This basketball game was not for the faint of heart Pioneer basketball fan – 3 for 17 from the 3-point line, 9 of 27 from the field, and trailing by double digits in rebounds – the Pioneers had a brutal first half. The Pios (9-8) dug a big hole against a good team, IPFW (14-3). Despite a second half rally and a brief DU lead, 58-57 with 3 minutes to go, the Pioneers could not hold on for the win.
Daniel Amigo, suspended for the prior game, was nowhere to be seen. The Mastodons exploited the Pio’s interior defense with easy buckets and IPFW bigs forced DU to take low percentage outside shots. It was a miracle that DU exited the first half trailing by only seven points. And the officials were – how shall we say it…crappy.
The Pioneers thawed out to start the second half with a five point run to make it a 2-point deficit. At the 14:30 mark, a DU three point shot took the score to 41-43. However, DU turnovers let IPFW move out to a 49-43 lead at the 11:45 mark. DU tightened up their interior defense in the middle of the period but the Mastodons started to hit 3’s – IPFW Guard Max Landis did major damage to the Pioneers going 4-6 from downtown. Marcus Byrd countered with two buckets to make it 53-56. A few buckets later, Pemberton gave the Pios the lead 56-55 at 3:00 minutes to go but the slim lead was short lived. The Mastodon responded and extended their lead to 3. Engesser was fouled attempting a 3-point shot and had three free throws to tie the game with 4.0 seconds left. He hit the first, missed the second, and intentionally tanked the third but IPFW recovered the miss with a 2 point lead. IPFW hit two free throws after an intentional foul and Rosga nailed a 3 point meaningless shot to trim the deficit to 1 as time ran out to make a cosmetic improvement to the final score, 64-54.
DU trailed in rebounds 32-23 but held the deficit even in the second half. The Mastodons hit 50% from the field, 47% from three, and were led in scoring by guard Max Landis with 19 points. DU shot 43% from the field and 32% from downtown. Joe Rosga had 20 points and Nate Engesser with 15 points.