The annual Black-and-Gold intra-squad scrimmage always is a different sort of coaching opportunity for Colorado men's basketball leader Tad Boyle.
For the first time during the preseason, Boyle took on a more passive observing role Saturday morning at the CU Events Center, allowing assistants Kim English and Mike Rohn to take charge of the respective squads while their boss watched quietly from the scorer's table.
As it typical in these sorts of scrimmages, a few highlights stood out. But so did Boyle's desire to start diving into the game film. The workout was divided into four 10-minute quarters which were scored as separate competitions, and the lineups were altered liberally.
"There were some good things that I saw out there, but it will be good to go back and watch the film and dissect it," Boyle said. "I try not to make too many preconceived judgments. You see who shoots the ball well, who doesn't shoot the ball well. But one of the things we talk about with the guys all the time is, what are you doing to help your team function and be successful that doesn't involve scoring the ball. Those are the things you've got to kind of get a feel for on tape.
"I saw some guys make some extra passes. Passing is something this team needs to get better at, making plays for each other. Because I don't think we have that guy that we can give the ball to and say 'Go get 30 for us.'"
While the preseason is more than halfway finished per the calendar, the intra-squad scrimmage marked the midpoint of the competitive portion of the preseason slate. The Buffs traveled to Texas last week to battle SMU in a closed scrimmage, and next week Colorado Mines visits the Events Center for the second consecutive year for an exhibition game.
The Buffs open the regular season at home Nov. 13 against Drake.
"Every Saturday, and obviously we're two-thirds of the way through, we've got a test," Boyle said. "This was a test against ourselves. Next week will be a test against Mines to kind of find out where we are. We have to really move forward in terms of things we have to put in offensively. We still have some things we have to add to our playbook. Defensively, we have most of what we're going to do in. We just have to kind of refine and get better at those things.
"The next two weeks is like we're going to tighten the screws a little bit."
One of the challenges Colorado Springs native D'Shawn Schwartz faced going into his sophomore season was finding ways to score while attacking the basket. The 3-point ace put some of that work on display Saturday, unleashing a baseline drive he finished with a commanding dunk late in the third quarter.
It was one of several baskets Schwartz converted while driving to the rim.
"It's funny because I've missed that dunk like three times in practice the last few weeks. I finally got it," Schwartz said. "I'm just trying to show improvement every day."
Schwartz's baseline dunk was part of a late rally in the third quarter competition that was the most spirited of the scrimmage. The Black squad overcame a 13-11 deficit to outscore the Gold squad 10-5 the rest of the way, drawing an appreciative round of applause from the few hundred in attendance.
The Buffs will be back in action at the CU Events Center next Saturday, Nov. 3, in an exhibition game against Colorado Mines at 4 p.m... Shane Gatling gave the crowd a brief scare when he limped off the floor following a hard foul late in the junior guard quickly returned.