Shooting fails Denver in Summit League Opener, 66-55

The Pioneers (4-11) did just about everything they needed to do to win against conference favorite North Dakota State University, except make shots. Sophomore Jase Townsend’s 17 points sent Denver into halftime with a 33-33 tie. But Townsend and the Pioneers went cold in the second half on 6/33 shooting to fall to NDSU, 66-55.

Denver shot 35.7% (19-59) for the game vs. the Bison’s 47.1%. Denver had 10 turnover to NDSU’s 15. Jase Townsend ended up with 17 points and Ade Murkey finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds in a solid performance. The rest of the team was in single figures for the day.

“I think we can compete with anybody (in the league).,” said Rodney Billups following the game. “We got the shots that we typically make. There wasn’t a lot of energy (in the arena). I wish we had better crowds (1059 announced attendance). The pace was slow. We just have to make shots. We’re going to go in the gym (and shoot) and get better offensively.”

The effort was there, especially defensively. But, frankly, Denver needs to put on a better offensive performance on the floor before they can expect bigger crowds for games.

8 thoughts on “Shooting fails Denver in Summit League Opener, 66-55”

  1. Better coaching as in winning coaching means bigger crowds. Fact. Fans are fickle. This coaching staff has given fans no reason to buy ticky.

  2. I think Rodney’s sense of frustration slipped out in his comment about DU’s small crowd size. Of course, having good crowds might have helped DU win the last four games at home, where the Pioneers were competitive into the final minutes, only to lose late in the game when a DU’s combination of youth and talent did not add up as highly as those from the competition. A good home crowd might have made a difference. And then again, maybe not…

    Rodney knows that DU basketball ranks somewhere between sport 20-30 in this market, well down the long, long list of better-attended sporting events within an hour’s drive of Denver. Eight pro teams, four larger public colleges and other sporting interests dominate this market. This is not Fargo, or Brookings or even Omaha. Unfortunately, Rodney’s program ranks fourth in interest level at his own school, behind hockey, women’s gymnastics and men’s lacrosse in paid attendance. He’s not been able to galvanize the Denver metro area to support him and he’s had no significant local recruits to bring family and friends here.

    Here’s the thing — when DU wins, the fans do show up. The Pioneers were drawing about 4,000 per game (and sometimes up to 6,000) in the 2012-2013 era when the Pioneers were a top 50-100 program, but not since then. Some of those fans were papered, but at least there was atmosphere. Denver is a fair weather sports town. The only teams here that draw well win or lose are the Broncos (with a tradition of success) and the Rockies (with the tradition of a wonderful ballpark summer night experience). Everyone else must earn the butts in the seats.

    Win 20 games a year, and the fans will come out. Win 8 games a year, and they won’t.

  3. It was an entertaining and spirited contest. Pios played hard and competed. The effort was there. Just couldn’t make enough shots.

    I took the family over early to watch the women’s game. We bought GA tickets which were good for both games and ended up having a great time sitting court side for both. We had never done that before. Do I wish DU was playing in front of a packed house on a consistent basis? Absolutely. Was it a very pleasant surprise to be able to buy tickets at the door and sit court side? Absolutely.

    I completely understand Rodney’s comments, but he has to be realistic. This team has won 4 games this year. Yesterday was an NFL Sunday and the Broncos kicked off in the afternoon. Even a moderate-sized crowd wasn’t going to happen. This team needs to continue playing hard and competing. If they can figure out a way to make more shots, especially in the 2nd half, they can string together some Ws and get more fans in the arena. It also wouldn’t hurt if the ticket office could figure some creative promotions to drive attendance.

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