Denver (9-5, 0-1) had the basketball and trailed by one-point in a highly contested game with less than 30 seconds to go in Corvallis, Oregon. Unfortunately, a Denver turnover thwarted the upset bid with the Pioneers eventually falling on free throws to the Oregon State Beavers, 57-52. Before the game, coach Jeff Wulbrun implored his team to step up their defense and “be a player-led team”. They did just that but just came up short Wednesday night following a strong effort.
Both teams started the game with stout defense and Denver led 4-1 five minutes into the half. A Tyree Corbett layup and dunk gave DU an 8-1 advantage. It took seven and a half minutes into the game before OSU got their first field goal. Denver led 8-5 at the media timeout at 11:47. Denver led 10-5 ten minutes into the game. At the 7:49 media timeout, Denver extended the lead to 14-5 off a pair of steals and a Bruner jumper. OSU got on a scoring run and earned their first lead at 5:13 on a Glenn Taylor, Jr. lay-up on a 10-0 run. The teams were knotted at 18 all at the 2:28 media timeout. A hook shot by Tyler Bilodeau ended the half, 20-18, OSU.
Tyree Corbett led DU with 8 points and 4 rebounds in a high-energy first-half effort. Denver went 0-8 from distance and had 8 turnovers to 9 for the Beavers in a defensive struggle.
In the first three and a half minutes, Denver fell behind by 7 before a timely layup by Touko Tainamo started a Denver surge. A pair of free throws by Tommy Bruner finally pulled DU back even, 30-30, at 13:27. The teams traded points until the 8-minute mark, 38-38, capped by a pair of free throws by OSU’s Michael Rataj. Marko Lukic gave Denver the lead 40-38 with 7:25 remaining. A layup by Justin Mullins, a jumper by Tommy Bruner and a layup by Marko Lukic gave Denver a 46-38 lead at 4:54. Following a pair of Lukas Kisunas free throws, OSUwent on a scoring run when Dzmitry Ryuny nailed a 3-point shot for the OSU lead,49-48, with a 1:53 remaining. A Kisunas’ second chance lay-up gave DU the lead, 52-51, with 40 seconds remaining. The teams traded their final punches as two Jordan Pope free throws gave OSU the lead again with 28 seconds remaining. Denver had their chance with 14 seconds remaining following a 30-second timeout. Trailing by one point, 53-52, DU’s Mullins stepped out of bounds on a sideline pass to give OSU the ball and the game. Free throws followed with a final score of 57-52. While Denver has won their fair share of tight games this season, Wulbrun summed it up best, “We struggled to get it across the finish line.”
The difference may have been all 11 missed three-point shots in the tight loss. The defensive effort was significantly better than the prior game at Omaha. After the game, Wulbrun stated, “Really proud of them (the team). Every way I challenged them (over the past 24-24 hours) they responded. We protected the paint like it mattered. Our best defensive effort. If they continue to play this way, we’re going to be on the right side of these games. ”
Corbett’s 9 points fueled Denver in the first half and Kusunas, Tainamo and Bruner all finished with 10 points. Denver broke even with the Beavers on rebounds, 33 each, and Denver had the field goal advantage 41% to 35%. Denver only had 12 turnovers, 4 in the second half – the final miscue the most painful.
Denver has a Christmas break and returns home to face UMKC at Hamilton Arena at 7:00 pm MT on Thursday, December 29th.
4 thoughts on “Denver Loses late to Oregon State, 57-52”
Dunker thinks we just let one get away.
I’m am gutted. This loss was both heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time…the win was right there for the taking, served up on a silver platter and the Pios let OSU take it…
DU had a great defensive effort, holding a PAC-12 team to 34.7% shooting on its home floor – DU outshot, matched OSU’s rebounding, out-stole and forced more turnovers than OSU and most importantly, led OSU for most of the game. Usually, that’s enough to win. But alas, DU was up eight points on OSU in the final 5 minutes and just let the game slip away…
At the end of the day, free throw shooting (DU was only 53%) and an inability to make three point shots (0-11) were very costly to the Pios.
What really hurts is that a DU win could have been a real statement win for the Wulbrun turnaround — it would have been the first P5 victory for DU men’s hoops in 22 years, and DU’s first road P5 victory since returning to D-I run in 1998, and would have been a signal to the basketball world that DU can win against big time schools…
To make matters worse, DU ended a 503-game streak of making at least one three-point shot. That’s a lot of basketball games…
This team needs to get its mental edge back. These last two losses were quite avoidable…
That was a crushing loss. And Swami, I entirely agree with you. But while I was just bummed last night, today I am more optimistic about this program than I have been in a long time. And while I desperately want this team to win, I think as a program we have turned a corner. And for all the excellent reasons you listed Swami, it appears we are on the threshold of becoming a legitimate program. I think about all those great Gonzaga teams that couldn’t quite make it to the Final Four. It took them from 1991 to 2017 to finally knock down the Final Four door. For us, we were the 2nd worst program in the country in 2021. Now we can go into a pac12 arena and put ourselves in position to win. I’m ecstatic. Disappointed? for sure. Mad as can be? For sure. But also energized like no time in the past. Our team can do this. Our team might be able to finally compete on a National level.
Learning to win in DI basketball is a process. Eventually, it will click. Most mid-major players are excellent athletes/players but there is a part of their game that needs work. That is where coaching comes in to develop players’ strengths and minimize weaknesses. This team is going to come together but it will be a process. We are all anxious to see this work after years of futility. I trust the process with this group. A win last night would have been a nice building block but now we are into the real games that count – conference play.