Denver Breezes Past Colorado College, 90-68

It had been 9,949 days since the University of Denver (2-0)  played the Colorado College Tigers (1-1) on the hardwood.  Denver took that game 90-61. Thursday’s rematch had much the same flavor as the CC Tigers stumbled out of the gate with a technical when they failed to submit their starting lineup card on time. It would only get worse from there for the Tigers.

Denver jumped out to a 5-0 lead and was ahead 14-6 at 16:22 with several nice buckets by DU freshman Justin Mullins and the Pioneers dominated inside with Touko Tainamo and Lukas Kisunas before the first timeout. Two beautiful drives by Tyree ‘Philly’  Corbett pushed the Denver lead to 12. A Marko Lukic layup doubled up CC, 11-22, as Denver began to pull away. Denver was rotating players freely during the half in a display of depth as outmanned Colorado battled to make up the difference. DU went on another run, capped by a Ben Bowen layup at 10:22, giving DU a 28-11 advantage as CC went cold from the floor. Over the final 10 minutes, a host of Pioneers contributed to the rout as Denver went into the halftime break with a 49-29 lead. Denver dominated on the boards, 25 to 12, and shot a sizzling 56.7% for the half.

In the first five minutes of the second half, the Tigers cut Denver’s lead to fourteen before a Lukas Kisunas layup stopped their run at 15:13. Over the next five minutes, a host of Denver players torched the Tigers, capped by a Tyree Corbett jumper and free throw to  build the Denver margin to twenty-four, 72-48. Ben Bowen continued to impress with his ball handling and passing while showing he may be able to give Tommy Bruner some needed rest as the season progresses. Guard Dan Mukuna, a 6’8″ German recruit checked into the game at 8:20 for his first action this season. With five minutes remaining, Kisunas had a flush and a foul to build a 79-55 score. During the final minutes of the game,  Wulbrun emptied his bench as Denver fans and teammates cheered them on. Newly minted scholarship player Corey Hess and walk-on James Sanders got the loudest cheers as Denver coasted. As a nod to history, Denver scored the same number of points as 21 years earlier- ninety.

This was a mismatch from the start with Denver’s size and athleticism giving CC fits. Wulbrun saw the game as a valuable opportunity to build team chemistry and play deep into his bench. Said Wulbrun, “This game helped us grow. Lots of guys got significant minutes. We had a good rebounding performance. Our front court had a good game. We want to attack the rim and get inside.” The Pioneers also got to the line 49 times and shot 65% – not perfect but an improvement over the Idaho opener. “We were better from the line – we want to make more free throws than our opponent’s attempts.” Wulbrun put the team’s progress in perspective, “It is still a work in progress. It was a nice win – we’ve made progress. That’s the goal this year. The guys are determined to do things that have never been done before (at DU).”

A big positive for the games was 38 bench points from DU, a sign that DU can compete in waves with their size and athleticism. The negatives? Seventeen turnovers against Colorado College was too many and 2 of 12 from downtown will present a challenge for Denver when Summit League Conference games begin. DU does not need to shoot more three’s, they just need to improve on the accuracy (35-40%). The high-impact players were Kisunas with 18 points, Tainamo’s 11 rebounds and freshman Justin Mullins 10 points and 2 steals but it was hard to miss Tyree Corbett with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and one steal. Corbett was the player of the game for the Pioneers.

Next up:  Sacramento State on Monday, November 14th at 7:00 pm MT


10 thoughts on “Denver Breezes Past Colorado College, 90-68”

  1. Great chance to get everyone in the lineup into a game, as DU will not face an easier opponent all season.

    Nice to see DU pounding into the paint and to see our big man dominate, which we haven’t seen since the Amigo days, and also good to see DU shooting free throws decently.

    While I am not a fan of having to play D-III, II or NAIA opponents, I do understand the scheduling and financial realities of being a low mid-major program.

    Next up for DU is Sacramento State – a Big Sky team rated #281 in Ken Pom, 25 spots below DU (#256).

    The Hornets lost to #8 UCLA by 26 in their first and and only game this year – highlights here:

      1. Thanks. I checked CC’s schedule after the game and saw they have the game marked as an exhibition. Perhaps for them and not for DU…….

        Either way, it was great to see the team in action last night, and it’s always great to beat CC, regardless of sport I missed the game against Idaho.

  2. It’s kind of in-between a regular game and an exhibition game, depending on who is doing the counting….

    DU absolutely counts the game as a regular game in its season record and in the season stats, but the NCAA does not count these games vs non D-I opponents as part of the RPI calculations, nor do they consider these games as part of NCAA tourney consideration.

  3. Puck mentioned Amigo and I got to wondering “what ever happened to him” … apparently he’s playing pro basketball in Mexico and is on Team Mexico in international play. That’s pretty cool.

    1. Amigo was an amazing story at DU. He was in Joe Scott’s doghouse and nearly off the team. Once Scott left and he started doing weights and nutrition, he transformed himself into a great player for DU. A real success story.

  4. It’s good to see DU beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. This hasn’t been a given in recent years. I’d love to see them develop that killer instinct this season when playing inferior teams, where they get up big and never look back.

    Excited to see the Pios take on Sacramento State in the final game of this season opening homestand!

  5. This is going to be a tough one tonite. New coach for Sac State. Recruiter who brought in some key players. Oklahoma transfer. 7’1″ center from New Zealand. Guard who is a shooter. They went 14-25 from the 3 point line in their last game. A win against UC San Diego. No matter what anyone says, we’re the underdog tonite. With Porter, we would be okay.Without him its gonna be tough to score enough inside. Should be interesting. If we can rise up and get this somehow, it will be a great, great sign. If we can’t get it done, it will give the coaching staff a real benchmark upon which to build. Sac State would finish in the top 4 in the Summit. Good test tonite. I hope the crowd is pumped. I am!

    1. Excellent preview Aaron. You are right, this is a big game in a lot of ways for the Pioneers. Time to defend our home floor!

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