A confident UNO (13-7, 5-1 Summit) squad rolled into Denver (10 – 10, 2-5 Summit) on a 4-game road winning streak. The Mavericks, one of the highest scoring teams in the country with 85.9 points per game, were held to just 69 points but DU could only piece together 55 points of their own on a cold shooting night. The Mavs extended their road winning streak to an impressive 5 games.
Having watched IUPUI, South Dakota State, and IPFW -the league favorites, UNO has to be one of the favorites to win the regular season Summit League title. Their athleticism, inside game, and interior defense were the difference in this one. Senior forward Jake White was the star of the game for UNO with 29 points and 9 rebounds.
So what are the Pio positives from a home loss:
- The Seniors – Despite a cold shooting night, the effort level from seniors Marcus Byrd, Nate Engesser, and Bryant Rucker allowed DU to hang close with dreadful team shooting – 33% from the field & 22% from downtown.
- The Freshmen – Ironman Joe Rosga had 12 points and two steals and Thomas Neff continues to play stout defense. C.J. Bobbitt, still recovering from mono, showed what he can do when healthy with a season-high 17 points and 4 rebounds. What was even more impressive, Bobbitt started the game slowly but he kept his confidence and did damage, especially inside, on both ends of the court.
- Resilient – The players on the floor and on the bench were ‘in the game’ the entire time, even when the game looked to be out of reach they made defensive stops and kept it close. This group seems to be as united and determined as any DU team in recent memory. While they didn’t get the result they wanted, they are in it together. This speaks well of the future for this team. Better shooting percentages, combined with this effort, could have led to a different result.
In the first half, the teams came out even 8-8 at the 15 minute mark. From the start, all the Pios points were from the outside and the Mavs points were in the paint and this trend continued throughout the game. UNO extended their lead to 10, 28-18, with 1 minute to go but DU countered with a tray to make it 21-28, UNO at half. DU shot 30.4% from the field and an ice cold 20% from the arc.
In the second half, DU kept clawing back but cold shooting and UNO’s inside game proved the difference. At 13:30 DU pulled within 4. Then, DU made several turnovers and missed shots and UNO took the spread to 9 at the 12 minute mark. DU continued to play solid defense for seven minutes but could not capitalize and trailed 42-52 at the 5 minute mark. From that point on, DU could not narrow the gap and in the final seconds resorted to intentional fouls. DU finished with 34.7% shooting from the field and 20% from 3 point land. No way to beat a solid Mavericks team with those numbers. Final score: 55-69.
DU held close on rebounds – 26-34 (-8) and turnovers 12-13 (-1) but Omaha scored 40 points to DU’s 20 (-20) in the paint. That, essentially, was the difference.
Game Note: C.J. Bobbitt is styling the 80’s look in short shorts. LetsGoDU likes the retro look and votes in the affirmative – just don’t take it back to the 70’s C.J.!