Denver Ends Conference Skid with 85-81 OT Win

The Pioneers (2-13, 1-7) took to the court Saturday afternoon in Hamilton Gym to face the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (6-15, 5-7) trying to break DU’s conference losing streak. They last defeated Western Illinois on February 29th, 2020 which represented their last D1 and conference win. It is always sweet to get a win, especially against North Dakota, but this win was as much a relief as it was a victory celebration.

As is their custom, DU fell behind, 12-4, five minutes into the game. Over the next five minutes, DU closed the gap to 19-15 on a Drake Muller layup and free throws by Tristan Green. A Caleb Nero 3-point shot gave UND a 12 point lead, 32-20, with less than five minutes to go in the half. UND built a 14 point lead, largely on free throws but DU finished with a six-point run, capped by an Eric Moenkhaus 3-point play. The first 20 minutes ended with the visitors holding the lead, 45-37. North Dakota shot 60% from the field and drained seven three-pointers in the half to earn the advantage.

North Dakota pulled out to a 10-point lead five minutes into the second half. Several minutes later, Denver knifed the Fighting Hawks 14 point lead to four points with an 8-point run triggered by a Sam Hines, Jr. dunk and jumpers by Roscoe Eastmond and Jase Townsend. A pair of Javonni Bickham free throws at the midway mark pulled Denver within six,  53-47. Denver tied the score 53-53 on an Eric Moenkhaus 3-point shot and DU took the lead on a Javonni Bickham layup with 7:28 to go. A layup by DU drew the teams even again, 62-62 with 3:51 to go as the two teams traded baskets. Jase Townsend tied the score on a jumper, 69-69 with 45 seconds to go and the game went to overtime.

In overtime, the teams traded points for the first four-and-a-half minutes until Jase Townsend drained a 3-point shot to take a lead which Denver would never relinquish, 83-79. Eric Moenkhaus made two critical free throws down the stretch and the game ended, 85-81 in Denver’s favor.

North Dakota had five players in double figures. Jase Townsend led DU with 23 points and 4 rebounds. Freshman Eric Moenkhaus chipped in with 17 points and Sam Hines, Jr. with 13 points and 6 rebounds. DU shot a solid 49.1% from the field and both teams had 16 giveaways. Denver still has winnable games left with series against Western Illinois and Kansas City on the road and a finale against Omaha in Hamilton Gym.

Photo: Courtesy Denver Pioneers – Jase Townsend.

 

6 thoughts on “Denver Ends Conference Skid with 85-81 OT Win”

  1. Dunker happy for the kids. How on earth did ND WIN 5 league games. They’re awful. I guess our league sucks beyond belief. Announcers mentioned how DU SID liked our remaining schedule should we win today. I’m sure our future opponents are glad we are on their schedule. Rodney made major error in not renewing scholarships. Word gets around and is used against us in recruiting. The younger Penberton kid was just as good as current players. Rodney terrible judge of talent. Next coach best keep upper classmen. I simply hate juniors and seniors being told to find another school to get their degree.

  2. Nice work fellas! Now build some momentum! They can genuinely go 0.500 in the remaining games. That’s a nice goal along with qualifying for the league tourney!

  3. Nice win for the Pio players! They’ve been so close in a bunch of games and keep battling.

    Puck, would a modest late season surge save Rodney’s job or have the powers that be seen enough?

    My own two cents is that we need a change in leadership regardless of win-loss outcome down the stretch.

  4. In my view, I think the only ways for Rodney to save his job would be if DU made a Summit League tournament run that finished with a Summit Tourney Championship and an NCAA appearance, something DU has never, ever done. Or perhaps if DU got on a nine-game winning run after this North Dakota win yesterday and reeled off a bunch of regular season wins that ended in the Summit League Championship Game with the Pioneers showing real promise.

    But honestly the chances of either of those scenarios actually happening are very low.

    I have seen no evidence this year that this program is deep or skilled enough enough to go on those kinds of runs.

    Now I am not the DU athletic administration, but it seems pretty obvious, that short of a miracle run, that the Billups era is in its final weeks.

  5. Hallelujah! These guys are finally off the schneid. In an otherwise dreadful season, this W is at least a beacon of light. I’m just really happy for the players and coaches. If they can string together a few more wins this season, they at least have something positive to take and build upon in the offseason.

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