Photos: Courtesy Jason Evans S
Groundhog day came early as Denver (4-12, 0-2) faced the same problems that have plagued them all season long in a 82-71 loss to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. Denver made 22-65 shots from the field for 33.8%. North Dakota drained 48% of their shots – that was the game.
In the first half, the teams traded buckets until 9:26 of the period when North Dakota took a lead they would never relinquish. Lay-ups and free throws ballooned the Fighting Hawks advantage to 11 points four different times and a free throw by Marlon Stewart at 3:09 gave the visitors their largest lead of 12 points. The half ended 39-28, North Dakota.
North Dakota held a double digit lead until the middle of the second half. A three-point shot by Roscoe Eastmond started a Pioneer comeback and cut the lead to 8 points, 64-48, with 9:51 to go. Denver started to get some stops followed by jumpers by Taelyr Gatlin and Jase ownsend, two free throws by Roscoe Eastmond and a 3-point shot from Jase Townsend to draw within 1-point. But, North Dakota responded with two three-point shots of their own to lead by 7 points. Denver could never fully recover from the Fighting Hawk surge and fell by a final score of 82-71.
While the best team clearly won the game, Denver was on the wrong side of nearly every 50/50 call. North Dakota had 31 free throws for the night to Denver’s 22. Jase Townsend had an excellent game with 23 points and 4 rebounds. Roscoe Eastmond and Ade Murkey chipped in with 10 points each. Denver won the turnover battle 16-10 but gave up a whopping 36 points in the paint.