The Colorado State men’s basketball team earned an 81-64 win over Northern Colorado on Saturday afternoon to improve to 8-2 on the season, but perhaps the bigger story of the afternoon was the return of redshirt senior guard Gian Clavell.

Clavell made his first appearance of the 2016-2017 season on Saturday following his Nov. 9 arrest for false imprisonment and domestic violence, his second arrest in 14 months.

Despite an ongoing legal investigation, the University released a statement on Wednesday, reinstating Clavell for all competition upon completion of their own investigation. Prior to to being fully reinstated, Clavell was cleared to resume practicing with the Rams the weekend prior.

Clavell made his season debut with 10:48 remaining in the first half and received a moderate ovation from the 3,114 people in the stands of Moby Arena on Saturday.

“I thought it was great the way the fans received him,” head coach Larry Eustachy said. “Even neater is how this family of our team has held together, and how they embraced him.”

Clavell made his presence felt in his return. The 6-foot-4 guard recorded 15 points in 28 minutes in his return to the court, and both his teammates and coaches were happy to have him back.

“It was good,” redshirt freshman big man Nico Carvacho said of Clavell’s return. “He brings another spark defensively and offensively.”

“He’s a great player, man.” junior guard Devocio Butler said. “I’m glad he’s back. We needed that.”

The Rams benefited from the numbers that Clavell put up on the stat sheet, but they arguably benefited more from him simply being on the court.

“It helped me out,” Butler, who recorded a career-high 19 points in the win, said of Clavell. “My first two threes was off his penetration.”

The Rams benefited from Clavell’s return on Saturday, but with the success they’ve had in his absence there might be some concern that his return will throw off some of the momentum the team has generated without him.

According to Butler, that’s not the case at all.

“I think Gian understands what we’ve done without him,” Butler said. “He wasn’t around, but he was still around. He still spoke to us, he still made sure we were fine, congratulated us on games. He’s been there; it’s just on the court. The on the court chemistry is there, you saw it tonight.”

It’s clear that the trust on the court still exists, but does sit exist off the court?

Both Carvacho and Butler think so.

“We trust him,” Carvacho said. “We were with him going through it. We trusted him no matter what.”

Eustachy made it very clear that the team is not focused on the past, in part because the University will not comment on the matter until the legal investigation is completed, and partly because the the Rams will take on 9-1 Kansas State on Saturday at the Pepsi Center.

“We’re going to put the past behind us and move forward,” Eustachy said.

Eustachy also said that Clavell likely wouldn’t come off the bench against the Wildcats.

“I don’t think so,” Eustachy said. “I think we’ll put him in the starting lineup.”