One year later, the battle of big men was about the action on the floor, and not a harrowing injury and the immediate aftermath.
For much of Saturday’s 77-64 Colorado victory against Stanford, Buffs forward Evan Battey and Stanford’s Oscar da Silva battled toe-to-toe in the post. Da Silva suffered a concussion due to a collision with Battey during Stanford’s last visit to the CU Events Center a year ago. On Saturday da Silva may have won an impressive individual battle, but Battey held his own and the Buffs won the war.
Da Silva kept Stanford in the game almost single-handedly, posting his fourth double-double of the season with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Battey also recorded a double-double, his second of the season and the seventh of his career, by posting 13 points and 12 rebounds.
“My mindset was the same as always,” Battey said. “Oscar is a hell of a player. He’s so talented and can score in so many ways. I was just limiting his catches and fighting for position. Hats off to him. He’s going to be really good down the road. But the mindset never changes.”
Oscar da Silva also watched his younger brother, CU freshman Tristan da Silva, score a season-high five points, including his first career 3-pointer just ahead of the halftime buzzer.
Stanford played without starters Bryce Wills, a defensive specialist who missed his fifth straight game, and Spencer Jones, the Cardinal’s top 3-point shooter who was injured during a Thursday loss at Utah.
Stanford coach Jerod Haase — like CU head coach Tad Boyle, a Kansas alum — admitted altitude is an issue for west coast teams embarking on the two-game Rocky Mountain run. But being shorthanded magnified that problem.
“Guys that are playing 5,6,7 minutes…have been playing 15 to 20 minutes and I think that led to some defensive breakdowns and with a lack of experience some offensive breakdowns,” Haase said. “Colorado is a fantastic, fantastic team. They are experienced, they are old, they have depth, they are well coached, and I think they are going to have a heck of a year.”
Former Buffs star Jay Humphries, whose all-time assists record was broken on Thursday by McKinley Wright IV, issued a statement through CU on Wright surpassing his 37-year old record.
“I want to congratulate McKinley for his record-breaking accomplishment and wish him further success throughout the remainder of his career,” Humphries said. “As the saying goes, records are meant to be broken, and assists is perhaps t most unselfish record there is in all of sports, the thrill of setting up a teammate to score. I didn’t realize it’s been 37 years. How time flies.”
Evan Battey’s double-double on Saturday (13 points, 12 rebounds) was CU’s eight double-double in the past six games. The Buffs posted just one over the season’s first eight games…Wright’s 14 points moved him past Emmett Lewis for ninth-place on CU’s all-time scoring list…The Buffs continued their torrid free throw shooting with a 12-for-13 performance. Stanford went a perfect 15-for-15, giving the teams a combined 27-for-28 mark…Stanford lost for the seventh consecutive time in Boulder.