Scores

Final

Colorado State 49

(11-17, 3-11 MW)

(18) Utah 62

(26-4, 13-1 MW)

    2:00 PM ET, March 10, 2005

    Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

    1 2 T
    CSU 29 2049
    #18UTAH 28 3462

    Top Performers

    Colorado State: J. Smith 12 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 Blk

    Utah: A. Bogut 21 Pts, 17 Reb, 1 Blk

    Bogut scores 21, grabs 17 boards

    DENVER (AP) -- For long stretches Thursday, the supposed best player in the country didn't even look like the best player on the court. But even when Andrew Bogut and his Utah teammates are less than perfect, they can do a lot of damage.

    Bogut scored 11 of his 21 points over the first 4{ minutes and the Utah guards took over from there, leading the 15th-ranked Utes to a 62-49 win over Colorado State in the opening round of the Mountain West Conference tournament.

    Bogut also grabbed 17 rebounds, and wound up with his usual great stat line, even though there were times he was nearly invisible thanks to a harassing CSU defense.

    "We probably have thrown four or five different looks at him in the three games" against Utah this season, Colorado State coach Dale Layer said. "I think we rattled him twice in 120 minutes. He's mature beyond his years. He beats you in every which way."

    With the conference's freshman of the year, 7-footer Jason Smith, shutting down the big Australian -- even rejecting his shot three times -- it was Marc Jackson and Bryant Markson who helped top-seeded Utah (26-4) pull away.

    Jackson (14 points, five assists) made two free throws, a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play during a 19-4 run in the second half that turned a one-point halftime deficit into a 55-39 lead.

    Markson (12 points) also scored four points and helped Utah with a three-quarter-court trap that the Rams had trouble handling in the second half.

    The Utes only committed one turnover in the second half.

    "We made a couple of plays inside to Andrew, but essentially it was our turnovers and rebounds in the second half," Jackson said. "Defensively we have always relied on the second half, which we shouldn't do, but we do because it's the end of the game and we are not saving anything."

    Led by Smith, 7-1 center Matt Nelson and 6-6 forward Matt Williams, the Rams (11-17) looked like a team with too much talent to struggle the way they did this season. Smith roamed around the middle, hitting a couple shots directly over Bogut in the first half.

    Just as impressive was the way Smith shut down the 7-foot center. After Bogut, a sophomore who is expected to declare for the NBA draft after the season, scored the first 11 points for Utah, he had trouble finding anything open in the middle.

    Once, he had an easy layup swatted off the backboard by Smith. Another time, Bogut turned for what looked like an easy shot, only to see Smith come from the back side to reject him again.

    "I usually don't get them that early in the game, but they were there today," Bogut said of all the good looks he got in the first five minutes. "Then they made some adjustments and I didn't get the ball. They did a good job the rest of the game."

    A player of his caliber can't be stopped forever, though.

    After CSU cut its 16-point deficit to seven with about 4 minutes left, Bogut took a sweet pass from Jackson for a slam. Moments later, Jackson made an alley-oop layup from Tim Drisdom to push the lead to 11.

    Nelson had 14 points, Smith had 12 and eight rebounds and Williams had 12 points for Colorado State, which upset Air Force last year as the eighth seed and looked like it might pull a similar upset for a good portion of this game.

    Instead, the Rams went home and Utah moved on in its quest to improve its seeding for the NCAA Tournament. The Utes will go to the Tournament for the 26th time, but the first under coach Ray Giacoletti, who was chosen to replace Rick Majerus after Majerus ended his 15-year career with the Utes last season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    CSU
    UTAH
    Points 49 62
    FG Made-Attempted 19-54 (.352) 22-51 (.431)
    3P Made-Attempted 1-13 (.077) 2-6 (.333)
    FT Made-Attempted 10-13 (.769) 16-21 (.762)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (0/0) 13 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 3 16

    2004-05 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    Jan 17, 2005 UTAH 75, @CSU 52Recap
    Feb 12, 2005 @UTAH 64, CSU 50Recap
    » Mar 10, 2005 @UTAH 62, CSU 49Recap