• Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    CU freshman Lucas Siewert has turned up the intensity in practice since the holiday break, and that has translated into improved play in the Buffs' last two games.

  • Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer

    CU freshman Lucas Siewert was a surprise starter against Oregon State last week, helping the Buffs to their first Pac-12 win of the season.



In just two games, Lucas Siewert may have changed the narrative on his freshman season.

Through the Colorado Buffaloes’ first 20 games the book on Siewert might not have been overly flattering. Struggles to defend in the post. Erratic outside shot. Unable to mix it up inside with the best post players the Pac-12 Conference has to offer.

Then Siewert received an unexpected start against Oregon State last week as coach Tad Boyle attempted to shake up his struggling squad by staring an all-reserves quintet. Siewert made the most of his minutes that night and did so again in CU’s upset of then-No. 10 Oregon on Saturday, showing signs he could be an impact contributor down the stretch as the Buffs begin the second half of their league schedule Thursday night at Stanford (9 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Network).

“At that point we were 0-7, so I knew we had to do everything we could to get a win,” Siewert said. “Coach said I was going to get some minutes, so I just went out there thinking I had to give everything on the court. I try to think of every day as an opportunity to show what I have. So it’s starting to come out here (at practice) to show what I’ve got, and hopefully that translates to the game.”

Boyle has cited a noticeable improvement in Siewert’s practice intensity since the holidays as a precursor to his solid showings last week against the Oregon schools. Nevertheless, since the holidays Siewert also battled through the first two games he failed to play due to Boyle’s discretion, remaining on the bench at Arizona State and at Washington.

Those stints on the sideline continued a downward trajectory Siewert had battled through since his impressive showing in his CU debut in the season opener against Sacramento State, when he knocked down all three of his 3-point attempts and grabbed five rebounds. Over the next 19 games, Siewert went just 2-for-16 from 3-point range will watching his minutes dwindle. After playing double-digit minutes in seven of the season’s first 11 games, Siewert played just 29 total minutes over the next nine games.

Against Oregon State, however, Siewert displayed a previously unseen spark, battling inside to collect four of his five rebounds off the offensive glass while knocking down his lone 3-point attempt. It was more of the same for Siewert against Oregon, as he again connected on his only 3-point attempt and added two rebounds.

Siewert recorded just 23 rebounds in the 19 games between the season opener and last week’s date against Oregon State. If Siewert can continue the effort that allowed him to grab seven rebounds in the past two games (covering just 21 minutes) he may become a more reliable option off the Buffs’ bench.

“We’ve seen that from Lucas really over the last two to three weeks at practice,” Boyle said. “Now we’re starting to see it on game night, which obviously is the most important part. But it starts at practice, and it started for him a couple weeks ago. He’s now translating that to games. I’m really, really proud what he’s been able to do.”

Pat Rooney: or