STANFORD -- Stanford rallied in the second half but ultimately lost a game it needed to win Wednesday night when it fell 59-56 to Colorado.
The loss before 4,558 at Maples Pavilion gives the Cardinal its first three-game losing streak of the season and puts its NCAA tournament hopes in further doubt.
Stanford (18-11, 9-8 Pac-12) could have helped solidify its chances by closing out the regular season with two wins and possibly earning a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament. Now, the Cardinal likely needs a win over Utah in the finale Saturday and a decent run in next week's conference tournament in Las Vegas.
Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins insisted afterward that he hasn't considered the state of his team's NCAA tournament hopes.
"I'm just thinking about a very disappointing loss versus a team on the home floor," Dawkins said. "That's the extent of it with me, and I know we need to regroup and get ready for our next game."
Chasson Randle, who carried most of the offensive load with 24 points for Stanford, echoed those thoughts.
"I'm looking forward to Saturday, that's all I can do," Randle said.
Randle had a chance to force overtime, but his 3-point attempt near the buzzer was short and went off the front of the rim.
"I thought I had a good look," he said.
Randle was the primary reason that Stanford was even in the game. He was the only Cardinal player in double figures and scored 17 in the second half. He scored the first seven points of an 8-0 run that tied the game at 46 with 7:49 to play.
But even though Stanford rallied, it left a lot on the table when Colorado (21-9, 10-7) went more than eight minutes without scoring. The Cardinal missed three free throws in that stretch and made only two field goals -- both 3s from Randle.
Colorado ended its drought and took a 48-46 lead with 5:59 to go, but another 3 by Randle gave Stanford the lead with 4:53 to play. The Cardinal led 51-48 before the Buffaloes scored seven straight points.
Randle got Stanford within a point at 55-54 with a three-point play with 1:21 to go, and the Cardinal got the ball back on a Colorado shot clock violation.
But Randle was stripped by Askia Booker while going up to shoot, and Booker made 1 of 2 free throws for the Buffaloes. Josh Scott added two free throws for Colorado after rebounding a missed 3 by Anthony Brown to make it 58-54.
Randle drove for a quick layup, and Stanford fouled Xavier Talton with 7.8 seconds left. He made 1 of 2 free throws to give the Cardinal a shot, but Randle couldn't connect on the 3.
Josh Huestis had nine points and 13 rebounds for Stanford. Scott led Colorado with 17 points.
Follow Jimmy Durkin on Twitter at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.
Utah (19-9, 8-8 Pac-12) at Stanford (18-11, 9-8), 11:30 a.m. Pac-12 Networks