “Rivalries happen in weird ways. I know the league is making this one of our rivals. They’re trying to.”
Then, after a pause, Washburn noted: “Any team that is across the court from us is a rival.”
INJURY UPDATE: Freshman guard Brandon Taylor injured his left ankle and Washburn tweaked his knee in Thursday’s loss.
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak didn’t know the extent of either injury immediately after the game. Both players, however, downplayed their seriousness.
“It hurts to be honest with you,” Taylor said before insisting he’ll work through it, as he did after hurting his ankle early in the game. “I wasn’t going to let it stop me.”