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.”