Denver men’s basketball (4-1) faced a familiar foe, IUPUI (1-4), a former Summit League Member, at the MTE Tournament in New Orleans Wednesday afternoon. This was a game that Denver should have dominated – and they did, 86-64.
Denver was coming off quarter exams this week and arrived at their hotel late last night but Denver was ready to play IUPUI Wednesday afternoon. Added to the challenges of study and travel, the game was delayed 40 minutes due to a scheduling error.
The Pioneers and the Jaguars played even for the first several minutes but Denver began to pull away thereafter, leading by five, 23-18, at the midway point of the half. Over the next ten minutes, the Pioneers began to overpower IUPUI, led by Tevin Smith, Lukas Kasinus and Tyree Corbett. A Tommy Bruner three-point make gave DU their biggest lead of the first half, 15 points (38-23), and the Pioneers maintained a double-digit lead at the half, 46-34. DU shot 65% from the field and held an 8 rebound advantage against the Jaguars at the break.
The red-hot shooting continued into the second half for Denver following an early IUPUI run. Five minutes into the second half, the Jaguars Amhad Jarrard hit a 3-point shot during a 9-2 IUPUI run, to pull within 11, at 15:06. Denver countered, led by a pair of Justin Mullins 3-point makes as the Pioneers lead grew to 18 points, 65-47. Lukas Kasinus picked up his fourth foul with 12 minutes remaining but DU kept a safe double-digit margin the rest of the way as Touko Tainamo picked up the slack on both ends of the floor. Denver led 75-62, with 5 minutes remaining. The Denver lead continued to grow, capped by a Touko Tainamo layup, which put DU up by 20 with 2:08 remaining. Denver emptied their bench the rest of the way and the game ended with a final score of 86-64.
Denver shot 63.6% from the field for the game and had 9 more rebounds than the Jaguars. DU had five double-digit scorers led by Tevin Smith’s 19 points. Touko Tainamo and Tyree Corbin had a rare twin double-double stat line. Sure, Denver should have won this game against the over-matched Jaguars but it was not that long ago that DU was an over-matched program that dropped similar games to more skilled opponents by double-digits.
Denver plays the second of three consecutive games in three days with a game tomorrow against The Citadel (3 pm MT). On Friday, DU faces host New Orleans. The Citadel is expected to be a far different team than IUPUI while hoisting 30+ three-point attempts per game. Tomorrows game should be much more challenging for the Pioneers.