Denver traveled to Kansas City to take on the UMKC Roos Saturday night. Yet again, it was a poor second half that doomed the Pioneers, leading by three at the break, but emerging with a final score of 70-60.
Despite four early turnovers, the Pioneers led 7-4 four minutes into the first half. A Lucas Kisunas lay-in gave DU a 12-8 lead at the ten minute mark. A flagrant foul on DU’s Lukas Kisunas, his third, led to a Roos free throw and a narrow 23-22 DU lead at 3:36. The teams traded points and the half ended in DU’s favor, 30-27, as a last second Roos shot missed the cylinder. Denver shot 34.8% to 25% for the Roos in the first twenty minutes.
Denver held the advantage until UMKC took the lead on a layup at 16:25, 33-31. UMKC extended their lead over the next six minutes and Denver trailed by five at the ten minute mark as Bruner canned a pair of free throws. Denver pulled within one point on a pair of Marko Lukic free throws, 46-45, at 8:50. Unfortunately, that was as close as DU could get down the stretch. Over the next six minutes, the Roos doubled up DU 7 to 14 on points to hold an 8 point lead. Back-to-back dunks by brothers Precious Idiaru and Promise Idiaru sunk Denver’s hopes with less than two minutes remaining, 64-52. UMKC coasted the final minute with the score ending 70-60, Roos.
Denver was thin down the stretch with injuries to Touko Tainamo and Pedro Lopez-Sanvicente and Lukas Kisunas in foul trouble. Shemarri Allen, Raquandis Mitchell and Allen David Mukeba battered DU inside. UMKC had 38 points in the paint and held DU to 1-11 from behind the arc. Tommy Bruner and Tevin Smith led DU with 19 and 17 points respectively.
Denver will try to snap their three game losing streak against Western Illinois on Thursday at 7:00 pm MT at Hamilton Gym.