DU (13-14, 4-10) faced North Dakota (9-17, 3-10) in Grand Forks Thursday night. North Dakota went into the game hitting 9 three-point shots per game and the primary goal for Denver was to defend the arc. The Fighting Hawks hit 8 threes but beat the Pioneers in nearly every other statistical category as well while coasting to an 86-63 win.
In the first half, DU started as cold as the outside 7°F Grand Forks temperature and trailed 9-2 at the official’s timeout. The deficit grew to 16-6 and got worse from there. Denver’s fouls and turnovers made the score 22-11 only 7:45 into the first frame. Denver could never mount a challenge the rest of the half. The first 20 minutes ended 43-29. Denver was out-rebounded 19-11, outshot from the field 53.3% to 46.2%, and had 8 turnovers to 6 for the fighting hawks. Trailing only the Oral Roberts second half in Tulsa, this may have been DU’s worst half of basketball.
It got worse.
The Fighting Hawks outscored the Pioneers 43-34 in the second half. Tevin Smith finished with 17 points, Lukis Kisunas with 11 points and Justin Mullins with 10 points. UND hit 8 threes to only 1 for DU, UND out rebounded DU by 13 boards. Denver was outshot from the field by 43.6% vs. 55.9%. DU never held the lead.
Next up is North Dakota State Saturday at 12 pm MT.