Pemberton’s career high 25 points lead Denver past South Dakota State

Special to LetsGoDU by: Chris Shockey

In what was supposed to be a battle between the Summit League’s two best big men, only South Dakota State’s Mike Daum brought his A game. Fortunately for Denver, Jake Pemberton more than made up for Daniel Amigo’s below average night.

On paper this looked like it should be an easy win for the Pioneers, the Jackrabbits have struggled under first-year coach T. J. Otzelberger – especially on defense, but Denver had lost four straight to SDSU and when you play the Jackrabbits, Mike Daum is always looming. Pemberton was the story early though, making three quick three-pointers in the first three minutes of the game.

The Pioneers as a team made 7 of their first 9 from long range, but South Dakota State hung around in the first seven minutes of the game. When Daum picked up his second foul with more than 8 minutes left in the first half, it looked for a bit like neither Amigo nor Daum would be a factor. Denver continued to pull away at this point and ended up with a 44-31 halftime lead, in great part due to Pemberton’s 16 first half points.

Amigo continued to struggle early in the second half, picking up his third foul just 12 seconds into the half. This had little effect on the Pioneers though as the shots kept falling and they built their lead up to 18 points – 55-37 at the 16:23 mark of the second half. Throughout the rest of the second half, the Jackrabbits slowly chipped away at the margin, aided by some questionable foul calls and the reappearance of Mike Daum.

The lead was all the way down to 6 points with 1:08 left after a big three from South Dakota State’s A.J. Hess, but that was as close as they would get in their comeback attempt, as Denver made their late free throws and came away with a 91-82 victory. Daum would end up with 29 points in the loss, an impressive showing, but not enough to make up for Pemberton’s night and the Jackrabbits porous defense. Aside from Pemberton, the Pioneers also got double-digit points from C.J. Bobbitt, Thomas Neff, and Joe Rosga. Denver now sits at 13-8 (5-3) while South Dakota State falls to 9-14 (2-6)

The news was not all good for Denver though – with 8 minutes to go in the game, the Pioneers’ Jake Krafka went down with a left ankle injury. No word yet on how severe it is – he was in a great amount of pain, but was able to watch the remainder of the game from the Denver bench. We will all be hoping for a speedy recovery as he has been a key player for the Pioneers when C.J. Bobbitt is on the bench.

In other Summit League games, North Dakota State, South Dakota, and Fort Wayne all won, so the Bison keep a two-game lead while Denver and South Dakota remain tied for second. Speaking of the Coyotes, that will be Denver’s next opponent – this Saturday at 2:15 PM MT in Vermillion, SD. Denver hopes to avenge their only home loss in league play and put themselves in position to get the #2 seed come conference tournament time.

6 thoughts on “Pemberton’s career high 25 points lead Denver past South Dakota State”

  1. One of the ways you can tell a team is coming together is when players who aren’t known for big offensive outputs suddenly pop-off for double digit points when other offensive players are having a tough night. Kudos to Pemberton, who is a leader on this team.

    Now the Pios head into a stretch where a number of losses are predicted, especially on the road.

    Would love to see this team break into the 150 range in RPI over the coming weeks – currently a respectable 181.

  2. Pios are learning to fly and learning to close. Throwing out the aberrations of Utah Valley and Texas A&M, each game has been competitive with a mostly focused effort. You can see their confidence growing and as Puck points out, there’s a new guy every game with a breakout performance or career high. I don’t care about the result of whether we make the NCAA tournament or not; it will come. I care about this: the process of improvement, the grind of conference league basketball in January and February. This is the fun part, knowing the Pios have a solid chance to win on any given night and the Summit is a fun, underrated quality league.

  3. One of the ways you can tell a team is coming together is when players who aren’t known for big offensive outputs suddenly pop-off for double digit points when other offensive players are having a tough night. Kudos to Pemberton, who is a leader on this team.

    Now the Pios head into a stretch where a number of losses are predicted, especially on the road.

    Would love to see this team break into the 150 range in RPI over the coming weeks – currently a respectable 181.

  4. When you have a team that has no playing seniors and was basically never recruited to play running basketball, now winning at a .600+ clip and contending in a very underrated conference as PDNJ pointed out, it tells you that the coaches know what they are doing. By this time of year, teams have formed their identity and are trying to iron out inconsistencies in the run up to tourney time.

    This DU team has forged an identity as a strong shooting and rebounding team with a variety of pieces that add up to a better record than I would have thought at this point. Amigo gives the team an inside post dimension that DU hasn’t had in a decade, and that keeps opposing defenses honest when you have good outside perimeter offensive options like Rosga, Neff, and Pemberton for the kick-outs. Rosga has also shown an ability to be something of a slashing guard who can penetrate, which fits his motor and his high compete level. Pemberton is the glue guy who can turn up the defensive harassment level and get inside the heads of star opponents. Douglas, Bobbitt and George have been solid role players when asked, and Krafka and Murkey have added good freshmen depth that are now turning into more experienced college basketball players. Mackey has also had a good year subbing for Amigo.

    Still some correctable work to do in reducing turnovers, eliminating other team’s runs with key stops and of course, poor foul shooting.

  5. Pios are learning to fly and learning to close. Throwing out the aberrations of Utah Valley and Texas A&M, each game has been competitive with a mostly focused effort. You can see their confidence growing and as Puck points out, there’s a new guy every game with a breakout performance or career high. I don’t care about the result of whether we make the NCAA tournament or not; it will come. I care about this: the process of improvement, the grind of conference league basketball in January and February. This is the fun part, knowing the Pios have a solid chance to win on any given night and the Summit is a fun, underrated quality league.

  6. When you have a team that has no playing seniors and was basically never recruited to play running basketball, now winning at a .600+ clip and contending in a very underrated conference as PDNJ pointed out, it tells you that the coaches know what they are doing. By this time of year, teams have formed their identity and are trying to iron out inconsistencies in the run up to tourney time.

    This DU team has forged an identity as a strong shooting and rebounding team with a variety of pieces that add up to a better record than I would have thought at this point. Amigo gives the team an inside post dimension that DU hasn’t had in a decade, and that keeps opposing defenses honest when you have good outside perimeter offensive options like Rosga, Neff, and Pemberton for the kick-outs. Rosga has also shown an ability to be something of a slashing guard who can penetrate, which fits his motor and his high compete level. Pemberton is the glue guy who can turn up the defensive harassment level and get inside the heads of star opponents. Douglas, Bobbitt and George have been solid role players when asked, and Krafka and Murkey have added good freshmen depth that are now turning into more experienced college basketball players. Mackey has also had a good year subbing for Amigo.

    Still some correctable work to do in reducing turnovers, eliminating other team’s runs with key stops and of course, poor foul shooting.

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