Photo: Courtesy of Jason Evans
It had been six weeks without a win for Denver men’s basketball. With a men’s and women’s basketball double-header scheduled in Hamilton Gym instead of Magness Arena, Denver men’s hoops got a much needed change of scenery – and it worked. The Pioneers who always seem to play Omaha basketball tough, took advantage of the visiting Mavs with a fast start and held serve in the second half en route to a strong 91-76 victory.
Denver rolled to a 40-33 advantage in the first half. The Pioneers shot 50.8% from the field and 50% from 3-point range to gain the first half advantage. Jase Townsend hit three of four 3-point attempts and Ade Murkey scored 12 points in the half. DU used 18 rebounds and 16 points-in-the-paint to create the 7-point half time margin.
Denver came out on fire the second half and used a 9-0 run to build a 49-37 lead three minutes into the second half. A Jase Townsend jumper from the corner expanded the Pioneer advantage to 55-40. Omaha used offensive rebounds, 17 for the game, to chip away at the Pioneer advantage. The Mavs pulled within a dozen points with 10 minutes remaining. The Mavericks made a push five minutes later, capped by two free throws by Tut Wanjang, to draw within 6 points with 4 minutes remaining. But a Jase Townsend 3-point shot with 3:32 remaining pushed Denver’s lead back to double digits (11 points) – essentially ending the game. Denver made free throws down the stretch as the clock wound down to add to the final score. A thunder-dunk by Ade Murkey with :37 seconds remaining gave Denver their final margin of victory, 15 points, and snapped the Pioneers 10-game skid.
Jase Townsend led all scorers with 32 points and 6 rebounds. Ade Murkey finished with 19 points and 7 rebounds. Freshman Robert Jones continued to improve his floor game with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Denver shot 55% from both the field and 3-point range for the afternoon. Omaha shot 36.2% from the field for the game and shot 8-28 from beyond the arc.
The Pioneers go on the road for their next two games to play North Dakota and North Dakota Sate.