Source: IUPUI Athletics

INDIANAPOLIS – The IUPUI basketball team put together a 17-0 run spanning two halves to blast past Denver inside Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Saturday (Jan. 16), 76-61. The Jaguars shot a blistering 69 percent from the floor and 8-of-12 (66.7 percent) from three-point range in the victory. Senior Marcellus Barksdalepaced four Jags in double-digits with a season-high 19 points and junior Darell Combs added 16 on 5-of-6 shooting. Junior Matt O’Leary chimed in with 11 andJordan Pickett added 10 points and four assists off the bench.

Joe Rosga was the lone Denver (10-9, 2-4 Summit) player in double-figures with 12 points.

IUPUI (8-13, 4-2 Summit) led 24-23 near the end of the first half before embarking on a run that spanned nearly five minutes and took the one-point lead to an 18-point advantage. Sophomore John Hubler ignited the run with a trey as IUPUI scored the final six points before halftime to lead 30-23 at the break. After a defensive stand, O’Leary made a triple on the final possession of the half, giving IUPUI full momentum headed into break.

“We had some careless turnovers in the first half, but I thought we did a better job of taking care of it and getting good shots for the last about 30 minutes,” IUPUI Head Coach Jason Gardner said. “Denver makes you play a little slower, so our guys were good about making the extra pass and finding shooters and then converting the opportunities. After we made a few (threes), that opened up driving lanes and made it easier for us offensively.

“Defensively, I thought we did a pretty good job. That’s what helped us build the lead, was our defensive intensity. We got some stops and then brought that energy to the offensive end.”

The second half opened with 11 straight IUPUI points, beginning with a Combs triple and closing with a pair of Mason Archie free throws after the lanky guard had collected a steal near midcourt. The lead swelled as high as 21 with 14:53 to play when Barksdale scored on a tough drive. Denver closed within nine with 6:14 left, but the IUPUI offense was timely over the final minutes, scoring on virtually every possession.

“We kind of put the game away that first media,” Barksdale said. “Having that cushion kind of helped us kind of withstand (their run). The fact that we were up by so much kind of gave us some breathing room.”

IUPUI’s 69.2 percent shooting was the program’s highest since hitting 69.8 percent against Centenary in February 2010. Denver shot 46 percent for the game and 9-of-19 (47.4 percent) from three-point range.

O’Leary was a perfect 5-of-5 and Barksdale was an efficient 7-of-9. Combs, on the heels of an 0-fer from three, made all three attempts on Saturday and six different Jags made at least one triple. IUPUI won the glass 21-17 and delivered 15 assists on 27 field goals.

IUPUI improved to 5-1 at home this season and 4-1 all-time against Denver.

IUPUI will now have a week between games, next playing at Fort Wayne next Saturday night (Jan. 23). That game will be heard in Central Indiana on 1070 the Fan and 93.5 FM as Morgan Adcock (pxp) will be on the call.

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