Men's basketball notes: Tristan da Silva leads CU Buffs' defensive charge

Mar. 21—DAYTON, Ohio — On a night in which the Colorado offense missed more open looks than usual, Tristan da Silva's hot hand from long range kept the Buffaloes in the game.

Yet it was his defense that may have played a bigger role in winning it.

The Buffaloes survived their opening matchup against Boise State in the NCAA Tournament First Four on Wednesday night, posting a 60-53 win to advance to a Friday matchup against seventh-seeded Florida in Indianapolis.

Da Silva paced the Buffs with 20 points, going 3-for-6 on 3-pointers, 7-for-11 overall and 3-for-3 at the free throw line. On the other end of the floor, however, it was da Silva who took the lead on making it a long night for Boise State leading scorer Tyson Degenhart.

Degenhart entered the game averaging 17.0 points with a .509 field goal percentage, both of which led Boise State. He also was Boise's second-leading rebounder at 6.2 per game, and he had averaged 20.7 points in the Broncos' previous 11 games.

Against CU, Degenhart went just 3-for-10 with six points, his third-lowest scoring total of the season. He also grabbed only four rebounds. Early last season, Degenhart put up 14 points and seven rebounds against da Silva and the Buffs in a Boise State win against CU at the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

"He was kind of the focus on the scouting report," da Silva said. "I had my hands full the whole game. Credit to him, he's a great player. He's taken Boise to three consecutive NCAA appearances. I kind of knew I had to step up my game defensively for this one specifically. I tried my best to limit him, to kind of slow him down, take away his strengths and just kind of beat him with my length and quickness."

Da Silva's game-high 20 points marked the 10th 20-point game in CU's NCAA Tournament history.

Big bucket

CU center Eddie Lampkin Jr. was a solid third wheel offensively for the Buffs behind da Silva and KJ Simpson, finishing with 13 points, six rebounds and three assists. His final points were two of the biggest in the game, as his putback on an offensive rebound just before the shot clock buzzer gave CU a five-point lead with 28.1 seconds remaining.

Without that conversion, Boise State would have only been down three points with a chance to tie.

"He was huge," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "He's a presence down low. He really is. He's a good passer. He's a good finisher. Starting the game, I thought he had a couple looks that he normally finishes that he missed. But he stayed with it, and that offensive rebound was, to me, the play of the game."


After notching an eighth consecutive loss away from home on Feb. 15 at UCLA, the Buffs have now won six of their past seven away from home. ... Da Silva passed the 500-point mark for the season, making him and Simpson the third pair of CU teammates to reach 500 points in the same season, though the two previous duos did it twice (Shaun Vandiver and Stevie Wise in 1989-90 and 1990-91; also Cory Higgins and Alec Burks in 2009-10 and 2010-11). ... Da Silva became the eighth CU player to hit three 3-pointers in an NCAA Tournament game. Two of those players, D'Shawn Schwartz and Askia Booker, did it twice, making da Silva's effort the 10th time a Buffs player has hit three 3-pointers in a tourney game. ... Simpson's 6-for-6 mark at the free throw line was the best by a CU player without a miss in the program's tournament history.