South Dakota State Races Past Denver, 92-82

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.



6 thoughts on “South Dakota State Races Past Denver, 92-82”

  1. SDSU is the class of the Summit League, and they pounded the Pioneers as most expected they would. The best players DU has (Harrell Jr and Rosga) were very effectively defensed today, and it was clear that DU did not have the horses to hang with the Jacks.

    However, we saw some very inspired play from freshmen Nzekwesi and Townsend in the second half that should earn these guys a lot more (perhaps starting?) minutes with what remains of this season from Hell.

    The nagging reality of this Pioneer team is simply poor defense. Almost every team they play is able to shoot above 50%, even if that opponent doesn’t normally shoot that well. Between the lack of a strong defensive presence in the middle (which allows opponents to shoot high-percentage layups) to the lack of ability to defend three pointers, the Pioneers can’t really stop anyone, and that means they can’t go on any offensive runs.

    I feel just awful for Tory Stewart-Miller, who grad transferred to DU with the hope of creating the dominant big man presence this year and a springboard for a hopeful pro career after this season. Unfortunately, it appears that serious foot injuries, once again, have robbed him of that special season here, as X-rays this Monday are expected to confirm. He seems like a great kid, and I hope that if he indeed can’t play basketball for DU anymore, that he serves the team as an inspiration and role model.

    1. True. DU basketball is bad this year.

      Fortunately, there are many other NCAA Top 25 DU sports teams to follow – Hockey, M Lax, Gymnastics, Soccer, WLax, Swimming, etc.

      1. Don’t forget Skiing is top 3 every year. And women’s volleyball is top 50. And the tennis and golf teams are often NCAA qualifiers too. We’ve got plenty to cheer about..

    1. Solid 294 RPI now. Somehow W. Ill is below the Pios with a 339, even though they beat them. CBI or Bust!

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