The whole house of cards could’ve come crumbling down at any moment. The Utah men’s basketball team led by as many as 18 points in the first half, but Colorado rallied to put the Utes’ hopes of a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament in jeopardy.

With senior forward David Collette out injured, senior forward Tyler Rawson playing in spite of illness, and junior Sedrick Barefield playing through rib cage and knee ailments in his first game in two weeks, the Utes staved off the Buffaloes for a 64-54 win in the regular-season finale at the Huntsman Center on Saturday night.

Senior point guard Justin Bibbins scored a game-high 24 points and made six 3-pointers, while Barefield scored 14 points and went 10 for 10 at the free throw line. The win clinched the third seed in the Pac-12 Tournament for the Utes (19-10, 11-7), their fourth consecutive season finishing among the top four in the conference.

“I knew what was at stake for this game,” Bibbins said. “Coach told us this is for third place and the bye in the Pac-12 Tournament. I just tried to play my game, and shots fell.”

Collette stayed down along the baseline near the Utes’ bench with 13:12 remaining in the first half after rolling his ankle while going after a rebound. He had to be helped off the court, and had X-rays during the game before returning on crutches after the game as part of the Senior Day ceremonies. He is believed to have suffered a sprain.

The Utes led 41-24 at halftime, but their offense stalled drastically in the second half. They scored five points in the first 10:35, and committed four turnovers in that span. Their offensive futility allowed the Buffaloes to pull within 46-42 with 9:28 remaining.

It was then that Bibbins weaved through traffic for a layup to stem the tide. Bibbins and Barefield combined to score 16 of the team’s final 18 points, and the lead never was less than five points the rest of the way.

“The first possession of the second half, they scored and we quit guarding and they got back in the game,” Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “Fortunately, we had guys — Sedrick and Justin — step up and made some big plays, and we finally got them to miss and got enough rebounds.”

With Collette out and Jayce Johnson playing through a foot injury, the Utes turned to redshirt freshman Chris Seeley and true freshman Donnie Tillman to provide a post presence. Seeley and Johnson, who played 15 minutes, blocked two shots and grabbed four rebounds each. Tillman scored 10 first-half points and added four rebounds.

Rawson scored five points and played 30 minutes despite having missed practices during the week due to a stomach virus.

“I’ve felt better, that’s for sure,” Rawson said. “The same thing happened last year when [Kyle] Kuzma went down with an ankle injury. This year, it’s Dave going down with an ankle injury and I had to play through it and just try to do my best.”