Friday, January 31, 2014

December 4, 1967 - Colorado at Utah

Utah and Colorado played each other regularly through the early half of the 20th century. But by the time I took over at the U., the teams were in different conferences and rarely played. I only coached Utah against the Buffaloes twice.

One of those games was eerily similar to Utah's victory against Colorado last year. It happened in 1967 - the Buffs came to town and fought us through the first half to a close halftime margin. They had a bunch of long-range shooters led by Chuck Williams and Pat Frink, and all 4,899 fans at the Field House that night knew they were in for a great second-half battle.

But all of the sudden it appeared it might turn into a rout. Just like last year, Utah went on a tear early in the second half and built up a big lead. We made a 18-4 run in about four minutes and led by 14 points. And just like they did last year, Colorado came back.

Our shots stopped falling; meanwhile Frink and Williams suddenly caught fire. We felt almost helpless as our comfortable lead dwindled down to ten, and then five, and then to one. With six minutes left, we led 70-69.

Somehow we harnessed momentum again and got back on track. Colorado threw everything they had at us, but we held on for a 95-84 win. Williams led the Golden Buffaloes with 25 points and Frink had 24. Walt Simon led the good guys with 22 points and Merv the Magician tossed in 18 more.

Utah and Colorado didn't play again for 16 years. But it's great these teams are back together and playing regularly again. It's a natural rivalry and methinks there are many more great Utah-CU games yet to come.

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