It was déjà vu all over again. An opposing team shoots over 50% (55.6%) from the field, DU shoots around 40% (42.4%) or less and, as usual, the visitors make over 40% of their 3-point shots (48.3%) with DU (7-16) falling by double digits. Final score – South Dakota State 92, Denver 82.
The Pioneers tried to slow and control the pace in the first half, often waiting to shoot until the final 10 seconds of the shot clock. But torrid shooting by the Jackrabbits gave SDSU a 42-31 advantage at halftime.
The Jacks lead grew to 25 points at 13:35 of the 2nd period – their biggest lead of the game. But, there were some interesting things that happened in the second half when DU emptied their bench and started to play freshmen. Denver whittled away at the South Dakota State gap. David Nzewesi had 21 points in only 21 minutes against Mike Daum and freshman sharpshooter Jase Townsend starting hitting his outside shots with 17 points in 24 minutes. Elvin Rodriquez added a spark with his speed and energy with 9 points and 3 rebounds in only 10 minutes. It was too late as Denver fell by ten points.
But there were some valuable lessons. South Dakota State played their stars until the final minutes with Skyler Flatten (36 points) and Mike Daum (28 points, 12 rebounds) gleefully celebrating in Magness Arena. DU basically emptied their bench with 10 minutes to go but the Jacks wanted to have some extra fun. The Jackrabbits earned it but, hopefully the Pioneers take note of the gleeful celebration as the visitors padded their stats at the Pioneers expense. And lets face it, wouldn’t it be nice to do that to other teams, too?
The 10-point margin makes this game look closer than it was. The Pioneers were dominated and still need to clean up their work on the defensive end. However, the Denver freshmen showed some promise when Joe Rosga, Ronnie Harrell Jr, and Donoven Carlisle did not play their best.
Game Note: Tory Miller-Stewart is reported to have a foot injury which may sideline him for the rest of the year. His loss will be significant, especially when DU faces teams with large lineups. He was averaging 8.5 points per game and 5.2 rebounds.