Photo: Courtesy of VisitGrandForks.com
Denver (5-16, 1-6) lost to North Dakota Fighting Hawks in Grand Forks Thursday night. The Pioneers committed 18 turnovers and allowed 10 3-point shots to fall in the 78-71 loss. Denver shot 3-10 from downtown for the contest. The loss left Denver all alone in the Summit League cellar. Denver falls two full games behind North Dakota in the win column and one game behind Western Illinois for the final Summit League Conference Tournament slot. Eight conference games remain.
In the first half, Denver scored 2-point field goals while the Fighting Hawks nailed 5 3-point tries to build a 33-22 halftime lead. Denver had 11 turnovers in the first 20 minutes and no offensive rebounds to fall behind by 10 at the break.
It was more of the same to start the second half as the Hawks lead ballooned to 13 points, 40-27. But Denver had a run of their own, led by senior Ade Murkey. At 11:48, a layup by sophomore David Nzekwesi capped the DU surge and gave Denver a four-point lead, 46-42. But, North Dakota stormed back once again, capped by a 3-pointer by Kienan Walter to give the Hawks a 63-53 lead with 4:41 remaining. Denver pulled within 4-points in the waning 30 seconds but that was as close as the Pioneers could get.
Denver outshot North Dakota 51.1% vs 36.4%. But UND’s 10 3-point shots (to Denver’s 3) and 19 turnovers by DU to 11 for the Fighting Hawks spelled defeat for the Pioneers.
Denver matched North Dakota in rebounding 30-30. Ade Murkey led DU with 29 points and had 5 rebounds. Sophomore Jase Townsend had 17 points and 7 rebounds while freshman Robert Jones scored 10 points and pulled down 4 rebounds. North Dakota had five double-digit scorers with Marlon Stewart leading the Fighting Hawks with 27 points and 7 rebounds.
Denver’s Summit League road losing streak extends to 11 games. Denver travels to Fargo to play North Dakota State Saturday at 1:00 pm MT.