After a listless, low energy first half, head coach Rodney Billups had seen enough. The self described ‘player’s coach’ lit into the team (4-5) at halftime about a lack of effort “If we have to act foolish and use the kind of language (in the locker room) and call guys out…with language I don’t like to use – I will.”
The team responded to the fire and brimstone speech and did some torching of their own behind Daniel Amigo’s 25 second half points to burn the Cadets in Colorado Springs 77-65.
Coming into their 6th consecutive road game, the Pioneers trailed 31-35 to start the second half. While Daniel Amigo had the performance of the game with another double double – 33 points and 10 rebounds, it was second half team defense, ignited by a Jake Pemberton steal, that drove the Pioneers to their come-from-behind victory. Daniel Amigo, coming off a tough game against Texas A&M’s 6’9″ superstar center Trayveon Williams, showcased every shot in the book – three point shot, jumper, bank shot, jams, and even free throws (4-6).
The Cadets (6-5) unraveled at the new found Pioneer defensive pressure and watched their undefeated home-court record slide to 6-1.
With Denver leading by a mere 2 points with 10 minutes to go, Amigo took the game over:
- 9:39 Amigo Jumper
- 9:38 Amigo Free Throw
- 8:53 Amigo Dunk
- 7:46 Amigo Jumper
- 5:29 Amigo Jumper
- 4:58 Amigo 3-Pointer
- 3:53 Amigo Free Throw
- 1:29 Amigo Dunk
- :48 Amigo Dunk
While a 4-5 record may not look impressive, the determination and effort of this seniorless team is exactly what fans are looking for as Billups transforms the team. And the rugged 7-game road trip during Denver’s lengthy holiday break may be just what the team needed to elevate their game.
Thomas Neff had a solid game with 12 points, three rebounds, and three assists. Stat-stuffer Joe Rosga finished with 10 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals.
On Amigo, Billups said, “He had an out of body experience. At the end of the game I told him…you messed up – now we expect this from you. Not 33 points…but the effort -get rebounds and play defense with energy – you can be All-Conference good.”