SEATTLE — Lucas Siewert clearly has taken his game to another level this season for the Colorado men's basketball team, posting career-high averages in scoring (10.9) and rebounding (5.0) going into Saturday night's date at Pac-12 Conference-leading Washington.
Yet Siewert still is battling bouts of inconsistency.
Siewert has alternated strong games with subpar ones over the past month. The good news for the Buffaloes is that if that continues, Siewert should be on track for a strong showing Saturday night at Alaska Airlines Arena.
A month ago, Siewert averaged 14.7 points in three consecutive road games against Utah, Cal, and Stanford. Since then, the 6-foot-10 center from Brazil has endured a rollercoaster ride. Immediately after that run, Siewert scored just five points in a home loss against Oregon State, though he did grab eight rebounds.
Siewert bounced back to score 10 points in a win against Oregon, but then recorded just five points and four rebounds at UCLA. Three nights later at USC Siewert scored 12 points and six rebounds, yet he went 2-for-9 with six points against Arizona State.
Again Siewert shook that off to provide big contributions in a win against Arizona, going 5-for-8 and nearly posting his third double-double of the year with 15 points and nine rebounds. However, in 24 minutes in a loss Wednesday night against Washington State, Siewert was a non-factor, going 1-for-10 with just three points. More alarming to CU head coach Tad Boyle was that Siewert didn't grab a single rebound, something that had not occurred for Siewert since a seven-minute outing at Arizona on Jan. 25, 2018.
"He was really, really good against Arizona," Boyle said. "As a coach, I can't control shots going in or not. But you can't play 24 minutes and have zero rebounds. That's the part that I've talked to him about that has to change."
It will take a near-flawless performance by the Buffs Saturday night to pull off an upset of a Huskies team that is undefeated at home this year. UW's zone defense, which second-year head coach Mike Hopkins brought with him to Seattle from his 22 seasons as an assistant under Jim Boeheim at Syracuse.
The Buffs fell behind 12-0 in a home loss against UW on Jan. 12 but pretty much played evenly with the Huskies the rest of the way, despite losing point guard McKinley Wright to a shoulder injury with 8 minutes, 8 seconds remaining in the first half.
Even without Wright, the Buffs committed only 12 turnovers against UW in January. The Huskies lead the Pac-12 with 17.8 turnovers forced per game in league play.
"Washington is forcing more turnovers out of their zone than any team in the league," said Boyle. "So we've got to take care of the basketball. That's number one. Get a great shot every time. And that's easier said than done. They're very active."
In the Buffs' home loss against UW in January, sophomore guard D'Shawn Schwartz went 4-for-5 on 3-pointers and 6-for-6 at the free throw line while scoring a career-best 22 points. In the 10 games since that loss, however, Schwartz is shooting just .243 (9-for-37) from 3-point range...Freshman guard Daylen Kountz is 6-for-9 in the past two games...Sophomore forward Tyler Bey has posted four double-doubles in the past six games. He narrowly missed a fifth double-double in that span with nine points and 10 rebounds last week against Arizona...After missing five games due to a foot injury, former Buffs star Derrick White returned to the lineup for the San Antonio Spurs in a Friday night loss against Toronto. White scored seven points with four rebounds, three assists, and just one turnover in 20 minutes.