Omaha Wins Possession Battle to Defeat Pioneers 84-83

Speed kills.

Omaha used their quickness and speed to create turnovers (20 to 11) and steals (14 to 7) to defeat the Denver Pioneers at Magness Arena, 84-83, Wednesday night. Omaha’s Mitch Han scored with .7/10’s of a second left in the contest. Denver was fortunate to take the lead on a C.J. Bobbitt layup with .12 seconds remaining but the Mavericks responded by working the ball inside to Han as the clock ran down. With Daniel Amigo out of the game with five fouls, Denver could not stop the 6’8″ Han from delivering the knockout blow.

Turnovers and steals gave the Mavericks an incredible 16 possession advantage – too much of hurdle for almost any team to overcome.  

How did Denver stay close after giving up so many possessions? Well, the Pioneers shot a blistering 59.6% from the field and 53.3% from the arc (8-15) to hang close but Omaha’s defensive pressure and star Marcus Tyus’ 30 points and 6 rebounds sent the Pioneers reeling to their second consecutive loss.

In the first half, the teams rained six 3-point shots in the first five minutes with the teams tied at 11 each. Daniel Amigo, C.J. Bobbitt and Duke Douglas traded baskets with the Mavericks and a Joe Rosga 3-point shot knotted the score at 21-21 at the 12:21 mark. Over the next four minutes, the teams struggled to find net. A layup by Duke Douglas and a free throw by Christian Mackey was countered by a Marcus Tyus 3-point shot that drew the teams even at 24-24 with 9:44 to go in the first half. Over the next five minutes, the Pioneers went on a run, capped by a layup by C.J. Bobbit to extend the Pio lead to 35-26 with five minutes to go –  but the Mavs responded with their own run. Two 3-point buckets by Marcus Tyus and another tray by Zach Jackson keyed the Mavs run and gave the visitors a 46-42 lead going into the break. In a mere five minutes, a 13 point swing went in the visitor’s favor.

The teams traded points the first five minutes of the second half. Denver began to heat up from the field with steals and baskets by Joe Rosga. A 3-point bucket by Jake Pemberton at 15:16 gave Denver a 55-51 lead. Denver traded baskets the next five minutes as the margin stayed at 4-points, 68-64, with 10:16 to go. A 3-point shot by C.J. Bobbitt gave the Pioneers a 76-74 lead that DU held until a Marcus Tyus 3-point bucket at 4:18 to take the lead, 77-76, for Omaha. No more than three points separated the teams the balance of the game. The teams were tied at 1:17 following a pair of Marcus Tyus free throws. Daniel Amigo fouled out with 36 seconds to go. After Omaha’s Tre’Shawn Thurman hit one of two free throws, the Pioneers C.J.Bobbitt hit a driving layup with only 12 seconds to go gave the Pioneers the lead, 83-82 and a possible win. Following a timeout, Omaha drove the length of the court, worked the ball inside, and scored an easy bucket from Han to win the game, 84-83.

Denver just couldn’t make the big stop.

Joe Rosga led the Pioneer scoring with 21 points and Daniel Amigo chipped in with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Marcus Tyus had 30 points while Zach Jackson and Daniel Norl had a dozen each for the Mavs.

After the game, head coach Rodney Billups said, “Turning it over 20 times, we can’t expect to win. Their player (Marcus Tyus) was the best guy on the floor. We have to dictate defensively and not let them get comfortable. ”

The slide comes at a tough time for the Pioneers, losing three out of their last four games heading into their final game of the conference season against South Dakota State University.

15 thoughts on “Omaha Wins Possession Battle to Defeat Pioneers 84-83”

  1. Heartbreaker. No other way to slice it. Pios are slumping, which is a bad way to enter tourney time. Hopefully, the Pios can right this ship, but this team is not getting better anymore, at least for now…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not sure why. Last year DU actually played solid D. Last night, Omaha was beating DU on high screens and caught defenders lunging and out of position. DU played zone and man with no luck so no easy answer. DU looks tired but a win against SDSU would put a bounce in their step heading to Sioux Fall. Still, despite the turnovers, DU almost won the game. And, Omaha is the most athletic team in the Summit League so it looked like a tough match-up going into the game.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I know BB is a game of runs, but those 2 first half runs sort of stunned me. I followed somewhat on Gametracker and was shocked to see we were trailing at the half. Home court not giving us any advantage. Lack of fans going crazy is partially to blame.
    One thing is obvious from following the team from my NJ home. Our games have to be fun watches with exciting finishes. Wish Altitude was not in the TV mix.
    Biggest positive going into Summit Tourney: there is no team we cannot beat if we play well; not even needed that we play great.


