There still may be a time or two this season when Colorado basketball fans pine for just one more game with former star point guard McKinley Wright IV running the show.
On Tuesday, though, Keeshawn Barthelemy showed any doubters that the Buffaloes still boast a dynamic floor general.
In his first regular season game as CU’s starting point guard, Barthelemy delivered a solid all-around performance reminiscent of the player he is replacing, helping the Buffs to rally past Montana State for a season-opening 94-90 win in overtime.
“I was looking to be aggressive, because they were plugging ball screens,” Barthelemy said. “I was had to make plays for my teammates. And they pulled through for us.”
Barthelemy went 6-for-11 overall and 3-for-3 on 3-pointers, helping a Buffs team that shot just .139 (5-for-36) from 3-point range during its two exhibition games to a 9-for-19 mark from the arc on Tuesday.
The third-year sophomore from Montreal finished with a Wright-like stat line of 19 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Barthelemy committed just two turnovers in 36 minutes, and while one of them could have proved costly late in regulation, Barthelemy shook it off to score five of the Buffs’ 14 points in overtime.
“Keeshawn is going to be great. KJ Simpson is going to be great. Julian Hammond is going to be great. Our point guard position is in good shape,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “It’s just a matter of who can be consistent. It might be a different guy on a different night.
“The only thing I get frustrated with Keeshawn is on the defensive end and rebounding the basketball. The two things that I bleed. And he tracked down an offensive rebound in the second half, a big one.”
Former Buffs forward D’Shawn Schwartz, who transferred to George Mason for his extra fifth season of eligibility, made his debut with the Patriots, going 5-for-8 with 11 points and seven rebounds in a 74-52 win against Stony Brook. The victory also marked the head coaching debut of former CU assistant Kim English, who also has former Buffs guard and staff member Nate Tomlinson on his staff.
Like Schwartz, former Buffs Jeriah Horne (Tulsa) and Dallas Walton (Wake Forest) are spending their extra seasons elsewhere and play their openers on Wednesday. Former CU guard Daylen Kountz, entering his second season at Northern Colorado, also plays on Wednesday, with the Bears facing Pacific in the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii.
In more disheartening alumni news, on Tuesday CU announced that former forward Glean Eddy passed away over the weekend. A four-year letterman, Eddy was part of the 2003 NCAA Tournament team and played in 120 games in his four seasons with the Buffs.
Five Pac-12 players landed spots on the preseason top 50 watch list for the Naismith Award — the UCLA trio of Tyger Campbell, Jaime Jaquez, and Johnny Juzang, USC’s Isaiah Mobley, and Oregon’s Will Richardson. Five other players from foes on CU’s nonconference list also made the list, including the Kansas trio of Remy Martin, Ochai Agbaji, and David McCormack, in addition to Milwaukee’s Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Tennessee’s Kennedy Chandler…Hammond was the only healthy scholarship player who did not play against Montana State…With 16 points, CU senior Evan Battey became the 44th player to eclipse the 900-point mark in his career. Battey now owns 915 career points and remains on track to become the fourth player from CU’s 2017 recruiting class to reach the 1,000-point mark…Battey also shared a pregame embrace with third-year Montana State coach Danny Sprinkle. Battey said that Sprinkle gave him his first scholarship offer when Sprinkle was an assistant at Cal State Fullerton…The Pac-12 went 10-2 on opening day, with the only losses suffered by Cal (against UC San Diego) and Washington (against Northern Illinois).