Saturday, December 21, 2019

Green's five takeaways from Colorado's 78-76 win over No. 13 Dayton in overtime

Photo Credit: Matt Morton- AP Photo

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

On the second to last Saturday of the decade, the United Center hosted Chicago Legends featuring a classic in the first game as the Colorado Buffaloes (10-2, 1-0 Pac-12), knocked off the No. 13 Dayton Flyers, 78-76 in overtime. D’shawn Schwartz’s game-winning triple kicks off my five takeaways from the United Center for CSO. 

1) The man of the hour:

In need of an option outside of McKinley Wright and Tyler Bey, D’shawn Schwartz delivered in more ways than one with a season-high 20 points in 38 minutes.

The final piece to Schwartz’s 20 points came at the most critical time in overtime as Bey found the open junior on the wing to deliver a three-pointer as time expired, which left most of the Flyer fans at the United Center stunned.

“It felt like I was in a game of NBA2K. It was surreal. I couldn’t describe it. I think it is the biggest shot I have ever hit in my basketball career,” Schwartz said.

2) Buffaloes overcame Flyers’ red-hot start:

Dayton came into Saturday’s game leading the country in field goal percentage (.537) and assists per game (21.0) and lived up to the billing making eight of its first nine field goals. With Colorado in need of massive adjustments, coach Tad Boyle told his guys about the urgency to overcome even in a pro-Dayton crowd in the huddle at the first media timeout with a double-digit deficit.

“I think we were mentally tough. You have to do that on the road, tough environments, you have to do that when other teams are making their run,” Boyle said. “You have to do that at timeouts, when, okay, they hit a bunch of shots in a row, now it's time to get back to who we are. Just a tough group. They're mentally tough.”

3) Wright-Dayton connection:

While Chicago Legends was meant to be a neutral site affair, the first game between No. 13 Dayton and Colorado felt more like a home game at the University of Dayton Center.

For the second straight season, ex-Dayton commit McKinley Wright faced what would have been his former school. Wright proved to be unphased by the boos showered by Dayton fans as the junior led CU with a season-high 29 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with 10-of-22 from the field.

Wright embraced the heat from the Flyer fans about the past and wanted this one more than anyone else on the court.

“It was a really dope feeling. I expected the boos. I told my teammates before we came to Chicago that it was going to happen. I was getting messages on Instagram about how much they hated me or whatever because I left,” Wright said. “I kind of knew it was coming. I talked to my teammates this morning, told them I needed this one personally. They responded for me. That was a big-time game.” 

4) Obi strikes again, but not enough to overcome the empire:

Dayton sophomore Obi Toppin came into the season as one of the highly regarded big men in the country at 6-foot-9 and 220 lbs. with potential NBA Draft stock.

Toppin came into Saturday’s game with a team-high 20.1 points per game and lived up to the billing against Colorado with a team-high 17 points, highlighted by a game-tying three-point make with six seconds to force overtime.

The three-point make happened to be Toppin’s only one of the game, but believed in the trust from his teammates to keep shooting.

“The whole game I wasn't hitting any threes. My teammates were staying with me, had trust in me, telling me to keep shooting if I was open, don't stop shooting,” Toppin said. “It's crazy because right before that play, Trey was looking at me. It's like, If you're open, shoot the ball. It was in the timeout. I was like, I got you. I guess it just went in. It was a good feeling.”

5) Signature non-conference win for CU:

Expectations were sky high for the Buffaloes coming into the season as they were picked to finish second in the Pac-12 in the preseason and climbed to as high as No. 20 in the AP top 25.

After a 7-0 start, back-to-back losses to then-No. 2 Kansas and Northern Iowa iced CU’s expectations like a can of Coors Light. Colorado goes into the Christmas holiday with a mellow feeling after win over a top 15 team as Pac-12 play looms in the new year after a final non-league tune-up against Iona on Dec. 29.

“Again, I think this can be a win that, as we look back on it, certainly I'm not interested in looking back on it right now, but I think as we move forward, we have Christmas coming up, this is a great way to go into it, be thankful for all of our blessings, everything we have in our lives, then come back and use it as a springboard for Iona and Pac-12 play. That's what I'm hoping for,” Boyle said.