After what can only be described as a tragic week, Denver men’s basketball (12-11, 3-7) traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma to take on the very best of the Summit League – the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (18-4, 9-0). Denver kept their composure in a solid first half against ORU but their emotional reserve ran dry the final 20 minutes. The Pioneers were outscored 59 to 22 in the half, falling in a final score of 102-61.
In the first half, Denver shot 53.1% from the field to ORU’s 46.9% but was out-shot from beyond the arc 6-2 and trailed at half, 43-39. ORU was a two-man show – big man Connor Vanover hitting from outside and inside with 15 points while ORU star Max Abmas had a ‘quiet’ 16 points with three makes from beyond the arc. Denver refused to go away, trailing by as much as seven points during the first half. Tommy Bruner led DU with 17 points along with 7 points each by Lukas Kisunas and freshman Justin Mullins.
ORU smoked DU out of the break with four three-point makes to build an 11-point lead 3:45 into the second half. Denver seemed to wither as the Golden Eagles bolted out to a big lead. ORU kept the hammer down, capped by a Vanover three, to build a 16-point lead, 59-43, only five minutes into the half. After an eight-minute scoring drought by Denver, a Tainamo free throw finally gave DU a point, 69-44, at 10:14. Once ORU built a 30-point lead, the Golden Eagles began to empty their bench with six minutes left. ORU still went on to achieve the century mark against the reeling Pioneers, 102-61.
Lukas Kisunas showed fight throughout the game with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Tommy Bruner had 25 points in the loss. Denver had 17 turnovers to 7 for the Golden Eagles and shot 41.7% to 56.7% for ORU. Max Abmas finished with 25 points and 3 assists. The Pioneers have very little time to regroup with a Saturday game in Kansas City at 6:00 pm MT.