DU Hoops Stuns Utah State Amid Aggie Student Unrest

(above) The Utah State Student Section usually seats 4,000 for home games, but a student led protest during the DU contest last night made for a different atmosphere

From: Standard Examiner
by Rhett Wilkenson

Logan, Utah - The University of Denver Men's basketball team pulled off their second upset of a mid-major power within a week, but it was unrest in the Utah State student section that was the talk of the town.  DU shot 52.1 percent from the field and improved to 5-1 on the season.

Still without star Brady Jardine, Utah State lost 67-54 to Denver Wednesday evening in the Smith Spectrum, ending their 33-game home winning streak, which was the third-longest active streak in the nation and the second-longest in school history.

The defeat came in front of a typically earsplitting student section that was perhaps two-thirds full at most. Those who were there were heard multiple times during the game speaking about not cheering as loudly against the Pioneers in protest for university president Stan Albrecht and athletic director Scott Barnes having released a public apology last week for cheers from some in the student body that went "beyond ... human decency [LetsGoDU: Remember this is Utah-so "human decency" may not include having multiple wives]."

Led by the first row, the student section also demonstrated a silent treatment for the first three minutes of game time.

"Want to see how to kill an atmosphere? Come to the Spectrum tonight," one Tweet said 17 minutes before tipoff.

Some fans commented on Twitter about how the lack of students in the Spectrum seemed to indicate that it was already Christmas break.

"Guess everyone spent their money on bowl tickets," said another, in reference to the student enthusiasm behind the football team's invitation to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Monday [LetsGoDU: How many bags of potato chips does it cost to attend that piece of crap bowl game?].

One team leader wasn't shy in saying that he noticed the lack of support compared to previous games.

"Coming back (from a two-game road trip the Aggies split), it had a different feeling," Brockeith Pane said. "Not having the fans hurt us. It hurt me."

"That whole thing's unfortunate," coach Stew Morrill said of the student response.

Barnes spoke with some students on the front row before the game began, asking if the students "were cool" with the formal apology.

Morrill said he had plenty of other things to worry about, outside of student opinion of administrators.

"I don't know that I can personally say how the crowd affected us," Morrill said. "I was concentrating on how bad we were playing, not the student issues."

Indeed, the Aggies' only lead of the entire game came less than a minute-and-a-half into the game. A 14-2 Pioneer run driven by an early layup and three-pointer from 15-point high scorer Rob Lewis spurred his team to a 34-29 halftime lead that never shrunk to smaller than four. The Pioneers controlled the point until the point came in which Pane was removed out of the game in clear frustration and a discussion with Morrill with his team down 59-45 with 4:58 remaining.

Chris Udofia and Rob Lewis led Denver and shared game-high honors with 15 points apiece while Brian Stafford added 12 points and Chase Hallam tossed in 11. Udofia snared a team-high six rebounds.


Anonymous said...

Still a huge accomplishment for the Pios to go in there and end a 33 game home win streak.

dggoddard said...

So far DU has wins over Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, St Marys & Utah State, all schools that have been to the NCAA Tournament since 2007, is great step forward for the program.

Anonymous said...

"Student unrest." Funny. Good job, hoops! Some impressive wins this season.

Anonymous said...

If DU keeps playing this well, the Pioneers will be a serious factor in the Sun Belt race and a potential post-season canadidate.

This team plays like a good team should - unselfish, crisp passing, good shot selection and tough on D. Rebounding is improving.

Great to see.