Men's Hoops - By the Numbers - Destroying Lipscomb

Did anyone in their wildest dreams think DU would start out 2-1 on the road? DU dismantled Lipscomb 82-69 this afternoon in Santa Clara, California to make it two in a row. By any measure, this was an outstanding three day tournament for the men's basketball team.

After pummeling Lipscomb in the first half and taking a 13 point lead into halftime, the Pioneers lost the lead in the second half and went down by 3 points but came back for the win. Seniors Nate Engesser and Bryant Rucker played fantastic games hitting 3 point bombs to hold off the Bison. Christian Mackey, without Daniel Amigo, played huge against a much bigger squad that included 7'2" David Wishon. 

The Pioneers started the same line-up for the third straight game this afternoon of veterans Bryant Rucker and Marcus Byrd with freshmen C.J Bobbitt, Thomas Neff, and Joe Rosga. The three rookies chipped in with a combined 16 points and 8 rebounds. Engesser, off the bench, made 6 3-pointers and scored a game high 26 points. Marcus Byrd chipped in with 12 points and three rebounds. Rucker had another great all-around game with 15 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist. C.J. Bobbitt led the squad with 7 critical rebounds. While Mackey's stats were modest, he played a huge game for the Pioneers.

DU shot 44.4% from the field and a terrific 43.2% from 3-point territory. DU also shot 90.9% from the line (10-11). Denver had 7 turnovers to 11 for Lipscomb. Denver's bench outscored Lipscomb an astounding 39-14. Denver also led on steals 6-3. DU was out rebounded 36-30 but more than made up for that in other categories. 

A young DU's team is suddenly very deep and Joe Scott is not afraid to play his bench. 10 DU players hit the hardwood. With three freshmen starting, the team is showing great maturity and energy.

Plus: Resiliency. When DU gave up the 13 point lead they did not give in. Led by their senior duo, Nate Engesser and Bryant Rucker and steady contributions from a deep bench, they held tough. These guys are scrappy!
Biggest Area for Improvement - None. When you come back and take a win on a neutral court with with an undersized, undermanned squad, you gotta feel good.
Surprise: Christian Mackey held his own without Daniel Amigo and was able to help neutralize a huge Lipscomb front line.


Puck Swami said...

This is exciting stuff so far.

No one is mistaking Santa Clara and Lipscomb for Kentucky or Duke, but the Pios simply scrapped their way to a couple of road wins behind some youth and guile.

When they could have crumbled, they didn't. And Nate Engesser, who looks like the kid who bags my groceries at King Soopers, and not a grizzled senior D-I basketball player, stepped up this weekend and became a senior leader.

There are some nice ingredients here - lets see what they can become...

Dunker said...

Box score I saw had DU with 28 field goals and 26 assists. If true, that must be a NCAA record.

5BWest said...

Dunker - Right you are! DU made 28 of 63 shots with 26 assists. That just might be a record. 16 of those were thrown to the perimeter for 3-point shots that dropped.

5BWest said...

BTW, the season assist record is held by Stephen F. Austin (17.5) per game followed by North Carolina (17.4). Through three games, DU is averaging 18.66 assists per game. It is still early and DU is relatively low scoring offense but the % assists to baskets-made is crazy!