Bobcats Nip Denver, 70-68

The University of Denver (1-5) hosted the Texas State Bobcats (5-3) in the first game of the Pioneer Challenge Saturday afternoon at Hamilton Gym. A 19 point Pioneer lead slipped away in the second half and the Pioneer dropped a heartbreaker, 70-68.

The Pioneers got out of the blocks fast with opening leads of 15-7, 12-24 and finished the first half with a 42-23 advantage. Denver shot 68% from the floor and Jase Townsend scored 15 points to pace the Pioneers. Denver went 5-9 beyond the arc and forced 13 turnovers for their best 20 minutes of the year.

Unfortunately, the Bobcats turned the tables in the second half and outscored Denver 47-26.

The Pioneers lost starting forward Tristan Green with a groin injury to start the second half. The Bobcats used a press to quickly narrow DU’s lead to 13, 44-33, in the first four minutes. The lead dropped to 10 points six minutes into the half but a frank Ryder bucket extended DU’s lead to 12. Another run by TSU narrowed DU’s lead to six, 46-52, with 10 minutes to go as the Bobcats continued to nibble away at Denver’s lead. The game was tied for the first time in the second half, 56-56, on an Isiah Small jumper with 6:48 to go. A Caleb Asberry three gave the Bobcats a 3-point lead with 4:30 to go, 58-61. But DU countered with a Roscoe Eastmond 3-point bomb at 1:59,  a 66-63 Denver lead.  TSU pulled ahead 68-66 but DU’s Robert Jones countered with two free throws to draw the teams even with :35 seconds remaining. The Bobcats responded when Mason Harrell hit a jumper with 10 seconds left for a TSU 70-68 lead. A last-second shot by Jase Townsend missed and the Pioneers fell, 70-68.

In the second half, the Pioneers sorely missed starter Tristan Green who had a quick 9 points in the first half along with injuries to Roscoe Eastmond and Frank Ryder who both saw limited action in the second half. Jase Townsend finished with 22 points and emerging freshman Sam Hines, Jr. poured in 15 points. Denver had 23 turnovers to 18 for TSU. Denver could only go 1-7 on three-point shots in the second half after a hot first half beyond the arc. Robert Jones, who had COVID-19 earlier this summer, ended with 4 points and 7 rebounds. Once he rounds back into shape, DU should have three reliable scorers along with Jase Townsend and Sam Hines, Jr.




9 thoughts on “Bobcats Nip Denver, 70-68”

  1. They didn’t get blown up, but they blew a 19 point lead, which is the same thing. And 23 turnovers.

  2. Another Billips pathetic defeat. I and 5 in his fifth year at the helm. If the Athletic Director isn’t scouting the land for a complete regime change, well, then he needs to go too.

  3. The Pessimist: 1-5, another loss, 24 turnovers, blew a 19-point halftime lead. Not enough talent. Who wants more of this dumpster fire?

    The Optimist: Lost by a basket in a close competitive game vs a 5-3 TSU team, DU shot 51%, starting to see something resembling a DU team who can play 40 hard minutes vs other winning teams, might surprise some teams in league play if improvement continues.

    The Realist: Team is improving, but is not good enough to win yet. Billups has little talent (his fault) but at least they play hard, and perhaps with a bit more time, this team may be surpsrising come league play. But don’t bet on it…


    Why so glum DU faithful ? Don’t let another home defeat in Hamilton get you down during this holiday season. Although we all know it’s been a tough year, how about I share a Yuletide tale from two years ago to help keep things in perspective and remind us how fortunate the Pioneer family is this Christmas season?

    Exactly two years ago during the 2018-19 season — heading into Christmas— DU was in the midst of a losing streak on their home court similar to the present one. (They’ve lost three in a row at home this season for those not paying attention). Perturbed at his team’s inability to protect their home court, Coach Billups devised a plan to incentivize his team. He brought portable cots into the team’s locker room for all of his players and informed them that they would be sleeping there until they won their next home game.

    Sure enough, DU’s hoopsters spent 4 nights sleeping together in their own locker room on cots. Nothing like sleeping with your teammates in a cramped area where you also hang your stinky jock straps, smelly shoes, and sweaty practice gear. The players loved it – Not ! Just ask current juniors Gatlin and Townsend as this was their introduction to DU basketball during their freshman years. (Former standout Joe Rosga can verify what a memorable time that was sleeping on a cot during his senior year).

    Shortly after word slipped out to the local media that DU ballers were being held captive in their own locker room as a penalty for losing, the press reached out to Head Coach Billups for comment. To the rescue came newly hired Athletic Director Karlton Creech for DU as he began running interference. Creech wrote an email back to the Denver Post reporter who was inquiring about the cot matter. In so many words, DU’s AD stated “that there is nothing to see here, keep driving ” (its in the email exchange).

    DU’s Creech defended the unorthodox motivational technique of his young head coach explaining that it provided the players with a terrific “bonding” experience as the freshman Pioneers could get to know their fellow teammates better. (You can’t make this stuff up) . Creech further assured the reporter that one of the team’s coaches was also sleeping in the locker room with the players and he explained that the hostages (aka players) were free to play cards and watch video games together. Yippee, how fun !

    What a brilliant idea by Billups to help his players unite and storm the Summit League. DU ultimately finished rock bottom with a 8-22 record and finished last in league play . (Incidentally, the players were freed from the locker room immediately following the press inquiry – no home victory required. )

    But good news for the Pioneers this year !!!! Although in the earlier season the head coach and the school AD approved of the “sleep on cots until you win motivational technique” , this year the players are lucky because COVID arrived on Santa’s sleigh.

    As a result, the Colorado Department of Health and Governor Polis are the players’ new Santa Claus this season. You see , responsible social distancing prohibits players from being forced to sleep shoulder-to-shoulder as punishment for losing on their home floor. It would be a violation of state law and Denver health regulations to pack the Pios in their locker room like the good old days. So be free fellas – go sleep in your own your beds back at your dorm rooms tonight. Perhaps Kris Kringle will pay you a visit and give you a win next game. And if we are all really lucky, a new coach for next season. Can you hear the bells ? They are ringing for you Rodney.


  5. In another season that is shaping up to be a trainwreck, DU found a new way to add to the disappointment. This was tough to watch. The classic “tale of two halves.” The first half was great–DU shot the ball well, defended well and forced Texas State to turn the ball over, and looked like they might run away with this one. The 2nd half was a completely different story. Texas State was making shots and now forcing DU to turn the ball over, Pios couldn’t stop the bleeding, and the momentum completely swung. That said, DU still had a chance to win the game down the stretch, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Texas State was the better team and executed when they needed to late in the game.

    The only silver lining, and I’ve noticed this in the last two contests with UNC and now Texas State, is hopefully there is something to build on, some promise. There have been sequences of good competitive basketball. They are certainly not going to “out-talent” anyone, but if DU can find some consistency, maybe they can gain some more confidence and be more competitive.

  6. Bummer of a loss. They had it, even with some chances at the end. Fortunately with this schedule almost every game is “winnable” so with no expectations hopefully they can play loose and get some momentum going.

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