The University of Denver (1-11, 0-5) men’s basketball team traveled to Fargo and faced North Dakota State University (8-7, 6-1) Friday night at the Scheels Center. The Pioneers were without big man Robert Jones (leg injury) and top scorer Jase Townsend (ankle injury). Freshman Eric Moenkhaus and Sam Hines, Jr. had the start along with first-time starter Javonnie Bickham. Juniors’ Taelyr Gatlin and Tristan Green filled out the starting five for DU. Once again, Denver competed for most of the game, absent their top two scorers, but faded in the final minutes, 70-58.
In the first three minutes of the first half, DU raced out to a 9-0 lead as Eric Moenkhaus canned a three-point shot and added a bucket in the Pioneers opening barrage. The Bison stormed back over the next five minutes and reeled off 13 straight points to lead, 13-9. The Bison led 21-14 at the 10-minute mark, capped by a 3-point shot by Jarius Cook. A Roscoe Eastmond layup pulled the game even, 23-23, with 4:25 remaining in the half. NDSU outscored Denver 10 to 3 in the final minutes to end the half, 33-27, NDSU. The Bison outshot Denver 42.3% to 35.5% for the half.
Denver trailed by two points five minutes into the second half, 37-35. The teams traded buckets but a Tristan Green jumper pulled the teams even once again, 39-39. A turnover by Tyree Eady, led to a 2-point jumper by Tealyr Gatlin which gave Denver the lead,41-39, at 13:28. A Tristan Green jumper with ten minutes remaining gave DU a 49-45 lead. With nine minutes to go, the Bison battled back, took the lead, and never trailed again. As usual, Denver kept clawing back to keep the game tight in the final minutes, holding close but trailing by 6 points with under five minutes left in the contest. A scoring run, led by NDSU’s Rocky Kreuser, stretched the Bison lead to 57-68 lead with 3:07 remaining. Denver went ice cold the rest of the way and the game ended, 70-58, NDSU.
Most of the game stats were even but DU only went to the foul line eight times while the home-team Bison went to the charity stripe 26 times. Tristan Green led the Pioneers with 16 points and 8 rebounds.