LOS ANGELES — For Eli Parquet, staying sharp has been all about approaching the game like a pro.
After starting seven consecutive games during nonconference play, Parquet has seen his number called less and less since the start of the Pac-12 Conference schedule. But with Maddox Daniels sidelined on Saturday and Daylen Kountz continuing to struggle, Colorado head coach Tad Boyle turned to Parquet for heavy minutes against USC. The sophomore responded by making big contributions on both ends of the floor as the 20th-ranked Buffaloes cruised past USC for a 78-57 victory.
“I’ve just tried to prepare like a pro, think like a pro,” “There’s player in the league that don’t get called up that are really good. I just try to stay ready and work on my game.”
Parquet had averaged only 4.2 minutes over the previous six game, including playing only one minute during Thursday’s four-point loss at UCLA. But at USC, Parquet played a career-high 27-plus minutes, finishing with five points and a career-high five rebounds. Parquet also recorded one assist, one blocked shot, and one steal.
Parquet and 7-footer Dallas Walton sparked the Buffs off the bench. Walton knocked down a 3-pointer, his first since the final game of the 2017-18 season, and finished with five points and three rebounds in just seven and a half minutes of action.
“Maddox was out. And you add that with Daylen’s been struggling a little bit. Then you add that to the fact that Eli has really been practicing well over the last three to four weeks,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “So we’ve seen it in practice coming and coming. Sometimes it’s hard to get a rotation of nine or 10 guys. Eli has kind of been the odd man out on the perimeter. Dallas has been the odd man out in the post, but we knew at times in certain games we’d need him.
“When they come in and give us shots in the arm like that…I look at Maddox being out kind of like Tyler (Bey) being out against Washington State. Tyler was out, Lucas stepped up. Maddox was out, Eli stepped up. That’s the kind of depth this team has.”
The L.A. trip began with Daniels making his first start for the Buffs at UCLA. It ended with Daniels relegated to the bench in street clothes.
Daniels suffered a concussion during the loss at UCLA and missed Saturday’s win at USC while he goes through the concussion protocol. The Buffs have been fortunate on personnel matters this season, as Daniels’ absence was only the second missed game by a regular rotation player this season. Bey missed last week’s home win against Washington State due to a sprained right hand.
Bey’s strong all-around game — he recorded 16 points, seven rebounds, two blocked shots, and two steals — moved him up a couple of CU’s all-time charts. Bey’s two blocked shots put him at 93 for his career, moving past Richard Roby for 11th-place at CU. His seven rebounds increased his career total to 707, moving him past Xavier Johnson and into an 11th-place tie with David Harrison. Bey will soon move past Larry Vaculik (709) and Burdette Haldorson (711) into CU’s top-10 all-time rebounders.
Bey also went 2-for-2 on 3-pointers, increasing his season total to 10-for-19 (.526). Bey inched closer to the 1,000-point mark for his career, finishing the night at 964 career points.
For one of the few times in his career, Boyle coached without wearing a tie. “I had three in my bag. None of them really matched,” Boyle said. “My wife thought the shirt was a little busy, so I just went without.” Despite the impressive performance, don’t expect the fashion change to be permanent. “I’m a tie guy,” Boyle added…The crowd of 5,736 was the largest this season for USC at the Galen Center…Former Buffs star Andre Roberson attended both games in Los Angeles…Lucas Siewert went 2-for-3 on 3-pointers, giving him 126 made 3-pointers in his career to move into an 11th-place tie all-time at CU with Mack Tuck and former teammate Dom Collier.