Pios push #11th ranked K-State into last minute, falling 64-56 in gutty road effort

Denver gave #11th ranked K-State all they wanted in Manhattan, Kansas. Photo: Tim Thompson

The Denver Pioneers, going in as 19-point underdogs, played their hearts out in 64-56 road loss at 11th-ranked Kansas State before 9,438 fans at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas. Denver held the Wildcats to only 38% shooting, but could not contain KSU senior guard Barry Brown, whose 25 points led all scorers.

Video highlights here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCSach7GrHA

The Pioneers had cut KSU’s lead to just four points, 60-56, with 1:21 to play on a pair of free throws by DU junior Ade Murkey, but the Wildcats made some key plays down the stretch, including a Kamau Stokes steal and a Xavier Sneed dunk to escape the upset bid by the Pioneers. K-State was an NCAA final eight team last season, with all of the Cats’ key players returning for this season.

The Pioneers were led by senior Joe Rosga’s 18 points, while senior Ronnie Harrell, Jr. and Murkey both chipped in with 14 points apiece. The Pioneers last led the game 38-37 with 13 minutes to go, and with the Wildcats shooting just 8-21 at the free throw line, DU was able to keep the game close down the stretch, out-rebounding KSU on the defensive glass, 30-29, although DU did give up 17 turnovers in the game.

The Pioneers are now 1-1 on the young season, and will face Abilene Christian on Thursday.

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DU Men’s Soccer Selected to Host NCAA Tourney Pod, will face Air Force or Central Arkansas this Sunday

Andre Shinyashiki (#9), who leads the nation in goals with 28, will lead DU into the 2018 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament.

The University of Denver Men’s Soccer team has been not only selected for the NCAA tournament, but rewarded with a #15 seed, a bye in the first round, and will host the winner of Air Force and Central Arkansas at DU on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3 pm MT. 

If the Pioneers should win that home game, they will face the winner of #2 seed Indiana University’s pod of Indiana, University of Connecticut or the University of Rhode Island in the third round.   The full NCAA bracket is here: http://www.ncaa.com/brackets/soccer-men/d1/2018

There was certainly some concern last night that DU might not get to host an NCAA tourney game this season, as its RPI had fallen to #17 on the evening of tournament selection (only 16 teams are seeded, the other 32 at large teams travel to the seeded home sites), but fortunately for DU, the NCAA tournament committee did not use straight RPI to seed the tournament.

In looking ahead, Air Force, with an at large bid, is the far better of the two teams (RPI#26) when compared with Central Arkansas (#67). However, Air Force is not playing well right now, having lost its last two games to Grand Canyon (#53 RPI).  That said, Air Force being only an hour from the DU campus would likely bring more fans to DU for the game than Central Arkansas, the Champion of the Missouri Valley Conference.

For the Pioneers, it is likely that Sunday’s game will be the last home field opportunity to watch Senior Andre Shinyashiki play for DU.  Shinyashiki’s 28 goals this season leads the nation by wide margin, and he may be enjoying the finest season ever for a DU athlete in any sport.  He is one of the favorites for the Hermann Trophy, college soccer’s national equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in football or the Hobey Baker award in college hockey.  Should Andre win that award, he could be considered DU’s finest athlete in the modern era, given that there are only 60 teams playing D-I hockey, where DU has two Hobey Baker Winners, Matt Carle in 2006 and Will Butcher in 2017, the only two DU team sports athletes to win a national MVP trophy. Since there are 206 teams playing D-I soccer, Shinyshiki’s achievement would be arguably greater than Carle or Butcher.  DU has also had individual NCAA D-I champions in gymnastics (Nina McGee in 2016), swimming (Jack Kelso in 1962) and many in skiing over the years, but it could be argued that individual national MVP awards in team sports are greater achievements, since there are opponents directly trying to physically stop an athlete from achieving them, versus individual sports where the clock or judges’ scoring determines win or loss status.

While Shinyashiki’s achievements are spectacular this year, detractors argue that most of his goals have come against lower level opponents, and that against top-25 teams, Andre’s goal scoring is much rarer. Let’s hope Andre and DU score more goals in the coming weeks, and that DU can advance deep into the tournament.

In any event, all DU fans should come to the soccer game this Sunday to cheer on Andre and the Pioneers in the NCAA tournament.

Pioneers swept by St. Cloud State in first NCHC road trip

Photo credit: Russell Hons

Denver lost for the first and second times this season on their first true road trip of the season as they dropped a pair of 4-3 decisions to the St. Cloud State Huskies at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. The Pioneers looked overmatched all weekend and for the first time all season, their youth and related undisciplined tendencies finally came back to bite them. Continue reading Pioneers swept by St. Cloud State in first NCHC road trip

Denver Wins Summit League and NCAA Berth, 1-0

Photo: Courtesy Jason Evans

Denver likely ended Omaha’s season Saturday afternoon but, as usual, the contest went down to the final minutes. Kenny Akimatsu gave the Pioneers the lead in the first half, 1-0, but several shots by the Mavericks in the waning moments almost found net. A rocket was launched off Omaha’s Nil Ayats right foot with 21 seconds to go and hit the upper cross bar and ricocheted down toward the goal line but landed in fair play. Denver ran out the clock to win the contest and receive an NCAA automatic bid. Continue reading Denver Wins Summit League and NCAA Berth, 1-0

DU to play Walkin’ Bob and Omaha in Summit League Finals

He’s been given his walking papers before. So, LetsGoDU decided to provide the Omaha Mavericks head coach Bob Warming, a printer-friendly CIBER Field map in the event he is asked by officials to leave Saturday’s Summit League final. Warming, ironically, lost his cool earlier this season in Omaha when the Mavericks gave up a 2-goal advantage to DU, allowing 4 goals to Andre Shinyashiki before Warming earned his second yellow card – sending Walkin’ Bob to the showers. Continue reading DU to play Walkin’ Bob and Omaha in Summit League Finals

Denver Hockey Series Preview: St. Cloud State

Photo courtesy of MinnesotaHockeyMag.com

The Denver Pioneers and St. Cloud State Huskies battle this weekend for early NCHC supremacy

It was all positive vibes last weekend when the Pioneers swept the Western Michigan Broncos.  Jarid Lukosevicious put on a show with five goals which earned him the NCAA’s first star of the week and the NCHC’s offensive player on the week.  Defenseman Ian Mitchell also won NCHC honors as the defenseman of the week. Continue reading Denver Hockey Series Preview: St. Cloud State

New Faces Propel Denver to Opening Win 62-50

Photo: Courtesy Jason Evans

After an uneven first half that ended 27-27, Denver graduate transfer Ronnie Harrell, Jr. and sharp-shooting freshman Jase Townsend led Denver with 18 and 16 points respectively for the night to pull away from the Maine Black Bears. DU had 29 points off the bench as the coaching staff substituted liberally during the contest, playing all five new freshmen in the game. Denver out-shot Maine 42% to 31% but was out-rebounded 40-37 for the night and was doubled up, 14-7, on the offensive boards. Continue reading New Faces Propel Denver to Opening Win 62-50

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