The sibling rivalry between the da Silva brothers is going to be a brief one in college basketball.
Yet for those back home in Munich, Germany, who know Stanford star Oscar da Silva and his younger brother, Colorado freshman Tristan da Silva, their brotherly battles already have become must-see TV.
While Oscar da Silva has been the steady, standout anchor for a Stanford squad that has dealt with personnel issues for much of the season, Tristan da Silva is coming off the biggest game of his young career. Barring a Buffs-Cardinal matchup in the Pac-12 Conference tournament next month, or the elder da Silva making the unexpected decision to remain at Stanford rather than pursuing a pro career, the da Silva brothers will match up for the final time when the Buffs visit Stanford on Thursday for a key Pac-12 Conference showdown.
“They loved the first game. They were watching that back home,” Tristan da Silva said. “It’s just awesome, all the feedback you get from back home from family and friends. They just love to see it and I love to hear from them about it. I’m really looking forward to that next game. It was awesome seeing my brother again, playing against him.”
Tristan da Silva authored a big moment in his blossoming career the first time the teams met last month, knocking down the first 3-pointer of his career just before the halftime buzzer to cap a 16-3 CU run that put the Buffs in control.
Da Silva finished that game with what was then a season-high five points, but he was even better for the Buffs on Monday against the Oregon State. With Jabari Walker sidelined by a foot injury and starting forward Evan Battey slowed by foul trouble as well as a sore ankle, da Silva took advantage of his extended playing time, going 6-for-6 before finishing with 15 points and four rebounds.
Tristan da Silva still has a ways to go before matching his older brother’s Pac-12-leading 19.4 points per game scoring average, but he is displaying a more consistent ability to give the Buffs a spark off the bench.
“We’ve seen the improvement and the (comfort) of him being on the floor,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “And understanding our concepts. It takes a while. He’s gone through a major, major adjustment in his life and not just his basketball life. I don’t know if I saw 6-for-6 (coming), but he’s starting to rebound the ball. He’s playing really well at practice.
“With Jabari going down with the injury, the silver lining of that is it’s allowed us to get Tristan some more meaningful minutes.”
The Buffs will face a Stanford team boasting a much different look than the one that lost in Boulder on Jan. 16, yet the Cardinal might be equally short-handed. In that previous matchup, Stanford played without defensive ace Bryce Wills as well as 3-point specialist Spencer Jones.
Jones missed only that one game due to an injury he suffered two days earlier at Utah. Wills missed nine games overall before returning on Sunday during the Cardinal’s home win against Cal, coming off the bench to go 3-for-3 with two assists in 15 minutes. However, since that game at CU, Stanford has played without starting guard Daejon Davis and standout freshman Ziaire Williams, both of whom have missed the past six games.
Regardless of who has been in the rotation, Stanford’s efficient, Oscar da Silva-led attack leads the Pac-12 in league games with a .478 team field goal percentage.
“They run their offense with great pace,” Boyle said. “They move hard. They cut hard. They move the ball from side to side, and then they attack you. A lot of teams will come down and they’ll run a set. Or they’ll run some sort of false motion into a set. What Stanford does is they run their offense at a really good pace and move the ball from one side to the other, and then they hit you with a set. And they know the set’s coming. You may not know the set’s coming.”
CU Buffs men’s basketball at Stanford Cardinal
TIPOFF: Thursday, 5 p.m. MT, Maples Pavilion, Stanford, Calif.
BROADCAST: TV — ESPN2; Radio — KOA 850 AM and 94.1 FM.
RECORDS: Colorado 15-5, 9-4 Pac-12 Conference; Stanford 12-7, 8-5.
COACHES: Colorado — Tad Boyle, 11th season (225-139, 281-205 overall). Stanford — Jerod Haase, 5th season (80-68, 160-121 overall).
KEY PLAYERS: Colorado — G McKinley Wright IV, Sr., 14.5 ppg, 5.7 apg, 4.2 rpg; F Jeriah Horne, G-Sr., 11.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, .447 3-point percentage; F Evan Battey, R-Jr., 10.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg. Stanford — F Oscar da Silva, Sr., 19.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, .576 field goal percentage; F Jaiden Delaire, Jr., 13.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg; F Ziaire Williams, Fr., 12.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.8 apg.
WHAT TO WATCH: CU’s chances of a road win will increase if, defensively, they can keep the ball out of the paint. In Pac-12 games, Stanford leads the league in overall field goal percentage but ranks 11th in 3-point percentage.
NOTES: Four CU players scored in double figures during the Buffs’ home win against Stanford last month, led by 14 points and eight assists from Wright…Since joining the Pac-12, CU is 4-3 at Stanford, with losses in the Buffs’ past two visits…Among Pac-12 games, the Buffs are committing the fewest turnovers per game in the conference (10.77)…This is the first of four consecutive road games for the Buffs…CU’s Bay Area trip concludes Saturday at Cal (8 p.m., ESPNU).