Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Lucas Siewert has given the Colorado Buffaloes a spark before.
Yet it hasn’t been nearly as frequently as either Siewert or coach Tad Boyle would prefer, and typically Siewert’s brief flashes of greatness have been followed by long stretches of play more in tune with the averages of 3.5 points and 2.2 rebounds he has produced since joining the Buffs last season.
Right now Siewert finally has a little momentum on his side. After producing back-to-back games with at least 10 points for the first time in his career, the talented but inconsistent sophomore forward hopes to keep pushing the envelope when the Buffs host Cal in a Pac-12 Conference battle late Wednesday night.
“I’ve challenged myself to be more aggressive, and I know the coaches want me to be more aggressive,” Siewert said. “Everyone is encouraging me to be more aggressive in practice. Namon (Wright) at practice was specifically calling me out telling me to play aggressive, because then in games it will come naturally. That’s what I’ve been looking to do.”
Until the past two games, Siewert had reached 10 points only twice over his first 19 games of the season (Siewert missed two games in November due to a sprained ankle). His first double-digit outing of 2017-18 — a 14-point effort in a double-overtime win against South Dakota State on Dec. 15 — was followed by a total of 16 points over the next seven games, a stretch that included four scoreless games.
Siewert recovered to go 4-for-6 with 11 points and four rebounds in a home win against Washington State, but he again followed that performance by scoring just five points over the next two games.
Siewert turned it around again at Arizona State on Jan. 27, going 4-for-5 before finishing with 10 points. The sophomore followed that performance by scoring 13 points in last weekend’s win against Utah.
Though he doesn’t get to the free throw line often, Siewert has made 6 of 6 foul shots in the past two games and, since going 0-for-2 in the season opener against Northern Colorado, he has gone an impressive 20-for-22 on free throws since.
Siewert still has only six double-digit scoring efforts in 53 career games, but he has produced half of them over CU’s past five games.
“He needs to be in attack mode offensively,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “That doesn’t mean just shooting jump shots. That means posting up, it means driving, being aggressive on the boards, active, going to get every rebound. When he’s aggressive and getting after it, he’s a better player and he helps us.
“I expect it every time he steps on to the floor. Every practice, every game. When it become a fabric of who you are, part of your DNA, that’s when you’ve turned the corner. Otherwise it just comes and it goes. Hopefully he understands that. That’s part of maturing as a player.”
Siewert’s continued contributions may be more critical this week against two teams strong in the paint in Cal and Stanford. The Golden Bears’ inside tandem of 7-foot-1 Kingsley Okoroh and 6-foot-11 Marcus Lee average a combined 18.4 points and 13.1 rebounds, and the recent upswing put together by Siewert and 7-foot redshirt freshman Dallas Walton (5.3 rebounds over past four games) will be crucial in CU’s hopes of ending its three-game homestand as successfully as it began.
“On the scouting report it said more than half of their points come from inside the paint, so we have to do a great job of taking that away,” Siewert said. “Especially defensive rebounds. Their best offense is on the offensive glass. That’s something we have to take pride on Wednesday.”