If McKinley Wright’s shoulder injury proves problematic for the next few weeks and beyond, the Colorado men’s basketball team will have a colossal void to fill.
Yet one of the bright spots of Saturday night’s close-but-not-quite 77-70 home loss against Washington was the play of junior guard Shane Gatling, who showed he is capable of substituting for Wright at the top of the Buffaloes’ attack even while his shooting woes continue.
Wright, who played through a left shoulder injury during last week’s pair of losses in Arizona, exited Saturday’s contest with 8 minutes, 8 seconds remaining in the first half and did not return. Gatling has played mostly off the ball this season after transferring from Indian Hills Community College, but he impressed in his return to a ball-handling role that helped make him a junior college All-American last season.
“I was comfortable in that role,” Gatling said. “Last year, I had the ball in my hand a lot most of the game. And I had the ball in my hand most of this game (against UW). It didn’t feel like much of a difference. I’ve got to pick it up more and be more of a leader and help lead us to a victory.”
In his third consecutive game off the bench after starting the first 13 games, Gatling again struggled with his shooting touch, going 1-for-10 overall and 1-for-6 on 3-pointers just 48 hours after hitting a season-best five 3-pointers in a win against Washington State.
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