In a season of ups and down, DU men’s hoops (15-16, 6-12) finished their regular season in style on Senior Night (afternoon) against the Omaha Mavericks (8-22, 4-14). DU raced out to a first-half lead, 32-18, on hot shooting while the Mavs were ice cold. Despite 19 turnovers for the game, Denver rarely allowed Omaha to cut the lead below double digits. With the win, Denver improved four games over their 2022 campaign heading into the Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. While it would be easy to wish for more wins this season, progress continues as DU men’s basketball had their best record since 2017-2018.
Denver got off to a great first half behind 9 points and three rebounds from Tevin Smith who led Denver to a 32-18 lead in the first 20 minutes. DU shot 48% from the field and held the Mavs to a miserly 21% shooting- a similar start to the Western Illinois game the prior weekend. Denver also benefitted by collecting 15 defensive rebounds in the half.
Tommy Bruner was a steady hand for Denver over the final 20 minutes, finishing with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals on the night. A desperate Mavs team started to press and did get DU unsettled but Bruner and Tevin Smith took control. Five minutes into the half, a Touko Tainamo layup put Denver up by 11 points, 40-29. The Mavs made another run over the next five minutes but a layup by Lukas Kisunas made it 52-41 with 9:47 remaining. Denver kept up their hot shooting pace and ferocious rebounding and a Tommy Bruner bucket with five minutes remaining all but sealed the game, 61-46. It was the Tevin Smith and Tommy Bruner show down the stretch, running the clock, shooting free throws and hitting shots to close out the game, 72-61.
What's better, the pass or the acrobatic finish???@Tevobuckets and @LKisunas #GoPios pic.twitter.com/nZfU4I1p05
— Denver Men's Basketball (@DU_MensHoops) February 25, 2023
This was a solid all-around effort and a fine way to conclude the season. Denver shot 51% for the game while the Mavs finished at 29.8%. Denver had 41 rebounds to Omaha’s 28. The only blemish on the stat line was 19 Pioneer turnovers to 13 for the Mavs. Touko Tainamo finished with a double-double, 11 points and 11 rebounds. Tevin Smith led DU with 18 points and 7 rebounds on the afternoon.
The on-court highlight for the season was a crisp 8-1 start. The on-court low lights were 3 and 4 game-losing skids in conference play and, of course, injuries. Despite all the hurdles, the team always seemed to rebound and put together a strong effort.
Next up is the Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls on March 3rd-7th,
3 thoughts on “Denver Men’s Hoops Drops Omaha, Finishes with a Flourish, 72-61”
So glad they could finish with this win today. This has been a tough year for all sorts of reasons. But the resilience of this group is remarkable and is a reflection of the leadership of Coach Wulbrun. I admire them greatly and appreciate their efforts. Let’s get a win in the opening round of the tournament and then see what we can do from there!
Well said. It was great to see Wulbrun, the other coaches, and the players walk off the floor yesterday with smiles on their faces and plenty of high fives from eager fans. Really happy this team got a W in the regular season home finale. As we all know, this team is clearly moving in the right direction, and it’s exciting to see.
As for the game itself, it was a scrappy hard-fought affair. UNO didn’t shoot the ball very well, particularly in the first half. If they had shot the ball a bit better, it would have been a different game. They also forced some DU turnovers but couldn’t convert on several of those. Pios worked hard defensively and got some big baskets down the stretch from Bruner, Smith, and Tainamo.
Any updates on the status of Corbett? He was at the game in street clothes. Seems odd he suddenly disappeared from the lineup.
Agree, To win 15 games this year with the adversity this team hs faced is remarkable – Tremendous resiliency and character showed, losing Porter, Hasson, Corbett, and Muller.
It would be nice to be a spoiler in Sioux Falls, and this team has shown its ability to compete. Go Pios.