Tristan da Silva returned from Colorado’s Bay Area trip frustrated but motivated.
He turned those feelings into big production in a home sweep for the Buffaloes, and on Monday the junior forward was named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week.
It is the first weekly honor for da Silva and the third this season for the Buffs, as point guard KJ Simpson has been honored twice. It is the first time since the 2012-13 season two different CU players have won the award in the same season (Askia Booker and Andre Roberson).
Da Silva shot .677 (18-for-27) while averaging 23.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in two games. He went 11-for-17 for a career-high 30 points with seven rebounds in a 68-41 win against Oregon before going 7-for-10 with 17 points and five rebounds in a 62-42 victory against Oregon State. Da Silva went 4-for-7 on 3-pointers in the two wins.
“I feel like it’s just a little cherry on top for me personally,” da Silva said of the honor. “We’ve been playing great as a team. We’ve done a good job, and this week we’ve got to keep doing that. If we keep playing like we did (in the Oregon sweep), it’s going to look good for us.”
Da Silva’s dominance against the Oregon teams continued his torrid streak at the CU Events Center. In his past six home games, da Silva has averaged 21.2 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting .624 overall (53-for-85) and .462 on 3-pointers (12-for-26).
As is the case for the entire team, da Silva needs to pack some of that production more frequently on road trips. Da Silva was just 5-for-16 with 15 total points during the Buffs’ split in the Bay Area two weekends ago, but he will have an opportunity to turn that around when the Buffs begin a two-game swing through Los Angeles on Thursday at USC (7 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Network).
“Just building on what we learned this week and the last two games, and last week’s practice,” da Silva said. “We’ve just got to keep building on that, keep practicing, keep working up until that first game on Thursday. We’ve just got to stay locked in and learn from our mistakes in the past.”
While da Silva and Simpson — who was held to single-digit points for the first time this season against Oregon State after missing the Oregon game due to an illness — have supplied the bulk of CU’s scoring punch lately, the Buffs still are looking for a consistent third scoring option. J’Vonne Hadley is the Buffs’ third leading scorer at 9.3 points per game, but he has averaged 8.7 in six Pac-12 games and has posted just one double-digit scoring performance over the past six games. No one else in CU’s 10-man rotation is averaging seven points.
Of course, at times the Buffs’ depth and balance has glossed over the need for a consistent third scoring option. For instance, da Silva was the only player in double figures against Oregon State, but CU won by 20 with seven players scoring between four and nine points. But given any run in the Pac-12 will require road results against teams in the top half of the standings, the Buffs will need more consistent support for da Silva and Simpson.
“I felt going into this year that both of them are all-conference-caliber players,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “Those player of the week, they’re very nice, but we don’t talk about them with the team. I’ve never congratulated a player on getting player of the week. Because it’s usually statistically-based. And it’s usually based on scoring. And maybe somebody else didn’t score the ball that week.
“No question in my mind, both those kids are all-conference-caliber players. The challenge is can they play like that consistently and can they get some help from the other guys along the way. And if we can, we’ll be OK.”
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