Photo: Courtesy of Georgia Peachy.
Head Coach Rodney Billups said, “It was a piss poor effort.” He was right.
The day started with a Tory Stewart Miller migraine that kept him on the bench. But, the real mental anguish was experienced by the witnesses to this afternoon contest. A couple of stats say it all. Steals 11-0. Turnovers 18-8. Three-point field goals 15 to 7. 41% shooting to 48% for the visitors. Denver, now 5-13, was beaten in every way possible Saturday afternoon from start to finish.
Denver never led in this one.
The first half Denver gave up a whopping 44 points to a struggling Fighting Hawks team. Denver helped the visitors with 13 turnovers in the half, leading to 14 points. And North Dakota nailed eight 3-point baskets to build a huge lead. With all the giveaways, Denver could only muster 10 baskets in the half to finish with 25 points.
The second half was more of the same. Denver could not make stops and could not find net. With 8:32 remaining in the contest, a 3-point shot by Cortez Seales gave the Fighting Hawks a 30 point advantage. The highlight of the day occurred in the final three minutes when Coach Billups filled the floor with an all-freshman lineup of David Nzekwesi, Jacob Lanzi, Alperen Karnaz, Taelyr Gatlin, and Jase Townsend. They hustled after loose balls, played defense and looked like the best five Pioneers on the afternoon.
At this point, Denver has proven to be inept on both ends of the floor. Time to start and play the freshmen with nothing to lose because DU is already losing by 9.4 points-per game – and there is nothing to indicate that this will change anytime soon. DU is unable to make runs of their own or stop other teams on the defensive end. While playing ‘young’ doesn’t mean playing better, it still gives the five freshman meaningful minutes to see if they can grow together and are a good fit for the future. Unfortunately, the other parts of this roster are just not working and the prospects for this season are looking worse by the game.
Denver’s KenPom national rankings fell to #310 out of 353 schools.