Photo: Daniel Amigo scored 19 points in 85-80 loss to Eastern Washington
Coming off a 27-point collapse against Utah Valley on Wednesday night, a resilient Pioneer (1-3) squad went on the road to Cheney, Washington Saturday night and battled the Eastern Washington Eagles to the wire. Pioneer fans were anxious to see how the Pioneers would react following their stunning loss.
Denver responded positively and took Eastern Washington to OT, but fell 85-80.
Denver held their own in the first half with a 41-37 lead at the break. No surprise, hot shooting Joe Rosga lit up the scoreboard with 11 points while Jake Pemberton, Daniel Amigo, and C.J. Bobbitt chipped in with 6 points each. The Pioneers used a small line-up the second half of the first period with Bradley George , Abiola Akintola, and Christian Mackey – who covered for Amigo on the bench with 2 fouls. Denver’s small line-up held their own against a larger Eastern Washington squad. EW’s Bogdan Bliznyuk, a 6’6″ G/F led all scorers with 12 at the half.
DU weathered Eastern Washington’s early second half surge. At 13:54, Amigo picked up his 3rd foul. At the 10 minute mark it was 55-57, Eastern Washington. Daniel Amigo tied the game at 57 each at the 9:30 mark. At 8:11, DU took the lead 62-60. A 4-point play at 5:06 took the Eastern lead to 68-62. Another 3-point play from the Eagles Sir Washington extended the Eagles lead to 7 points. Washington got another bucket over Daniel Amigo, saddled with 4 fouls, to make it an 11-0 run for the Eagles. Amigo countered with an interior post shot for 2 points to make it 66-73, Eastern. Denver began to claw back with a three-point play by C.J. Bobbitt who made it a 2-point game at 75-73 with a minute to go. An 8-point DU run and 4 missed free throws by Eastern put Denver within striking distance. Rosga tied the game in traffic at 75-75 with 24 seconds to go in regulation and Eastern Washington could not capitalize on the final shot. The contest went into overtime.
Denver started OT with an Amigo 3-point play on a bucket and one. Eastern countered with three buckets off two Denver misses and a turnover. Two Pemberton free throws made it 81-80. Following another Eagle bucket, as time was running out, Joe Rosga missed a desperation 3-point shot to try to tie the game. The shot missed the mark. Eastern hit their free throws following an intentional foul and the final was 85-80.
Rodney Billups was taking no moral victories from the loss. “We have to take care of the ball at the end of the game. The mental part of the game is coming along slower than I want. It boils down to the stops on the defensive end and offensive rebounds.”