Denver men’s basketball (3-9, 0-0) traveled to St. George, Utah Saturday night to play the Dixie State Trailblazers (5-5, 0-0) to conclude a brutal 6-game road trip. The same Dixie State that earned their first-ever D1 win against Denver last season. Denver’s 82-62 loss marked the Pioneers 42nd consecutive road loss, one game away from tieing their longest road-losing streak of 43 games.
Denver play-by-play man Tyler Maun summed it up best when the score ballooned to 41 – 18 in the first half by stating the obvious – “embarrassing”. Maun has been a personal witness to numerous DU hoops disasters over the last several seasons. Frankly, DU fans have come to expect losses but had hoped that this version of Denver men’s basketball had moved from “embarrassing” to “respectable” and distanced themselves from the stench of last season’s 2-19 performance.
Against Dixie State, Denver followed their recent road trip script and fell behind early, 7-0. Denver only had 9 points midway through the first half and the Trailblazers had 32. A KJ Hunt dunk with 9:49 remaining gave the Pioneers double-digits (11) but the rout was on. Another Hunt 3-point shot drew Denver within 20, 41-21 with five minutes to go. Denver was unable to narrow the gap, trailing 48-28 at the half. Eight three-point makes in the half by Dixie State didn’t help the DU cause but the Pioneers still trailed in every statistical category and threw the ball away 9 times in the half.
Dixie State opened up the second half with a 3-point make and a layup to lead 53-28. Five minutes into the half, the Trailblazers had 12 made 3’s (12 of 20) and were cruising against Denver. With 10 minutes to go, Dixie State nailed another pair of 3’s by Andre Mulibea to build a 25 point lead, 71-46. Denver went on a 9-0 run with five minutes to go, 71-55, to narrow the deficit but it was too late. Dixie State closed out the game, 82-62.
Denver plays their next three games at home. The Pioneers play UC San Diego Wednesday to complete non-conference play. Conference play begins next week with home games against Western Illinois on Monday and St Thomas of Wednesday.