For Lucas Siewert, it's all about picking his spots.
The sophomore forward has been a revelation of late for the Colorado men's basketball team, and he continued his late-season surge last week with a pair of standout performances during the Buffaloes' final homestand.
Challenged to become a bigger inside presence this season to complement his steady outside shot, Siewert for much of the year struggled to strike the proper balance between the paint and the 3-point line. That has changed down the stretch, as Siewert heads into the Buffs' regular season finale Saturday at Utah looking to prolong a hot streak in which he has averaged 11.1 points over the past eight games.
"I think the shots I'm getting right now, they were always there I just wasn't taking them," Siewert said. "People on our team were saying the same thing. I just have to keep doing what I'm doing now to help the team. One thing coach always tells me is to not just settle for the three. If you look at the games where I've done pretty good, I was in the post and the outside. Adding a post game to my 3-point shot has been really good."
Siewert certainly has made the most of his chances lately. He attempted only two 3-point shots in each of the past four games but has gone 5-for-8 in that stretch, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark in the most recent home games against USC and UCLA.
Siewert has recorded six of his nine career double-digit scoring efforts over the past 11 games and went 9-for-16 from the floor during the past two games. Following a third consecutive scoreless outing on Jan. 13 at UCLA, Siewert was averaging 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds with an overall shooting percentage of .316. He has improved those numbers in a hurry since then and heads into the Utah game averaging 6.1 points and 2.8 rebounds. During that time Siewert also has improved his 3-point percentage from .357 to .455 (25-for-55). He has gone 13-for-22 (.591) on 3-pointers over the past seven games.
While Siewert's rebounding numbers have improved at a more deliberate pace than his scoring numbers, head coach Tad Boyle remains steadfast in the belief it is Siewert's improved aggressiveness on the glass that has sparked his improved play. Siewert recorded only 12 offensive rebounds in his first 21 games of the season but has grabbed 13 offensive rebounds over the past six games.
Siewert posted a career-best eight rebounds last week against USC.
"That's all part of the growing process as a player, the maturity process as a player — understanding when he's setting a ball screen who's guarding him and how are they guarding him," Boyle said. "Is is a big guy he can pop on? Is it a littler guy he can roll on? Can he slip out of that screen if they're showing hard. There's all kinds of reads that need to be made by our bigs in ball screens, and Lucas has gotten better at that. He's got a good feel for that.
"The biggest thing for him is the aggressiveness on the boards. He has to be aggressive and be a presence going to the glass. When he does that, he helps this team. He's helped us a lot."