LOS ANGELES — Tad Boyle has expressed confidence in 7-foot-1 center Lawson Lovering throughout the season.
Lovering is starting to reward his coach’s trust.
Going into Colorado’s Saturday night battle against No. 7 UCLA, Lovering will be coming off the best game of his career. The sophomore was a bright spot during Thursday’s 68-61 loss at USC, posting the first double-double of his career with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Both numbers were career-highs.
“I was just playing like I know how to play,” Lovering said. “We’ve just got to keep our heads up. There’s always another opportunity knocking on the door.”
Since missing the Dec. 21 home win against Southern Utah due to a sore elbow, Lovering has shot 13-for-21 in five games while averaging 6.2 points and 5.2 rebounds. On the season, Lovering is averaging 3.8 points and 4.5 rebounds. That five-game stretch includes the two best games of Lovering’s career — Thursday’s effort at USC, plus a 5-for-6, 10-point, five-rebound performance in a win at Stanford on Dec. 29.
“It takes big guys a little longer to adjust to college basketball. I’ve always said that,” Boyle said. “Since I’ve been a coach I’ve dealt with a lot of good big guys, going back to Paul Miller at Wichita State who really struggled as a freshman, but by the time he was a senior he was the Player of the Year in the Missouri Valley. You see a guy like Lawson, he’s growing up.”
In his past six home games, CU forward Tristan da Silva has averaged 21.2 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 62.4% overall (53-for-85) and 46.2% on 3-pointers (12-for-26). In his past three road games, he has shot 35.7% (10-for-28) overall and 20.0% on 3-pointers (2-for-10) while averaging 9.3 points and 4.0 rebounds…CU’s Nique Clifford shot an even 40% last year from 3-point range (24-for-60) but is shooting just 22.5% from long range this season (9-for-40)…UCLA leads the Pac-12 in scoring defense (60.1)…The seventh-ranked Bruins began Saturday ranked seventh in the NET and third at KenPom.com. The Buffs are 61st in the NET and 50th at KenPom…Colorado is 1-4 in true road games this season…The broadcast team of Tim Brando and Jim Jackson will be on the call for FOX on Saturday evening.