The Denver Pioneers (2-5) got rolled in the first half, minus three starters, en route to a Northern Colorado Bears (4-1) 88-72 victory. The score was a lopsided 48-29 at the halftime break and the Pioneers substituted liberally down the stretch, getting all five freshmen on the floor during the contest. In the first 20 minutes, the visitors went 9-17 from the arc and shot over 50% to build up a huge lead at Magness Arena and coasted with a double digit lead nearly the entire night.
DU junior Ade Murkey was the star of the night with 31 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists – his career best as a Pioneer. Freshmen guards Taylr Gatlin and Jase Townsend has 8 and 6 points respectively while freshman big man David Nzekwesi showed some soft hands and power inside with 7 points. The energy from the bench definitely improved after what must have been an ugly half-time meeting with coaches and Denver players responded with a respectable second half.
UNC had four players in double figures, led by Jordan Davis’ 25 points. The Bears also had 23 points off the bench and a whopping 28 points off DU turnovers.
Insiders are speculating Joe Rosga and Tory Stewart-Miller will return for the Air Force game on December 5th. Jake Krafka is in a full walking boot and his return is unknown at this time. Hard to look at this as anything more than a glorified scrimmage but Denver must take this time seriously to develop some depth, improve their defense play and ball handling and figure out their player rotations. Denver had 15 turnovers for the night – not unexpected for freshmen but unacceptable and fatal come Summit League play.