Everyone wants to point toward Bob Cousy Award finalist McKinley Wright IV and Karl Malone Award finalist Tyler Bey for Colorado basketball’s success thus far in 2019-20. But it’s not only the two star juniors who have propelled the Buffs (18-5, 7-3 Pac-12) to the No. 24 ranking in the country.
Exceptional play from unheralded athletes has elevated the level of play for the Buffaloes. On Thursday night, it was from junior wing D’Shawn Schwartz and senior guard Shane Gatling.
Gatling and Schwartz combined to score 24 of Colorado’s 71 points, providing a much needed secondary option for CU. The duo did a great job of facilitating for the Buffs, both recording four assists. For Schwartz, Thursday night featured a career-high in helpers (four).
“When you have a guy named Tyler (Bey), (you’ve) just got to give him the rock,” Schwartz said. “Shane (Gatling) made a couple, I mean me and Shane were really in a symbiotic relationship tonight.”
“I ain’t never heard of that word,” said Wright IV laughing.
Symbiotic is used to describe a relationship between two different things that benefit each entity. And that’s exactly how Schwartz and Gatling played Thursday against a California team that put up a good fight and made 56% of its shots on the night. They were able to provide for the Buffs on a night where the bench scored only five points.
Gatling, in his senior year, has been in and out of the rotation throughout the season but recently has stepped up in the past few games. He is averaging 6.5 points and has the ability to knock down the three-pointer in key situations. Against Cal, he shot two-of-seven from downtown and was plus 11 on the court in 27 minutes of action.
His counterpart, Schwartz has started in all 23 games, averaging 10.8 points per game. The junior stepped up and shot five-of-seven from the field and two-of-three from three-point land. Schwartz converted on his open looks and had the most exciting play of the game when he slammed home an alley-oop thrown by his partner in crime, Gatling.
The Buffs are going to need Schwartz and Gatling to continue to produce points and play well if they want a chance at winning the Pac-12. Both players have experience and the ability to play well consistently.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Buffs, who are set to face the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. MST at the CU Events Center. Look for Schwartz and Gatling building off of this win and continuing to be in a symbiotic relationship against the solid Stanford team.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Nicole Laub at firstname.lastname@example.org.