  3. Weeknight game on a Wednesday night isn’t going to attract a crowd.

    Losing two straight at home in the span of four days doesn’t bode well going forward into the conference playoffs.


      1. That being said, it’s too bad DU only drew 1642 for senior night and a good Omaha team. But, the crowd was loud (in my section) and very much into the game. Sunday afternoon’s game was DEAD. I am hoping that we keep games on Saturday when the energy is much higher.


  4. Boy, I’m really starting to dislike Omaha. First they win at Iowa, then they sweep the Pios.

    Omaha made the Pios’ defense look bad, which isn’t exactly a surprise considering how the Mavericks play, but the offense can’t turn it over 20 times either. It really is a miracle the game was as close as it was.

    I took video of Omaha’s game winning shot, it was meant to be video of Denver clinching the win. 😦 As you can see, I think the defense did pretty good, but if it is Amigo down there instead of Mackey, I don’t think that shot is going in.

    Now we just have to hope they can stop the slide at SDSU. It’s going to be tough though, the Jackrabbits have won 5 of 7 and could be playing for a tie for third place. (we could very easily end up with a four way or even a five way tie for third place with a bunch of 8-8 teams)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Agonizing loss. UNO made the winning play at the end and deserves full credit. DU just couldn’t get a stop. Tough to see Amigo on the bench as that game ended. I think having his presence there at the end would have made a difference.

    While this team has a lot to work on and there have been some frustrating losses, the bottom line for me is I am excited to watch DU basketball. That was not the case in years past. I firmly believe Billups has this team moving in the right direction.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ccdunks, DU isn’t every other college. No real basketball history over the last five years and longer. Students aren’t going out of their way to see a .500 team. Losses Sunday, yesterday will turn people off. Opponents that students don’t identify with. This has all been discussed in the past. How many bball games have yiu goneto this season? When attendance is low blame the students, tbe mantra of too many people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nota- times have changed I guess. Kids at DU when I attended were very much sports watching people. No imposition getting to a game my last 3 years when I lived off campus. Kids in dorms have a max 10 minute walk. My frosh year, we were 2-22. Never missed a game, for we came close in most games. Hockey and hoops were part of DU social life. It was where frat people, GDI’s, and hippies got together. Profs also attended. Made no games this year, but I live in NJ. However, I follow most games on the internet. In recent years, I’ve gone to games when DU comes east. (Most recently Iona, St. Joes, and Yale). I go to all hockey and lax games between Boston and DC. It’s fun to cheer on your team. I did fly out for Battle of Blake and Sun Belt Hoops Tourney in Vegas. Games are an alums link to DU. Hopefully if you are a grad, you’ll make as many games as possible. Bet you’ll even make some new friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Not sure I hear people blaming the students for basketball attendance. It is true that DU’s best basketball crowds were when they were winning 20+ games each year and drawing between 5-7,000 people per game. Even if 50% of the DU undergrads went to games, that would not be enough. The program needs community support – something Billups has been working on from his first day. It is going to take time. While the Summit League may not be the perfect match for DU, it has the potential for good rivalries with North Dakota joining, Omaha, and even NDSU. A solid non-conference schedule and competitive games should build the culture over time, regardless of league. The Sun Belt had few ‘natural’ rivalries, yet DU drew well when they were winning 20+. Billups needs some time to build the program. It’s just going to take a few years and they’ll get there. With so much competition for the sports dollar in Denver, the Pioneers almost have to win big for large crowds.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Amigo has to stay on the court in that situation. Pios needed him on their last possession and they certainly needed his defensive presence at the end.
    When Amigo is healthy and not in foul trouble, he can dominate both ends of the floor. Add in Rosga, Bobbitt, Pemberton and other supporting elements and the Pios are a very good mid-major team, capable of matching up with anyone. And when Amigo is not in the floor and Rosga goes cold and…well we know how that ends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amigo fouling out with 36 seconds to go was frustrating, especially since it was his fifth foul only because of the technical called earlier in the half. I didn’t get a great view of that, I believe that it happened fairly close to where 5BWest sits – was that a legit technical? Frustrating either way – either he had a mental error and committed a tech or they gave him a questionable tech…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was a good call. He got in a shoving match when Rosga got tied up and there was a pile-up. He got called for off-setting fouls with an Omaha player, his 4th. Turned out to be a critical error.

        Liked by 1 person

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