The University of Colorado Buffaloes secured a stress-free victory on Monday against the Oregon State Beavers after their two previous games contained blown leads and second half disasters. In front of a small crowd of friends and family at the CU Events Center, the Buffs hoped for a more substantial win to continue their rise in the ranks.
Freshman forward Tristan da Silva had what was easily the best game of his young career. The 6-foot-8 forward produced 15 points, four rebounds, and one assist, all matching or passing his previous career-highs. He also spent 20 minutes on the court, 7 longer than his prior record of 13 minutes, and went 6-for-6 in field goal attempts.
“Tristan has definitely stepped up,” said senior forward Jeriah Horne. “He continues to work hard each and every day in practice. He’s always trying to learn. I do my best to talk to him and make sure that he’s caught up to speed. But the performance that he had tonight, it doesn’t surprise me. It was an honor to see his confidence really start to grow. You know he’s going to be a really, really good player in this conference.”
Horne was electric as well. He made six of his eight field goal attempts including 1-of-2 from deep and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the free throws line, culminating in an impressive 16 points. He combined those stats to tie senior forward Dallas Walton with a team-leading seven rebounds.
Walton set the tone early with a loud dunk after a perfect bounce pass from senior guard McKinley Wright IV evaded Oregon State defenders.
Leading by 13 at the half, Buffs’ fans may have held their breath, after what has transpired in recent games. As their lead increased to 23 a few minutes into the second half, CU had their foot on the gas, and they didn’t let off. With a final score of 78-49, the Buffs overwhelmed the Beavers, holding a significant lead throughout the game.
The Buffs forced some huge penalties, including three traveling calls in just the first ten minutes. Multiple team veterans in junior guard Eli Parquet and Wright each had a steal in the first half, while Wright added another in the second half.
Senior guard D’Shawn Schwartz was unstoppable from the three-point line, making two of his three attempts. Wright, however, didn’t make his first basket of the game until just over three minutes before the end of the half. Overall, he finished with six points, four assists and two steals.
With two early fouls for junior forward Evan Battey, a few younger Buffs got some well-deserved playing time, including Da Silva. Similar to Saturday’s contest against Arizona, Walton got two fouls of his own, contributing to even more playing time for the freshman da Silva.
Altogether, CU appeared more unified than they had in weeks. Under pressure to be as successful as possible in order to make it to the postseason, the Buffs played like an established program under head coach Tad Boyle. Monday’s win improved Colorado to 15-5 on the season and 9-4 in the Pac-12.
Looking forward, CU will enjoy a couple of days off before turning their attention to Stanford on Thursday.
“My goal is to keep this team fresh mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally as we head through February because this has been a long year and a trying year on everybody,” Boyle said.
The Buffs are back in action on Thursday in Stanford, California at 5 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Logan Standard at firstname.lastname@example.org.