Colorado will get one last chance to build more momentum before a return to conference play when the Buffaloes play host to high-scoring Southern Utah on Wednesday.
It is the last nonconference game on the schedule for Colorado, which taps into the bulk of its Pac-12 schedule on Dec. 29 with a trip to Stanford. Two conference games earlier this month were less than fruitful as the Buffaloes fell to both Arizona State and Washington.
Since then, though, Colorado (7-5) has taken out its frustrations on Colorado State, North Alabama and Northern Colorado. An 88-77 victory over Northern Colorado on Sunday was paced by a career-high 26 points from Tristan da Silva. KJ Simpson added 18 points.
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said of da Silva. “Coaches love players that have confidence, and Tristan’s got it. I know KJ’s got it, and you can never doubt yourself when you’re out there. I think Tristan is playing himself into a confident player.”
Simpson leads Colorado with 16.9 points per game, while da Silva is second at 14.5. J’Vonne Hadley is third at 10.2 points and leads the team in rebounding at 7.3.
This game will be the first chance for Boyle to set the program’s all-time record for victories. He is tied for the top spot with Russell “Sox” Walseth at 261.
Southern Utah (8-4) used its high-tempo style to defeat Northern Arizona 106-101 in overtime on Saturday. The Thunderbirds, who are second in the nation with 91 points per game, reached 100 points for the fourth time — the first time against a Division I opponent.
Tevian Jones scored 31 points for the Thunderbirds, while Harrison Butler scored 23 and Drake Allen had 22. The trio combined to shoot 57.9 percent (22 of 38), while the team finished at 50 percent (29 of 58).
Butler became the 10th player in Southern Utah history to reach the 1,200-point mark.
“Colorado is a huge opportunity,” Southern Utah coach Todd Simon said on the “Thunderbirds Coaches Show.”
“If we were able to knock this one out, it would probably be the highest-ranked win we’ve had in school history. … We’re going there to win and not going there to mess around.”
The programs have met once, with Southern Utah earning an 82-80 victory in 1996.
–Field Level Media