Denver men’s basketball (13-16, 4-12) had an 18-point lead with 13:12 remaining in the second half. Full-court pressure from the Jackrabbits (11-4, 9-1), turnovers (15) and porous second-half defense thwarted the Pioneer effort. Denver fell 80-75 in Hamilton Gym Thursday night to second place South Dakota State.
Denver shot 52% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc to forge a 38-29 halftime lead. The Jackrabbits shot 41% from the field. Justin Mullins led the Pioneers in the first half, eventually ending with 17 points for the game.
Denver built on their lead in the first seven minutes of the second half, forging a 59-41 lead, capped by a Lukas Kisunas layup. South Dakota State then asserted control, outscoring the Pioneers 39-16 down the stretch to hand Denver the 80-75 loss. DU shot 52% from the field but SDSU hit 59% and forced double-digit turnovers in the final 20 minutes.
Tevin Smith tied Mullins with 17 points. Touko Tainamo finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds. Zeke Mayo spearheaded the comeback with 27 points in the game, 23 in the second half. Ultimately, it was turnovers and defense that betrayed the Pioneers over the last 13 minutes to spell the difference. The loss against SDSU makes it 12 consecutive losses to the Jackrabbits – the longest current losing streak to a single opponent in the Pioneer record book in the modern DI era.
The Pioneers have a quick turnaround to get over the shocking collapse to SDSU. They face South Dakota on Saturday at 1:00 pm MT for their second-to-last conference season game at Hamilton gym.
One thought on “Denver Loses Large Lead, Falls to SDSU, 80-75”
Dunker put this one in the win column. Losing to a bunch of crew cuts hurts. Mayo second half was terrific.