DU Pummeled by UC Irvine, 86-52

The University of Denver Pioneers (4-8) faced the UC Irvine Anteaters (10-2) on the road Saturday night and were thoroughly dismantled in the first half 47-16. The Anteaters Max Hazzard single-handedly outscored the Pioneers in the first half with 7 3-point buckets and a total of 23 points to DU’s 16. DU shot 17% during the embarrassing first 20 minutes. UC Irvine shot 47.1% from the field and nailed 11 for 19  from the arc. This was the worst half of basketball by DU in years and continued a worrisome trend of slow starts this season.

The fun continued in the second half for the Anteaters as Max Hazzard canned three more 3’s to secure an individual school record. At 13:27 of the second half of the game, Denver hit their nadir, 24-65. DU emptied the bench and so did UC Irvine as both teams went thru the required motions until the final whistle. Irvine capped the beating with their 17th three of the night, a school record, with less than a minute to go.

This was an embarrassing performance for a team trying to build some continuity and consistency – especially following the Wyoming win.  Sure, UC Irvine is playing well this season with big wins (St Marys, Texas A&M and Idaho) but this game may have done damage to the Pioneers well beyond the final whistle. DU has only two days to respond against Montana State (3-6) at Magness Arena.

The reaction by Rodney Billups after the game showed a waning confidence in his older leaders. “We are going to have to rely on our younger guys.”








2 thoughts on “DU Pummeled by UC Irvine, 86-52”

  1. I’ve watched a lot of DU sports over many years.

    That 16-point first half by DU tonight was certainly one of the ugliest DU sporting performances I’ve ever seen, in any sport.

    Unprepared. Inept. Disgraceful.

  2. Ronnie Harrell and Tory Stewart-Miller, DU’s two fifth-year grad transfers coming in from major college basketball programs, had a terrible night last night, with a woeful 0-11 combined shooting performance and some awful turnovers, too.

    As one DU fan wrote to me this morning “[Harrell and Stewart-Miller] are not who we thought they were.” Kinda says it all…

    Perhaps it’s naive to think that these once high-level high school recruits who were average players in major hoops programs were going to come in as program saviors at the mid-major level. But we did expect some level of consistent, veteran performances that would supplement the talented youth on this team. And while we’ve seen it in flashes, we haven’t seen it as much as we expected to see it.

    Billups’ post-game comment that DU “will have to rely on our younger guys,” is the most telling thing he’s said this season, as his team has stumbled to a 4-8 record out of the gate.

    There is still time to right the ship in league play, as the RPI of DU’s opponents will be lower than many of the non-league teams DU has faced this year. Additionally, many of the young players are proving to be pretty talented guys, but they are still young and make underclassmen mistakes. Fortunately, there is still time for this team to jell in league play as a second season, but the upperclassmen leadership roles are now shifting to Rosga, Murkey and Akintola to lead, who have all been up-and-down themselves this year. And the freshmen need to quickly learn if the Pioneers are to contend in the Summit League.

    Finally, the coaches have a big role to play in this transition. In my view, adjustments have not come quickly enough and DU’s slow starts have doomed DU to many of the losses this season.

    If opponents are raining down three pointers on DU as UCI was last night, it’s not rocket science that those open looks must be fiercely contested with alert man-to-man defense.

    This 4-8 start, even with the injuries DU has had, is well below expectations. Let’s hope that improvement is coming…

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