Denver (8-3) Hoops Stage Rally for Huge Road Win - 81-77

A resilient DU squad, trailing by 8 at halftime, rallied with an early 12 - 2 run to take a second half lead and hang on for a huge win against the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) Bears in Greeley. The DU team, playing with growing confidence and strong veteran leadership from Rucker, Pemberton, Engesser and Byrd kept their composure, upped the defensive pressure, and ran their offense with precision in reeling off their third straight road win against an underrated UNC team.

UNC, coming off a big home win against CSU, took on the Pioneers Wednesday night in Greely. The Pioneers faced a big task holding four double digit players in check- Dallas Anglin, Cameron Michael, Anthony Johnson, and Jordan Wilson. The UNC Bears (3-7) recently got Dallas Anglin back in the line-up to add to their arsenal.

In the first half, UNC's Anthony Johnson lit up the scoreboard early with 13 of UNC's first 15 points. UNC moved out to a 15-22 lead at the 10 minute mark. UNC's dangerous 3-guard rotation had the Pios scrambling early on D. But a couple of steals and Bear's missed shots allowed the Pios to hang close 22-24.  DU continued to create good shots under the basket but UNC held on to a 5-point lead through the middle of the frame. Cold shooting by DU in the last 3-4 minutes moved the Bears lead to 10 points. DU closed the half with a pair of Joe Rosga free throws - 35-43 at the break. For the first half, DU shot 45% from the field and 33% from three. The big difference in the first half between the teams was UNC's Johnson and Anglin scoring 34 of 43 points for the Bears.

In the second half, buckets by Rucker and  Byrd left the Pios trailing by 4. Finally, DU took the lead 47-45 with a Rosga three at the 15 minute mark, completing a 12-2 DU run. DU's run resulted from sloppy play by the Bears and increased defensive pressure from the Pios. The teams continued to trade leads and baskets. Then, UNC started moving inside and doing damage, taking a 4 point lead at 7:30 when they converted a DU turnover. A Marcus Byrd 3-point bomb put DU up 65-63 for DU's first lead. Then, a Rucker 3 from the arc and a Neff free throw put the visitors up 69-63 at the 3:57 mark. Rosga free throws took the lead to 6 at 73-67 at 2:30 but UNC came back and tied the game again at 1:27. Rucker missed the first of two free throws but canned the second to make it 77-76 DU. Then, with the Bears driving to the basket at 7.4 seconds to play, the officials called a "tie-up" with possession going back to the Pioneers. It was a close call and the home crowd went nuts. Dick Monfort, a UNC alum and trustee, was shown blowing a gasket in the stands. At that point, it was a parade to the foul line as the Pioneers went on to sink four foul shots, all by Jake Pemberton, as a desperate UNC team fouled to get the ball back. Final score - 81-77 DU.

This team continues to gain confidence at home and on the road. They are playing team defense and running their offense with precision. C.J. Bobbitt missed the game with mono, his 4th missed game. As usual, DU played nearly everyone on the squad with great contributions from ironman freshmen Joe Rosga,  Thomas Neff (14 points) and Jake Holtzman . The Pioneers shot 49% from the field and 44% from the arc.

8-3? What a start for DU basketball!


Anonymous said...

That picture is awful. Really poor taste.

PA78 said...

The picture is entirely appropriate for a partisan website meant for DU athletics supporters. Dick Mondort probably won't
Like it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, photo of the bear is kind of dumb and unnecessary, and in poor taste.

Otherwise, kudos to LetsgoDU for their articles. You guys are doing a good job covering a lot of different sports and events.