The Colorado men's basketball team put together a solid all-around effort in a 100-71 season-opening win against Drake on Tuesday. And the Buffaloes did it with two of their regular rotation players out of action.
Before the game, CU announced that sophomore guard D'Shawn Schwartz would serve a one-game suspension for a violation of NCAA rules regarding his participation in summer league games. Schwartz played in one game prior to the June 15 start date for participation in such leagues.
The Buffs also played without junior guard Deleon Brown, who was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.
Schwartz, a Colorado Springs native, averaged 3.4 points while playing all 32 games last year as a freshman and is expected to be a bigger contributor this season. He started the Buffs' exhibition game against Colorado Mines on Nov. 3 but was at the end of the bench in street clothes Tuesday.
"Our compliance office does an unbelievable job of educating our players and our coaches. What the rules are, what you can and cannot do," CU head coach Tad Boyle. "I've learned as a coach maybe I need to be a little more hands-on when it comes to that, especially when we break for the summer. Because it was an infraction of playing in an unsanctioned summer event, and we just had the compliance a week before he played in it.
"So it was more of a lapse on his part. But kids are kids. He's not a bad kid. He didn't do anything wrong. He just played in something he shouldn't have played in. I vowed when I became a head coach that one of my players would never sit out a game for that. I failed in that regard."
Brown's situation has been a bit more mysterious. The junior dressed for the exhibition game against Mines but did not get off the bench, with Boyle describing it afterward as a coach's decision. In a post-practice interview last week Boyle reiterated that Brown has not fallen out of the rotation, yet he didn't play Tuesday despite being in uniform.
Boyle again described it as a coach's decision but added afterward, "Del's status is that he's going to play Friday night (against Omaha). Del and I are good. I look forward to having him and D'Shawn on the floor and we'll have all hands on deck."
The announced attendance for Tuesday's contest was 5,695, the smallest crowd for a home opener in Boyle's nine seasons at CU. The previous low for his tenure was 6,874 in his first home opener in 2010, with Tuesday's mark counting as the lowest attendance for a home opener at CU since a crowd of 5,086 in 2009.
Entering Tuesday the Buffs had sold about 4,500 season tickets, down roughly 500 from the start of last season.
Namon Wright's CU-career-high 25 points wasn't the first time he has torched Drake, as he scored 19 points in an early win against the Bulldogs last year. In those two games Wright shot 13-for-21 from the floor and 13-for-16 on free throws...Freshman Daylen Kountz from Denver East enjoyed a solid CU debut, going 3-for-4 with nine points, four assists, three rebounds and only one turnover in 18-plus minutes...The Buffs have won 11 consecutive home openers...All three of the Buffs' eligible walk-ons — AJ Martinka, Aidan McQuade and Benan Ersek — came off the bench for the final two minutes. Martinka, the only walk-on holdover from last year, grabbed the first two rebounds of his career.