Photo courtesy DU Athletics
Two evenly matched teams traded punches the entire second half but Denver pulled away in the closing minutes from the Sacramento State Hornets, 72-61.
Coming off an OT loss on Saturday night, it was a quick turnaround of less than 24 hours for the Pioneers. In the first half, the difference was cold shooting by Denver – shooting 32.3% while the Hornets shot 40.0% -with some easy interior buckets. The Pioneers trailed by as many as 16 points but chipped away at Sacramento State. The Pioneers trailed at half 25-31. DU had only 2 turnovers in the first half and came to life the final four minutes of the stanza.
At 17:10 the Pioneers took their first lead on a shot by C.J. Bobbitt, 37-35. Denver led 47-46 with 10:00 minutes to go with a Jake Pemberton bomb. At this point, Joe Rosga only had 2 points with Daniel Amigo chipping in with 11. Jake Pemberton delivered 12 points to lead the Pioneer scorers. The teams exchanged buckets and free throws until the 5:00 mark when the teams were separated by a single bucket when the Pios took the lead 57-55. Two offensive rebounds by Amigo and a put back gave the Pioneers their largest lead of 4 points. Denver led 61-60 at 3:00. After some stops and buckets by DU, Denver jumped to a quick lead 68-61 with 1:09 to go on another Jake Pemberton tray. Denver controlled the ball from that point on and made free throws in the closing minute to take the hard fought win.
The biggest positive from the game was Daniel Amigo’s continued improvement as well as other teammates stepping up when Joe Rosga had a rare poor shooting game (0-4 FG’s) and only 6 points.
Said Rodney Billups following the game, “There is so much room for improvement. We really weren’t playing great defense. We want to hold them (opponents) to 40.0% (shooting) and they shot over 50% in the second half. The guys looked tired but it was mental toughness.”
Next up, Wyoming on Wednesday, November 30th @ Laramie, Wyoming at 7:00 PM MT.