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CU Buffs men’s basketball notes: Season-opening hot streak continues for Keeshawn Barthelemy

Buffs empty bench in rout of Maine

University of Colorado Boulder's Keeshawn Barthelemy (No. 3) dunks the ball in the game against University of Maine at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
University of Colorado Boulder’s Keeshawn Barthelemy (No. 3) dunks the ball in the game against University of Maine at CU Events Center in Boulder on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

At this rate, Keeshawn Barthelemy is going to post a career-best scoring effort that tops 50 points by the end of the 2021-22 college basketball season.

Obviously Barthelemy will be challenged to continue the torrid, high-scoring performances he has compiled through the season’s first three games once Pac-12 Conference play begins. Yet on Monday, Barthelemy posted a career-high scoring effort for the third time in as many games, recording a game-high 22 points as Colorado routed Maine 90-46 at the CU Events Center.

“My teammates really trust me. It’s really them, it’s not me,” Barthelemy said. “Kudos to them.”

Taking over for all-time CU great McKinley Wright IV at the point guard spot, Barthelemy opened the season with a 19-point outing in a win against Montana State. He scored 20 points against New Mexico on Saturday and topped that by two points on Monday against the Black Bears.

Barthelemy’s 1-for-3 mark on 3-pointers actually was off the pace of the 6-for-7 total from long range he produced during the first two games, but his overall mark of 9-for-12 pushed his three-game shooting percentage to .606 (20-for-33).

More encouragingly for the Buffs, after having his performance at New Mexico dimmed by seven turnovers, Barthelemy would have gotten through the entire game on Monday without a single turnover if not for a traveling violation just before he exited the game late in the second half.

“Keeshawn, he wants to be a good player and he wants to do the right things,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “Pretty conscientious. Keeshawn has got a scoring mentality, and he’s going to find out as we go deeper, people are going to start scouting him and they’re going to be maybe helping on drives more. Maybe they’re going to be double-teaming him on ball screens. So he’s going to have to learn to become a distributor as defenses kind of key on him. And that’s the beauty of this team. We have guys that can step up and do that.”

More Wright stuff

Speaking of Wright, the former CU point guard enjoyed another huge game in the NBA G League on Monday night, flirting with a triple-double before finishing with 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Iowa Wolves in a win against Grand Rapids. Wright has played just three G League games and had hit the 30-point mark in two of them.

Bench contributors

The lopsided result against Maine allowed a number of Buffs players to make their debuts.

Most notably, freshman guard Julian Hammond III made his first appearance for the Buffs, coming off the bench to record eight points, four rebounds and a steal in 16 minutes. The former Cherry Creek star went 2-for-4 from the field, knocking down his only 3-point attempt, and 3-for-4 at the free throw line.

Boyle emptied the bench late, allowing walk-ons Will Loughlin, Benan Ersek, Jack Pease and Cody Mains to get into the box score. It was the first appearance of the season for all four players, and the CU debuts for Pease and Mains. All four walk-ons went 0-for-1, though Ersek recorded the first steal of his career.

Wounded Bears

Maine played shorthanded, as junior forward Stephane Ingo was sidelined by an injury. Ingo started every game for Maine in its abbreviated nine-game season a year ago, averaging 10.6 points and 8.6 rebounds, and he was averaging 8.5 points and 8.5 rebounds through the Black Bears’ first two games this season.

Notable

In the first regular season AP top 25 poll released on Monday, UCLA retained its hold on the No. 2 spot while Oregon moved up one spot to No. 12. USC inched into this week’s poll at No. 25. Arizona (15 points) was the only other Pac-12 program to receive votes. CU didn’t receive any votes after getting four points in the preseason poll…Among upcoming CU opponents, Kansas remained at No. 3 and Tennessee moved up one slot to No. 17. Colorado State, who the Buffs could run into at the upcoming Paradise Jam tournament, received 15 points and unofficially is in a three-way tie at No. 31 with Arizona and Florida State…Reserve forward Luke O’Brien tallied four points for his first points of the season, and he also finished with four steals. O’Brien has collected six steals in just 32 minutes so far this year…CU has posted at least 80 points in each of the first three games of the season for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

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