Denver Stuns Oral Roberts in Double OT, 90-88

When Austin Ruder made a free throw with 10 seconds left in regulation, Oral Roberts held a 70-67 lead and it was looking like a back to back first round exit for Denver in the Summit League tournament was likely. Instead, Joe Rosga made a shot for the ages, banking in a three with five seconds to go to force overtime, and despite having to endure a second OT, Denver would come away with the 90-88 victory to advance to the second round of the Summit League tournament.

Denver would get off to a hot start in the first half, with Daniel Amigo scoring six points in the first four minutes and fifteen seconds to give Denver a quick 9-5 lead. That wouldn’t last long though, as Oral Roberts went on a 12-0 run to take a 17-9 lead with 11:23 to go in the first half. It was starting to look like things might take a frustrating turn, but a number of defensive stops, along with a great offensive burst from Ade Murkey, led Denver back to a 32-21 lead with 2:01 to go until halftime. The Golden Eagles would get a three before the half but the Pios would respond with two free throws from Jake Pemberton to take a 34-24 lead into the half.

The Pioneers had some ups and downs during the start of the second half, but it never seemed as if they didn’t have control. A 40-35 lead that was alarming for a second soon enough reached 45-35 after Daniel Amigo made a free throw with 14:42 to go in the game. Denver’s lead was as much as 60-47 with 8:52 to go after an Amigo jumper, but it just wasn’t meant to be a smooth sailing victory. Oral Roberts clawed their way back, grabbing a 64-63 lead 2:24 to go on a Ruder three pointer. Denver would need an Amigo bucket and two Rosga free throws to even be in the position they were with 10 seconds to go… and that is when Joe Rosga did this:

Yep. It was hard to believe that the Pioneers could lose after forcing OT with such a crazy shot and that proved to be true. The first OT was fairly nondescript, with both teams trading leads before Ade Murkey came to the line with 43 seconds left, needing a free throw to tie, and two for the lead. He missed the first, but canned the second for a tie. The two teams traded missed buckets after that to force a second OT, where the real drama was. Denver grabbed a quick 82-78 lead, but it would be 83-83 before they knew it, after Sam Kearns drained a three. Denver took an 85-83 lead before falling behind 86-85 on a Kearns free throw. Rosga would immediately make a jumper, followed by a Kearns response to make it 88-87 ORU with 1:07 to go. Murkey would make a huge bucket with 40 seconds left to give Denver their final lead, 89-88, and a Krafka free throw sealed things up for a final score of 90-88 Denver.

It was a great game for Denver – Amigo had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Rosga had 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists, Murkey poured in 20 with 8 rebounds, and Jake Pemberton had 14 points to go with 4 rebounds. Oh, and Donoven Carlisle had 10 points and 8 rebounds off of the bench. It was a truly well rounded effort and Denver needed every last bit of it. Amigo may have had the best game but it was great to see Murkey have a game like that on such a big stage.

I really can’t say enough great things about this victory – Denver had already defeated the Golden Eagles twice this year, so it was always going to be a struggle to get the season sweep, and we saw that early. But Denver adapted and in the end it is the #3 seed Pioneers that advance to play the #2 seed South Dakota Coyotes. That game will be at 7:30 PM Mountain Time tomorrow night – the Coyotes didn’t have too much trouble with Omaha tonight, but Denver should pose some additional problems. I expect the Coyotes to be a healthy favorite when the line comes out tomorrow (probably 6-8 points), but I think the Pioneers have a great shot. Despite the home court disadvantage, the Pios have proven they can beat USD and Denver is currently riding a five game winning streak and they’ve taken eight of ten. I’m excited for tomorrow night – Denver may not win and make it to the Summit League championship game, but I think it’s going to be a heck of a game and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take down South Dakota.

15 thoughts on “Denver Stuns Oral Roberts in Double OT, 90-88”

  1. UMMMM….not sure the title for this post is accurate….DU stuns Oral Roberts?!? You are the 3 seed, you should win. I don’t believe this is an upset, as you are trying to paint the picture that way. Win the games you should win. Seeing they already beat them twice this year.


