It was a critical win for DU men’s hoops Saturday afternoon as they battled North Dakota and a slew of three-point makes (15/39) at Hamilton Gym Saturday afternoon.
Denver built an early 10-2 lead, fueled by a 8-0 run, triggered by Tyree Corbett to start the game. At the midway point, DU’s Lukas Kisunas pushed Denver’s lead to 25-14. Three-point makes by UND cut the lead to six points with three-and-a-half minutes remaining until break, 33-27. UND trays narrowed the lead- 37-34, DU at half. Nine offensive rebounds by the Fighting Hawks kept the score close along with eight made threes to only one for DU – yet Denver responded to each UND push.
The two teams traded points over the first ten minutes of the second half. With eight minutes remaining, Denver held to a slight lead, 63-60, but the Pioneers could not put the Fighting Hawks away with their 13 made three’s to stay in contact. UND’s Matt Norman pulled the Hawks within one, 66-65, with a hook shot and a missed free throw. DU countered with a small four point run and with 3:52 remaining, DU owned the ball and a five point lead. After DU ran clock, a pair of Tyree Corbett charities put DU up by seven, 72-65 with two minutes remaining.
Denver held strong down the stretch as Touko Tainamo went to the line to regain a seven point lead with less than 40 seconds left. UND countered with a bucket but Marko Lukic responded at the free throw line to put the finishing touches on the final score,78-71, DU.
As a team, DU out-rebounded UND 40-33 in a show of toughness. Tevin Smith continues to make progress from injury with 20 points and 5 rebounds. The star for the Pioneers was Tyree Corbett with 10 points and 15 rebounds, cementing the win. Matt Norman paced UND with 18 points.
During the four game skid, Jeff Wulbrun stated that the team “did a lot of self analysis and we needed greater effort- especially on the defensive end. We needed to compete.” Wulbrun also got to see some smiles when he entered the locker room. Hard to call any single conference game a ‘must win’ but Saturday’s victory should go a long way in restoring confidence to the Pioneers.
3 thoughts on “Denver Takes Down North Dakota, 78-71”
While North Dakota is no basketball powerhouse, it was good to see the Pioneers get back to winning again. There are still 11 conference games left for this DU team to further develop, and it looks like Tevin Smith may be back to his old self, which helps both the defense and the offense, which should help.
Been gone for awhile. We obviously hit a rough patch here, although let’s be honest in that only the NDSU game is surprising. We obviously didn’t play well and we’re struggling still a bit. But we have to realize we are only 52 games removed from being one of the two worst teams in Division 1 Men’s Basketball.It’s hard to turn the corner and be competitive in a league as good as the Summett. It appears to me that we have a good plan with this staff that will reap dividends 3-5 years from now. We’re certainly more competitive now. We need to win a few more this year! If we can get to 14 or 15 wins, that would be an incredible step forward. That will be tough, but I think it is still very possible.
Huge sigh of relief. I’m really glad DU got the W, but it was more a sense of relief than anything. North Dakota came in winless in the conference and toiling at the bottom. This was a game DU had to win. That said, it wasn’t easy. UND hung around and made enough 3-point shots to keep the game close. I thought DU’s defensive intensity and commitment were better, and it was encouraging that every time UND made a run, DU would counter. I hope this effort is something the team can build upon after this lousy stretch.