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Several new standards set for CU Buffs men’s basketball in 2020-21

Buffs posted historical marks at FT line, 3-point range

BOULDER, CO - Feb. 6, 2021: ...
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
The Colorado men’s basketball team flourished this season in many statistical categories, including a .719 winning percentage that hasn’t been reached since the 1968-69 season.

It ended abruptly, as these things always do.

One moment the Colorado men’s basketball team was attempting to make history, coming off a stirring win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with an opportunity to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in the modern history of the tournament.

Then, suddenly, it was all done, the team left to walk off the floor in Indianapolis on Monday following a second-round loss against Florida State awash in tears — mostly due to the end of a season and era, but also perhaps by the enormity of the tragedy unfolding back home in Boulder.

“Every year, it ends so abruptly,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “Last year it ended super abruptly, because we lose to Washington State in the Pac-12 tournament and then everything is canceled. This year, you get back to the hotel, and the plane is going home 10 o’clock the next morning. The season’s over with.”

It was a season that won’t soon be lost to memory. From McKinley Wright IV putting together a standout senior season to cap a historic career, to Jeriah Horne’s 3-point assault, to the Buffs’ bid to topple the NCAA’s all-time free throw record, the numbers put together by the Buffs will leave a lasting impression in the program’s history book.

Team marks

At 23-9, the Buffs matched the second-most wins in program history in a season in which they played four fewer regular season games. The 2013-14 and 2018-19 teams also won 23 games, with Boyle’s first two CU teams (2010-11, 2011-12) sharing the record with 24 wins.

The Buffs’ winning percentage of .719 ranks ninth all-time. Not only is that the top mark of Boyle’s 11 seasons at CU, but it marked the first winning percentage above .700 since the 1968-69 season.

CU spent much of the season taking a shot at the all-time NCAA free throw percentage record of .822 held by the Harvard team of 1983-84. The Buffs fell just short of that at .819, but that mark still shattered the former team record of .778 (2010-11) and also topped the former Pac-12 record of .786 (Arizona in 2003-04).

Additionally, the Buffs finished with a 3-point percentage of .372, which is good for a three-way tie for third in team history (also 2003-04, 2010-11).

McKinley Wright IV

CU’s star point guard became the program’s all-time assist leader against Cal on Jan. 14, toppling the record in his 112th game — the same number of games former all-time leader Jay Humphries played for the Buffs.

Wright finished with a total of 683 assists that could easily stand longer than Humphries’ 37-year old mark. Wright also finished in the top-10 all-time in scoring (1,857, sixth), made field goals (668, sixth), made 3-pointers (401, 10th), made free throws (388, ninth), career free throw percentage (.803, T-ninth), steals (140, T-10th), games played (131, T-fifth), starts (130, T-second), and minutes played (4,338, second).

Wright also finished in a tie for 20th all-time in rebounds (644), and his 182 assists as a senior is the second-highest single-season total in team history. Wright finishes his career with four of the program’s top nine single-season assist marks. No player in CU history has recorded more double-digit assist games (10) or double-digit scoring games (109) than Wright.

Senior standouts

Boyle had never welcomed a graduate transfer into the program before recruiting former Tulsa starter Jeriah Horne last year, and the fit could not have worked out better. Despite a late slump, Horne still was a 3-point machine for much of the season for CU, finishing with a .397 3-point percentage. That figure is the No. 7 single-season 3-point mark in team history.

Colorado Springs native D’Shawn Schwartz also enjoyed a solid senior season, surpassing the 1,000-point mark during CU’s NCAA Tournament win against Georgetown and finishing his career tied for 34th on the Buffs’ all-time scoring list (1,026). Schwartz also knocked down 156 3-pointers, which ranks seventh all-time, and he ranks ninth in games played (128).

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