Denver men’s basketball (2-3, 0-0) played a matinee game against Texas A&M Corpus Christi (3-1) Wednesday afternoon. Turnovers and errant 3-point shooting were the Pioneers undoing in the loss.
Mikey Henn hit three of his first four shots as Denver led Texas A&M Corpus Christi midway through the first half, 14-12. A pair of Coban Porter 3’s and timely buckets by KJ Hunt kept DU close but DU trailed at half, 38-34. Coban Porter led the Pios with 10 points, Henn scored 8 and KJ Hunt had 6 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Denver shot nearly 48% from the field in the half but still trailed the Islanders.
Denver fell behind midway through the second half, 53-45, largely behind 15 turnovers from the Pioneers while the Islanders only had 8. Denver narrowed the deficit on a Tristan Green layup, 58-54, with 5:25 to go in the game. A pair of free throws by Tevin Smith and KJ Hunt pulled Denver within a point, 59-58 with 2:30 remaining. Mikey Henn gave DU their first second-half lead, 60-59. The teams traded points and leads until 20 seconds remained.
Trailing by 1 point following a full timeout, DU was called for a shot-clock violation with 20 seconds remaining. Once Denver regained possession, KJ Hunt was fouled and sunk 1 of 2 free throws from the line with 8 seconds left to draw Denver even 67-67. In the waning seconds, Denver’s defense allowed UTCC to drive the court for the winning layup with one second remaining by the Islanders Jalen Jackson for the win, 69-67.
A team like Denver has a slim margin of error and they must make timely free throws, minimize turnovers (18), and take solid 3-point opportunities during play if they are to win close games. The Pioneers shot a solid 46.8% from the field but had trouble from beyond the arc again going 7-25 (28%) on the afternoon.
Once again, KJ Hunt led Denver with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Freshman Tevin Smith had a good game and finished with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist. Another freshman, Coban Porter, had a solid game with 12 points and 4 rebounds.