Although the Colorado men’s basketball team got back on track with another impressive home performance, the Buffaloes also are dealing with their first dash of injury adversity this season.
The Buffs rebounded from Wednesday’s rivalry loss at Colorado State by dismantling Pepperdine 91-66 on Sunday, but CU played without backup guard RJ Smith, whose status going forward is uncertain.
Afterward, head coach Tad Boyle described the injury as a lower-leg issue and said Smith’s absence will be “indefinite.”
Asked if it is a potentially season-ending setback, Boyle replied: “I just don’t know the answer to that. I hope it’s not season-ending, but I don’t know the answer.”
Smith, a redshirt freshman, played in each of the first seven games while averaging 11.8 minutes off the bench. He has shot just 5-for-15 overall but has gone 5-for-11 on 3-pointers and 5-for-7 at the free throw line, while also collecting five assists against four turnovers.
Da Silva superlatives
It was a historic shooting performance for CU senior Tristan da Silva.
Da Silva went a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and 10-for-10 at the free throw line against Pepperdine, becoming the first CU player since 1951 (as far back as such records are available) to enjoy a perfect shooting performance with that many combined attempts from the field and the free throw line. Former CU guard Spencer Dinwiddie had a perfect shooting performance with 14 total attempts (6-for-6 from the field, 8-for-8 at the line) on Feb. 10, 2013, in a win at Oregon State.
Da Silva is the first Pac-12 player to compile that sort of perfect shooting total since the 1996-97 season. With 22 points, da Silva increased his career scoring total to 1,036 and passed four players — Chauncey Billups, Wilky Gilmore, former teammate D’Shawn Schwartz and Jim Creighton — to move into 34th-place on CU’s all-time scoring list.
Da Silva was 2-for-2 from 3-point range, with the first one marking the 100th 3-pointer of his career. Asked if he could recall ever enjoying a performance quite like that, da Silva answered, “Nope. But it felt good. I was just getting open looks and knocking them down. It just came kind of easy, getting to the free throw line, too. That’s just easy buckets right there.”
Sharing the wealth
CU finished with 22 assists, marking the fourth time in five home games the Buffs have recorded at least 20 assists. In those five home games, CU has averaged 22.6 assists while going 5-0. In three games away from home, the Buffs have averaged 9.7 assists while going 1-2.
“Making shots is a big part of it. It really is. Because unless you make the shot, you can’t get an assist,” Boyle said. “That’s part of it. But our ball movement at home has been better than our ball movement on the road.”
CU senior Luke O’Brien matched a career-high with four assists. … Buffs guard Julian Hammond III has shot .750 (12-for-16) over the past three games. … With four assists, CU guard KJ Simpson increased his career total to 232 to move into 20th among the program’s all-time leaders. Simpson has shot .704 (19-for-27) over the past three games and also has made 14 consecutive free throws. … CU shot .574 and has shot at least 50% in three consecutive games and six of eight so far this season. The Buffs posted seven games with a .500 or better shooting percentage all of last season.