LYNCHBURG, Va. — When Lucas Siewert went down with an ankle injury during Saturday's victory against Drake, Colorado men's basketball coach Tad Boyle predicted redshirt freshman Dallas Walton would play a key role in the Paradise Jam championship game.
Walton did his part Sunday, providing seven quality minutes off the bench during the Buffaloes' 79-70 victory against Mercer.
"Those seven minutes were important and he played well," Boyle said. "Dallas is going to be a good player at Colorado. He's going to be an important part of this year's team. I don't want him to get discouraged early in the season. When you're playing smaller schools sometimes you're playing smaller lineups, and that doesn't always bode well matchup-wise for Dallas Walton. He needs to continue to work and stay ready, because his number will be called.
"Dallas is going to play more as the season goes on. I've got a lot of confidence in Dallas and he continues to get better and better. He's still a freshman."
While the 7-foot Walton did get beat a couple times at the defensive end, he more than made up for it with his overall production during his relatively brief time on the floor. The Arvada native went 2-for-3 — connecting on a baseline jumper in addition to a finish on a solid post move — and recorded four points, two rebounds, and a blocked shot.
As for Siewert, Boyle said the good news is that the sophomore forward did not suffer a high ankle sprain, which typically takes longer to recover from, but the prognosis won't be clarified until the Buffs return to Colorado.
"We'll get him in treatment," Boyle said. "It wasn't a high ankle sprain, so we'll see."
"I'm going to remember this the rest of my life. It's the first time my family from Virginia side has ever seen me play. And the fact I can go out and win my first championship in front of them in Lynchburg, Virginia? That's special. I'll remember it the rest of my life and they will to."
— CU senior George King, who had many extended family members in attendance at the Paradise Jam and capped the tournament by posting team-leading totals of 25 points and eight rebounds in the title game.
King's 25 points marked the 11th game of his career with at least 20 points, and it was the most he has scored in any game since recording a career-best 27 at Auburn on Nov. 17, 2015...The Buffs are 5-0 for the 14th time in team history...Deleon Brown reached double-digit points three times in 31 games last year as a freshman. After scoring 13 points against Mercer, Brown has two in five games so far this season...The victory against Mercer gave the Buffs three wins in three days for just the second time ever in nonconference play. It previously occurred in 2002 when CU won the Pepsi Classic in Charlotte, N.C....One of Mercer's starting guards was Jordan Strawberry, the son of former baseball star Darryl Strawberry.