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Three takeaways from Colorado's disappointing home stand against USC and UCLA

Will Darkey Avatar
February 28, 2023

The Southern California schools traveled to Boulder this past weekend and made their presence felt at the CU Events Center.

The USC Trojans stormed out with a 19-point dominant performance over CU, pouring on 84 points in a game many Buff fans wish to forget. Colorado fared better in their second matchup of the weekend, going down to the wire with #4 UCLA before losing the game in the final minute.

After a rough week that further cemented CU’s standing at the bottom of the Pac-12, here are three takeaways to take into the home stretch of the 2022-23 season.

Tristan da Silva’s injury

While the Buffs lost two games this weekend, the biggest loss may have come due to injury.

Tristan da Silva went down clutching at his foot late in the second half of the Buffs’ loss to the Bruins. The junior appeared to be in significant pain and was unable to put any weight on his foot as he hobbled off the court and towards the locker room.

“It’s his ankle,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “It’s not his foot, which I’m really thankful for because he was holding his foot. I was afraid it was a fifth metatarsal thing, I’ve had a lot of players have [that injury] which means surgery.”

While the severity of the injury is still unknown, early signs point towards it being a sprained ankle and not a bone injury.

“We’ll get a feel for that [da Silva’s injury] as we get through the week but I’m hopeful,” said Boyle. “I know if Tristan can play he’ll play and we’ll get a feel for that as the week transpires.”

If da Silva’s injury is severe enough that coach Boyle would consider shutting him down for the season, that all but closes the door on CU’s hopes for stealing a bid.

The 6-foot-9 forward has been one of the few bright spots in CU’s lackluster offense this season, and losing him for the Pac-12 tournament would be a massive blow for a team that struggles to find much scoring outside of da Silva and Simpson.

Inconsistency lies within effort

Colorado lost both games this past week, but the feelings post-game could not have been more different between the players and coach Boyle.

“There’s a different feeling today after the [UCLA] loss than after Thursday night’s loss,” said Boyle. “Something I talked to the players about in the locker room is the reason that they’re down and disappointed tonight is that they fought their tails off and they competed their tails off but came up short. That’s supposed to hurt, it’s supposed to [give you] that pit in your stomach.” 

A lot about the team’s effort came into question after their blowout loss against USC on Thursday night. They weren’t fully committing to defensive assignments and were soft on closeouts, which allowed the Trojans to shoot 57% and make eight three-pointers.

That lack of effort was nowhere to be found on Sunday afternoon though, as CU was neck-and-neck with the #4 team in the country for all 40 minutes of the game.

“It was a night and day difference,” said Luke O’Brien. “We were guarding. We took pride in our one on one defense. Everybody was helping each other, you did not see that on Thursday.”

This young squad is learning quickly that effort cannot be optional on a nightly basis. In CU’s loss to USC, they shot 36% from the field and 21% from three. In the loss to UCLA, they shot 33% from the field and 32% from three. Similar outputs, yet vastly different outcomes. The difference? Effort.

Quincy Allen breaks into the rotation

The injury bug has hit CU as of late. With J’Vonne Hadley out for the year and Javon Ruffin and Jalen Gabbidon currently sidelined with injuries, #5’s number was finally called to play legitimate college minutes.

Allen played 16 minutes in the Buffs’ loss to the Trojans and totaled seven points. The scoring got going quickly for Allen, as he nailed a three-pointer on his second shot attempt of the game.

“I actually thought the first one was cash, but then the second one went in which was nice,” said Allen. “It felt good to get the shot falling and get the crowd going.”

The freshman only played five minutes in the UCLA game, but still logged three points from a made three that put the Buffs up ten in the first.

On top of a couple of made threes, Allen made his presence felt on the defensive side of the ball in the USC game. The 6-foot-8 forward registered four blocks against the Trojans; a team-high for the season.

“I’m trying to impact the game in a lot of ways, not just on offense,” said Allen. “Just trying to use my wingspan to my advantage.”

With the da Silva injury still looming, the freshman could be called upon to fill an even bigger role for this young Buffs team down the final stretch.

Their next test will be this Saturday when Utah travels to Boulder to close out the regular season. Coverage begins at 3:30 pm on the Pac-12 Network.


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