Cowboys (5-2) Dispatch Pioneers (5-2) at Magness 68-52
Going into tonight's game, the Pioneers were 35th in the NCAA in 3-point shooting percentage. Unfortunately, with 3-point shots not dropping (15.8%) and with standout-freshmen C.J. Bobbitt in street clothes, the Pioneers could not hold a 1-point lead with 7:41 to go in the game as the Wyoming Cowboys went on to steamroll DU.
In the first half, DU started slowly and was down 20 to 10 with the Cowboys hitting 4 of 7 from the 3-point arc. Marcus Byrd hit some big shots to close the gap to 23-17 with 3:55 to go in the first half. The Pioneers pushed the game to a 25-27 deficit at the break but Wyoming clearly had the better of the play.
Wyoming continued to hit 3's in the second half but DU held close with steals, rebounds, a decent field goal shooting percentage to capture their first lead of the game at the 15:00 minute mark 36-35. The teams exchanged points and a Bryant Rucker three knotted the score at 43. Denver took the lead again at 48-47 at the 7:41 mark. After Wyoming fast breaks, Pioneer fouls, and missed threes, the Pioneers trailed by double digits. Wyoming's size and strength wore down the Pioneers to the final margin of 16 points.
The loss of freshman C.J. Bobbitt for the game, out with an illness, seemed to throw off the rotation. His points, inside presence, and rebounding were missed. Bryant Rucker, DU's most improved player, had another solid game with 17 points.The coaching staff played 10 deep into their roster, even when trailing, with 7 players getting double digit minutes. The loss of Bobbitt and the lack of a reliable inside presence left DU vulnerable to the final run that doomed their chances.
Josh Adams, a senior guard for Wyoming, was a dominant player on the floor with 19 points. Denver's inside game was inconsistent all night on both offense and defense. DU was out rebounded by 8 but led in steals 9-3 to stay close for the first 30-35 minutes of the game. Wyoming shot 44% from the 3-point arc for the game while DU shot 15%. Unfortunately, DU's inconsistent interior play could not pick up the slack. On the other hand, Wyoming relied on interior penetration and easy buckets in the final five minutes to close out the game. The Cowboys led in field goal percentage as well 40.4% to 52.6.