Photo: DU freshman Jake Krafka plays defense in his first collegiate start – a 57-55 win.
In a tight contest, Denver (3-4) won on the road against Weber State (2-5) and escaped with a 57-55 victory in Ogden, Utah in front of 6,167 spectators. The three keys prior to the game, cited by head coach Rodney Billups, were to limit Weber State’s rebounds, limit 3-point shooting success, and limit turnovers. The Pioneers achieved two out of three by out-rebounding Weber State 38-30 and holding the Wildcats to 6 of 28 from the arc (21.4%). Still, the Pioneers had to overcome 17 turnovers to Weber State’s 9 which kept the game closer than it needed to be in the end. The Pioneers shot 48.1% for the game and held Weber State to a poor 30.2%
Denver played a total of 11 players in the first half with Joe Rosga, Jake Pemberton, Daniel Amigo, and C .J. Bobbitt getting the bulk of minutes in the opening frame. In the first 7 minutes, cold shooting Denver fell 10 points behind the Wildcats which was to be DU’s biggest deficit of the game. But in a mere 2 minutes, Denver stormed back to knot the game @ 13:09. A Jake Pemberton bucket and three-point shot along with two buckets from C.J. Bobbitt along with a layup from Christian Mackey @ 10:58 cut the margin to 1. The teams exchanged leads with no lead greater than 3 the remainder of the half. A three-point shot by Jake Pemberton tied the game with 42 seconds remaining in the first half and that is how it ended – 35-35.
The second half was more of the same with the greatest margin held by the Wildcats of 5 points and a lead of 4 points by the Pioneers. The two evenly matched teams spent most of their time within 2 points of each other and the teams were tied, 55-55, with 2:12 remaining. The teams traded a turnover and a ton of missed shots (6), highlighted by a missed layup by the Wildcats Kyndahl Hill,leaving the Pioneers in possession with 33 seconds remaining in the game. This set up a clutch jumper from Joe Rosga that gave DU a 57-55 lead with 8 seconds to go. Weber State’s Jeremy Senglin tried a three point shot for the win and missed – the Pioneers held on for the win.
C.J. Bobbitt led the Pioneers with 17 points on 80% field goal shooting followed by Daniel Amigo with 12 points and Jake Pemberton with 10. Off the bench, Bobbitt also pulled down a team-leading 12 rebounds to make it a double-double. The win pulls Denver to 2-2 on the road and 3-4 overall. Denver continues to play with a razor thin margin but they found a way to earn the win.
After the game, Billups said, “We have a locker room full of fighters. I loved our effort (on defense). There is so much room for us to get better. This is a huge win for us.”
We will be releasing our LetsGoDU first quarter report card for Denver Hoops Monday.