    1. Just a reference to the Rosga three – it felt like we were dead in the water with 10 seconds left! 🙂 I agree though, we definitely should have won this game – the Pios have proven they are better than ORU all season and they did it again last night, though it took 50 minutes!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. While Rosga’s heroics were exciting, the Pioneers shot only 2-10 in the final stretch, making the game closer than it needed to be.

    The Pios had to play 2OTs, and the legs will be wobbly vs USD tonight. I think the Pios will be blown out….


  3. I think the ‘stun’ was the 3-point shot to take it to OT but this is a game DU should be expected to win.

    A number of players stepped up but I feel great for Joe Rosga who got Summit League tournament redemption off the bank shot-3 to take the game to OT. While a bunch of players stepped up with solid stats, I thought Jake Krafka with only 3 points and 2 rebounds was a difference maker with his toughness over 35 minutes of play. He is relentless and stood up to ORU’s size and defended the interior well when Amigo was in foul trouble and out on fouls.

    It is a quick turnaround with a game tonight. #2 South Dakota is a solid team and has an extra day of rest. DU is going to need to limit turnovers and contain Matt Mooney to give themselves a chance to win.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rosga also mentioned after the game that people in the stands were yelling “Remember two years ago?!” at him, which makes the redemption all the more sweet for him!


  4. Most exciting DU hoops win considering the ramifications if we lose that I’ve seen in 40 years of following DU. It’s all about the moment. Crazy way to win a “season ends if you lose” game. Nice to be a positive part of March Madness. Amigo gets at least another game. He had to be pissed at himself for fouling a big man 25′ away from the basket. Billups and staff remained calm in OT’s which our players seemed to respond to.


  5. Yeah, unfortunately this is just an ESPN 3 game, so not on cable and you need a cable login to watch at ESPN. It is also on a streaming channel called “MidcoSN”, though that requires a subscription as well.

    If the Pios can pull off the upset today though, they’ll get a prime 7 PM slot on ESPN2 tomorrow night for the championship!


  6. It was frustrating see them unable to close the deal in regulation. They ended the 1st half on a 23-5 run and were still up double digits with like 8 minutes. Oral should have been put away.

    But credit to the guy’s mettle for hanging in and still gutting this one out.

    South Dakota was pulling for oral roberts for damn sure. When talking about 19-22 year old athletes, adrenaline should overcome the tired legs from the 2OT. Agreed Denver might ruin the south dakota vs south dakota state rubber match for the tourney. Sorry yotes


    1. Agreed on the adrenaline – and it’s also worth noting that a lot of these guys have been playing in multi-game, multi-day tournaments for AAU and whatnot their whole lives, so I’m hopeful that the Pios won’t come out flat!


  7. Total team effort for a gutty playoff win on a night when DU’s three pointers weren’t falling much, and Oral Roberts took over the game down the stretch in regulation.. DU’s key players stepped up and won the game on willpower – Rosga. Amigo, and Pemberton all played very well, and the Pios got a career night from Murkey, and some additional excellence from Krafka and Carlisle, too. Nice to see the turnovers limited and how they played with confidence in the OTs.

    Tonight, the Pios can hang with USD if they shoot well, play solid defense and limit the turnovers. But it will take all three of those to win against a USD team with superior talent and playing at home with more rest. The good news is that many SDSU fans hate USD and will help to cheer us on. Go Pios!


  8. Great win! Some Pio mojo when needed.
    As everyone has mentioned, it was nice to finally be on the right side of these type of games. I too didn’t want the seniors to go out that way. Rosga, Rosga, Rosga. What a tough kid!
    Five players in double digits and only 10 turnovers. Pios didn’t shoot well, which hopefully tonight is reversed.
    Just excited to watch meaningful March basketball. Expect some minutes from Akintola, Neff Bros, and Rodriguez. Really psyched for tonight.


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