Denver Men’s basketball (10-5, 1-1) returned to the court Thursday night against UMKC (5-10, 1-1). Denver desperately needed a home conference win to snap a two-game skid and it took three overtime periods to settle the final score. What was once a defensive struggle in the first half, turned into the Tommy Bruner show as a Tommy Bruner 3-point shot found net with 1:09 remaining in the third overtime period to land on the final score. The co-star on the night was UMKC’s Shemarri Allen who finished with 34 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Bruner finished with 29 points, 4 assists, and 13 of 13 from the charity stripe to hold the charging Roos at bay.
Denver led 26-22 at halftime in a defensive struggle as both teams shot in the low 30% from the field. Denver held the lead for most of the half and built their margin by out-rebounding the Roos, 20-13.
Denver was coasting in the second half, at 10:39, after Tyree Corbett hit a jumper to give the Pioneers a 43-31 lead. Kansas City came charging back as DU went cold and Shemarri Allen started to drive the lane for points and then, hit timely three-point makes from the perimeter. With 34 seconds left in regulation, Mitchell RayQuawndis was fouled on a 3-point shot and hit all three charities to draw within two points. With 17 seconds remaining, Shemarri Allen was fouled while attempting a shot behind the arc and canned all three of his opportunities to pull within one point. A pair of Bruner free throws gave DU a 3-point lead with 4 seconds remaining. UMKC’s Allen hit a running three-point shot at the buzzer to send the game to overtime, 66-66.
Overtime was all about Allen and Bruner willing their teams to win. In the first overtime, Touko Tainamo gave DU a 2-point lead 71-69 with 53 seconds left but Allen countered again to knot the score, 71-71.
A Touko Tainamo 3-point make gave DU the lead in the second overtime with 53 seconds remaining to put DU up by one but UMKC countered again with a free throw (and miss) by Jeff Ngandu to knot the score at 76 all. DU could not generate a shot in the final 16 seconds and the game stretched into another 5-minute period.
In the third OT, the teams traded buckets until a Shemarri Allen layup put UMKC up 83-82. Bruner countered with an ice-in-his-viens 3-point make to give DU a two-point lead with 1:09 remaining, 85-83. Denver forced two missed layups by Kansas City in the final minute with Lukas Kisunas and Tyree Corbett making key blocks and rebounds in handing the Pioneers their first Summit League conference win.
In addition to Tommy Bruner’s outstanding performance, freshman Justin Mullins added 12 points and 9 rebounds. Touko Tainamo had another outstanding game with 22 points along with 9 points each from Lukas Kisunas and Tyree Corbett.
Oral Roberts, the Summit League favorite in preseason polls, comes to Hamilton Gym Saturday at 1:00 pm MT.