LARAMIE, Wyo. – The University of Denver (4-7, 0-0) men’s basketball team started to put all the pieces together tonight in an 90-87 overtime win against the University of Wyoming. It had been 20 years since DU earned a win in Laramie and it could not have happened at a better time.
Denver led the game for a total of 31:53 minutes but their halftime lead melted during the second half, eventually leading to overtime. In the final minute of overtime, after trading leads in extra time, a tip-in by Donoven Carlisle gave Denver the lead once and for all, 86-84. A missed three point shot by Wyoming was rebounded by Joe Rosga. Rosga was fouled and made two free throws to give DU a 4-point advantage. Once again, Wyoming missed another 3-point attempt and Rosga got the rebound. Again, the veteran senior sunk two more free throws to give DU a 6-point lead with three seconds to go. Wyoming sank a desperation 3-point shot at the buzzer and the game ended 90-87, Denver.
Denver had their best first half of the season and led 48-39 at the break. And, it was a collection of Pioneers that helped build the lead for DU.
DU held the lead and Cowboys at bay the entire second half – but the Pioneer lead evaporated. Finally, Wyoming drew even with 25 seconds left on two Justin James free throws, 72-72. Both Joe Rosga and Tory Miller-Stewart had chances to win the game in regulation but neither of their shots hit the mark.
Ironically, in a high scoring game it was defense that saved the day for Denver. DU clobbered the Pokes on the boards 44-23 and stopped Wyoming from taking control of the crowd and the game. And, in a major portion of crunch time, in both regulation and OT, it was freshman Joseph Lanzi directing the offense. And, senior transfers Tory Miller-Stewart and Ronnie Harrell, Jr. showed flashes during the game with a combined 25 points and 13 rebounds. Workhorse Joe Rosga played 41 minutes and led the Pioneers with 22 points and 4 rebounds. Ade Murkey had 17 points before he fouled out. Still, this was a team effort all-around – or as Rodney Billups likes to say, “The Strength of our team is our Team.” After some early season frustration, DU’s coaches and bench were animated and fired up the entire night for a win that they needed to have.
A team that looked to be melting down with injuries and inconsistency ten days ago, was rewarded tonight. Despite a tough start to the season, the Pioneers just might be turning the corner. Tonight, they were rewarded for their effort.