UC Riverside Routs DU, 83-63

UC Riverside nailed 15 of 32 three point shots and pounded the Pioneers inside with their size advantage to earn a 83-63 win at Hamilton Gym Sunday afternoon.

UC Riverside showed no letdown after toppling the University of Washington in its previous game, Dec. 1 in Las Vegas. Sophomore point guard Zyon Pullin scored 20 points in the first half, making eight of his first nine shots, as UC Riverside rocked Denver for a 48-29 halftime lead.  From that point forward, UC Riverside used their inside-out game to coast by the Pioneers.

The Pioneers would get the first bucket out of the second half but ended up committing four team fouls inside the first 2:30 of the period. The Highlanders responded with an 11-0 run, pushing their lead to 28 points, 59-31, over a six minute span early in the second half. The Pioneers’ attempts to chip away at the UCR lead but were unsuccessful in the face of the Highlanders lock down defense and 15 made three-point attempts during the contest.

UC Riverside shot .517% for the game to DU’s .414%. . The Highlanders shot .469% to DU’s 267% from downtown and out-rebounded the Pioneers 38-26 to dominate in nearly every key statistical category. Denver only had 8 turnovers for the game. Denver trailed by a double digit gap from the 9:15 minute mark of the first half and never closed the gap to single digits.

Jase Townsend had 16 points for the Pioneers (1-1) while CU transfer center Frank Ryder added 10 points.


7 thoughts on “UC Riverside Routs DU, 83-63”

  1. Might very well be a very long year for the Pios, as the talent level appears to be thin.

    That said, let’s not yet throw in the towel on these guys yet. Perhaps some of newcomers will turn out to be D-I calibre ball players, as many of the returnees have not yet shown the progress we had hoped for…

    Let’s hope they can figure out a way to be competitive.

  2. When you drop football and struggle to align in a conference that makes regional sense that’s what you get.

  3. Is there any reason to feel hopeful about this 2020-21 squad? I hope I’m wrong, but it seems nearly impossible to find any sense of optimism. Besides Jones and Townsend, the group of returners is not impressive, and there doesn’t seem to be any buzz around the newcomers.

    I’m curious how Rodney and the coaches are approaching this season. He’s in a tough position–have to figure this is last season as coach, unless the Pios can surprise everybody, show some semblance of improvement, and win some games. On the other hand, these guys have absolutely nothing to lose. Go out there, play hard, let it fly, and try to have some fun.

  4. Twister, I think you captured a lot of my sentiments.

    When you look at why DU basketball struggles, the progressively worse records are fueled by a revolving door of players that have come and gone without raising their games in Denver.

    There are only a couple of real player development success stories at DU in the last five years. One is Daniel Amigo, who was recruited by Joe Scott, but found his effective mid-major big man game under Billups and is now playing pro ball in Lithuania. The other is Ade Murkey, the first player recruited by Billups, who was something of a late bloomer at DU and is now under contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    The rest of the players in Billups’ program have either stayed at the same level where they came in (which is mostly below average), or moved out and on, mostly to D-II programs where they find their true level.

    To win in D-I, you have two options – either recruit excellent ball players and mold them into a team, or coach -up — recruit average or lightly- recruited players and make them as good or better players who can compete with more talented players/teams.

    This year, I think we need to see the evidence that the players or team is improving. As an alumnus, I admit I’ve defended Billups more than I would if he were not an alumnus. But at some point, you’ve got to improve…

    1. Great point on the revolving door and lack of player development. Amigo and Murkey were the exceptions, not the norm. Both were terrific and huge contributors to the program, but besides those two, we just haven’t seen guys really develop and become consistent contributors.

      I keep going back to David Nzekwesi (now at Weber State). I always thought he was a guy DU could build around. Good size, good hands and footwork, and athletic. He seemingly had the talent to become a premier player in the Summit, but he never could put it all together. I’m certainly not going to put all of the blame on Billups for that, as Nzekwesi didn’t seem to have the fire/tenacity and dedication to conditioning, but I think the Nzekwesi example is a microcosm of sorts for the issues plaguing the program right now.

  5. Do you remember, probably about 5 years ago, when DU was making a serious shift from hockey and lacrosse to basketball? They wanted to be a small-school, West Coast Conference powerhouse, like Gonzaga or a St Mary’s?

    How’s that working out for them now?

  6. I don’t believe DU’s plan was to have men’s hoops leap frog hockey and lax. These are bread and butter sports at DU. The reality is DU needs to improve in men’s hoops to ever exit the Summit League. Plus, hoops is a profit center for most schools. In DU’s case, men’s hoops is a cost center and, essentially, takes money away from other sports. A good basketball program would lift all sports at DU.

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