Photo: The floor at IUPUI’s Indiana Farmers Coliseum looks extremely similar to DU’s home court.
Denver (12-8, 4-3) traveled to Indianapolis to play an early-start ESPN3 game against the IUPUI (9-12, 3-4) Jaguars. Denver used second half defense and timely second half buckets by C.J. Bobbitt to defeat the Jags on the Road, 78-74. The key was the Denver defense which held the Jaguars to 35% shooting in the second half. The road split, a win at IUPUI and a loss to Omaha, keeps Denver in the top half of the jumbled Summit League.
The Jaguars and Pioneers were all offense and no defense in the first half of the game with no more than 5 points separating the two teams. The teams traded points the opening 5 minutes with a 9-8 IUPUI advantage. It was more of the same the next five minutes with a Jake Krafka 3-point bucket giving DU the lead 24-22 @9:44. IUPUI tried to double Daniel Amigo in the block and create personal fouls but Amigo forced a traveling call and a charge call. Freshman Jake Krafka added energy off the bench but DUcould not hold the Jags on the defensive end. Then, with the score tied at 38 each, the Jags went on a run with a minute to go in the first half. A wide-open three point conversion by the Jags Ron Patterson and a Pioneer turnover and two free throws ended the half with IUPUI creeping out to a 5-point lead.
In the second half, after a quick start by the Jags, the Pioneers crept back to to tie the score 54 all @ 14:33 on a C.J. Bobbitt jumper. The teams traded points over the next five minutes with IUPUI’s Aaron Brennan hitting a 3-pointer to give the home team a 62-58 lead @ 9:35. A Joe Rosga lay-up, a Jake Pemberton 3-point shot, and a C.J. Bobbitt layup kept the teams even, 67-67, with 5:04 to go. Shortly after hitting a basket to give Denver the lead, 70-69, Daniel Amigo fouled out with his 5th foul with 2:31 left. Solid defense, especially by Christian Mackey filling in for Daniel Amigo, was rewarded by C.J. Bobbitt’s 5 point explosion and the Pioneers held on down the stretch – capped by Joe Rosga free throws, 78-74 final.
Joe Rosga led the Pioneers with 18 points. Daniel Amigo had 17 points and 6 rebounds. The star of the game this afternoon was C.J. Bobbitt with 13 points and 7 rebounds. The other stars for Denver were Christian Mackey and Jake Krafka who filled in for Amigo in the second half when Denver had to up their defensive pressure. DU won the rebounding battle 38-26 but lost the turnover battle 14-8. Denver shot a very solid 53.6% from the field to IUPUI’s 45.6% for the contest.
This game marked Rodney Billups first road conference win and it was not easy. “We just beat a really good team. They can score the ball….We have some fight. Our guys just won’t give up. I’d like to be able to say it was a testament to our staff but its not -They (Denver players) were like that when we got here. I love the fact that they are fighters.”