SALT LAKE CITY — It was a game Colorado probably doesn’t win a year ago. Or maybe any year since 2012, when the Buffaloes last posted a victory at Utah’s Huntsman Center.
Likewise, in seasons past it’s probably not at all a game in which Buffs senior D’Shawn Schwartz finishes with a double-double. Not after a 1-for-7 mark in the first half for Schwartz that featured a couple of missed layups.
Yet Schwartz was able to shake it off and post his second career double-double, as well as his second in the past two weeks, during the Buffs’ 65-58 win Monday at Utah that ended an eight-game losing streak on the Utes’ home floor.
Prior to the Buffs’ win at USC on Dec. 31, Schwartz had never put together a double-digit rebounding game and owned a season-high of four. After grabbing a career-best 15 rebounds against Utah to go with his 15 points, Schwartz has now posted two double-digit rebounding efforts in the past four games.
“Like anything else, it’s something I’ve had to work on and build on throughout my time here,” Schwartz said. “Just crashing, being aggressive, being selfish on the boards, that’s something that I’m getting better at and I’m going to try to implement the rest of the season.”
Following his 1-for-7 first half, Schwartz went 5-for-8 in the second half and scored four points during CU’s game-changing 15-0 run immediately after halftime. Schwartz’s lone 3-pointer of the night was the 125th of his career, moving him into a tie with co-all-time-leading scorer Cory Higgins for the 14th-most 3-pointers in team history.
“I’m really proud of him because he did not play very well in the first half,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “He missed some bunnies. His head was down. He was frustrated. But he really picked it up in the second half. And to finish with 15 and 15 shows a testament to his mental toughness. Which is great to see out of one of your seniors.
“In years past, that rough first half might have done him in for the night. But tonight it didn’t. That shows the resiliency that a senior is supposed to play with.”
Change of routine
Given Utah’s coronavirus testing protocols, and the fact the Buffs have three games this week, Boyle opted to pass on the usual game day morning shoot-around on Monday. After watching his Buffs struggle during the first half, it’s a choice Boyle probably won’t make again.
“Because of Utah’s testing protocols, we would’ve had to get up at 7 or 7:30 in the morning and wouldn’t have been able to shoot around until 10 or 11,” Boyle said. “We have three games this week. Let’s let the guys sleep in, let them get their legs, a lot of energy. And we came out and played like we were in mud. That may not be the way to approach this in the future.”
Backup point guard Keeshawn Barthelemy exited the game with an apparent ankle injury with a little less than 8 minutes remaining in the first half and did not return. Boyle did not have an immediate update on Barthelemy’s status following the win, and he presumably will be reevaluated ahead of Thursday’s home date against Cal.
Barthelemy played just 2 minutes, 41 seconds before exiting. His absence paved the way for Colorado Springs freshman Nique Clifford to play for the first time since the end of a Dec. 20 rout against Washington.
“He was a little gimpy,” Boyle said. “I asked (trainer) Rawley (Klingsmith) if he could go at halftime and he said no. It was an open-floor deal. He was just trying to go too fast. He’s got to slow down a little bit. But hopefully he’ll be OK.”
The Pac-12 on Monday announced the next round of tipoff times and television info for the next two weeks.
CU’s game at Washington on Jan. 20 will start at 7 p.m. MT and air on ESPNU. The game on Jan. 23 at Washington State tips at 6 p.m. MT and will air on either ESPNU or ESPN2.
The following week, the Jan. 27 home date against Washington State, rescheduled from Dec. 5, will start at 7 p.m. at the CU Events Center and will air on ESPNU. On Jan. 30 the Buffs host a rematch against Utah that begins at 7:30 p.m. and airs on Pac-12 Networks.
The Buffs picked up 75 points in this week’s AP top 25 poll, finishing with 96 points and the unofficial No. 28 spot in the nation as the third team among others receiving votes. Oregon remains the only Pac-12 team ranked, but after their loss at CU the Ducks dropped five spots to No. 22…CU’s 49 rebounds was a season-high.