Jaguars Bombs Flatten Denver, 83-72

IUPUI was 10 of 19 from downtown while Denver was 5-15 from beyond the arc to spell the difference between victory and defeat as the visiting IUPUI Jaguars defeated Denver.

In a rare Sunday afternoon matinee, both the crowd and the team were flat against an energized IUPUI squad that placed a premium on ball pressure. The Jags parlayed a 4 point half-time deficit (35-31) into a 52 to 37 point second half romp en route to an easy victory over the Pioneers. Denver also gave up 18 points in the paint during the second half as the Jags hammered the Pioneers from the inside out.

This loss was a disappointment on a number of levels. The loss puts Denver’s third place standing at risk and virtually eliminates any chance the Pioneers had of catching up with either South Dakota or North Dakota State in the league standings. The loss continued a recent trend of following league wins with league losses and stifled momentum nearing the conference tournament. Finally, the game was lost on DU’s home court, a disappointment to Rodney Billups who has a stated goal to establish a home-court advantage.

In the first half, the Pioneers started quickly in the first 5 minutes with a barrage of Pioneer buckets capped by a Joe Rosga jumper at 14:58, extending DU’s lead to 14-4. That bucket would be the last points Rosga would score in first half. Over the next five minutes, the Jaguars closed the gap to 3 points on a Darrell Combs 3-point shot but DU countered with a 3-point bucket of their own by Thomas Neff to hold DU’s advantage to 6 points, 21-15. A pair of 3’s by IUPUI’s Matt O’Leary dropped DU’s lead to 29-28 at the 4:14 mark. But DU responded with buckets by Thomas Neff and Ade Murkey to finish out the first half. DU went into the halftime break ahead, 35-31.

It felt like DU should have been ahead by more points.

The second half was a total mess for Denver. Two free throws by Darrell Combs at 17:18 drew the game even at 38-38. Over the next 7 minutes, the Pioneers went cold and the Jaguars poured it on, outscoring Denver 22-9 to take a 60-47 advantage with 9:22 to go. Over the next 5 minutes, IUPUI mixed together 3-point shots and layups to extend their lead to 69-55 with 4:46 to go. At that point, all Denver could do was trap and foul. In fact, IUPUI’s guard pressure would not even allow Denver’s perimeter players to hoist up 3’s in the waning minutes to close the gap. DU could get no closer than 11 points to end the game.

After the game, head coach Rodney Billups said, “We can’t give up 80 points at home and expect to win. We can’t blame anybody but ourselves.” On the second half colapse, “We didn’t make the shots we normally make. Their ball pressure really dictated what our guards did. We didn’t play hard. We didn’t concentrate when we needed to. They (IUPUI) played an unbelievable game – they were ready.”

Daniel Amigo finished with 24 points and 7 rebounds. Jake Pemberton chipped in with 16 points and 5 assists. DU won the rebound battle 30-28 but was out-shot, 51.0% to 49.1%, and lost the turnover battle 12-10. However, the most telling statistic was three point shooting as the Jaguars shot 52.6% (10-19) vs Denver’s 33.3% (5-15).

Denver now faces the University of Nebraska Omaha in the Pioneers final home game of the season Wednesday at 7:00 pm MT at Magness Arena. This sets-up a must-win game for the Pioneers to bolster their league standing and, more importantly, build some much needed confidence. It is also Senior Night for Duke Douglas and Josiah Dunn.

6 thoughts on “Jaguars Bombs Flatten Denver, 83-72”

  1. You just can’t give up 83 points at home to an under .500 league team at this time of year. ever.

    Sometimes your own shots don’t fall, but there is never an excuse not to play hard-nosed defense.

    Bad time for DU to start slumping, too. Need better intensity….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bad loss. This game in tandem with the Utah Valley loss are emblematic of the Pios program since I’ve been following the past 8 seasons. Every year, regardless of personnel or who’s coaching, there are these really bad losses that knock back any momentum a particular team may be having. It’s frustrating.
    I’m still hopeful in finishing out the regular season and the Summit League Tournament on a positive note, but to be honest, this loss really tempers the overall enthusiasm.

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    1. I agree PDNJ. I thought that this was our best chance for a win out of our final three. Very frustrating game after all the progress this year.

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  3. The coaches need to find a way to tighten the defensive rotations and get the spacing right, to get defensive hands up to challenge shooters without fouling, and figure out the timing of when the second defender needs to move to help when the first defender gets beat. It sounds simple of course, but those teams who can execute defensively and still shoot 45-50% are the ones who get team their RPI under 125 (top third). Without the top notch athletes that other programs have (and who can rely on quickness) to play good defense, DU needs to be both intense/hard nosed AND cerebral to make up for the quickness deficiency. The players need to react to good schemes, and do it with their hearts engaged – at this level, good defense is the separator. We’re not there yet…

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  4. Boy, that one really sucked. To start out the game with a 14-4 lead and then let it slip away to only a 35-31 halftime lead was a sign of the bad things to come. Denver has had some pretty poor second halves this season and this one ranks right up there. Quite frankly, the less said about it, the better…

    To state the obvious, Denver absolutely cannot lose these last two games. At this point I would be happy with a split, that would be a 9-7 conference record and at least a tie for third. Omaha is a good team, as we know since they already beat us, and SDSU is improving rapidly, they will be looking to finish .500 in conference in our game at Frost Arena.

    To be honest, the Pios have already done better than I expected this year, but they need to finish strong to keep the momentum going into next season. It’s going to be tough sledding in Sioux Falls regardless, but you can’t go there on a three game losing streak.

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  5. Pios laid an egg in this one. Even with a slim and diminishing lead going into halftime, I thought they would be able to ramp it up in the 2nd half and run away with this one. But the 2nd half was brutal and it capped off a bad loss. There have been a few of these Jekyll and Hyde type games this year.

    Only one home game left. I’d love to see this team to put on a great show Wednesday night.

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