D’Shawn Schwartz has played a key role in plenty of big wins, and he hit what could be pegged as Colorado’s biggest clutch shot in recent memory during his time with the Buffaloes.
Still, the buzz the Colorado Springs native felt during Senior Night this past weekend has been difficult to shake. And so, though he plans to be part of more big wins in the coming weeks, Schwartz doesn’t have to think too far back to recount one of his top memories at CU.
“This (UCLA win) was up there,” Schwartz said of the Buffs’ 70-61 win on Saturday against the Bruins. “It was just so much fun. It was an unforgettable moment. The way we guarded in that last eight or so minutes, it was special.
“It was certainly an emotional night. I was thinking about the seniors last year and how we couldn’t get it done on Senior Night against UCLA. But we handled business. Getting out there and playing with my guys on this court for one of the last times, it was definitely an emotional night. It kind of hit me.
The win, secured when the Buffs held UCLA without a field goal for nearly 7 minutes late in the second half while reeling off a decisive 15-1 run, propelled CU into this week’s AP top 25 at No. 24. The Buffs moved up one slot to No. 12 in Tuesday’s NET rankings.
Oregon’s win on Monday night eliminated the Buffs from the race for the Pac-12 Conference regular-season championship, given they no longer can surpass both Oregon and UCLA. However, the Buffs still can move up from the No. 4 spot, as long as they top Arizona State on Thursday in the regular-season finale (7 p.m., ESPN2).
Like his teammates, Schwartz is planning to share a few more celebrations with the Buffs before his senior year is complete. Denied a bid to last year’s NCAA Tournament when it was canceled in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Buffs are all but assured of a spot in the 68-team field this year. A win against ASU would allow CU to take a four-game winning streak into next week’s conference tournament in Las Vegas.
“It’s going to mean the world,” Schwartz said. “From the seniors all the way down to the freshmen, it’s going to be a big deal. Just learning what it takes to win and how that can carry over in our professional lives, on the basketball or the corporate office. I think playing in the NCAA Tournament is going to be something special. Something we’re going to remember forever.”
Schwartz goes into the final home game of his career ranked eighth-all time in made 3-pointers (141). He is two minutes away from becoming the 20th CU player to log at least 3,000 minutes, and he is tied for 12th all-time in games played (123). With 955 career points, Schwartz still has a shot at becoming the third member of CU’s 2017 recruiting class to join the 1,000-point club, though a few postseason wins certainly will bolster that cause.
Like a few of his senior classmates, Schwartz told BuffZone he at least will consider his options after the season regarding the NCAA’s eligibility relief for the 2020-21 season. Yet if indeed Thursday is Schwartz’s last home game, and regardless of how the upcoming weeks unfold, Schwartz always will be remembered for his overtime 3-pointer at the buzzer that toppled No. 13 Dayton last season in Chicago.
When asked what he is most proud about through those 123 games at CU, it wasn’t that shot, or any of the big wins, that immediately sprung to mind.
“To be honest, it’s the maturity and the relationships I’ve made. That’s something that really sticks out to me,” Schwartz said. “That’s something that I can’t take for granted. All my teammates, those relationships that I’ve built are unbelievable. Those are the guys I’m going to talk to for the rest of my life.”