DENVER - Four players reached double figures as the University of Denver men's basketball team defeated the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns 77-52 at Magness Arena on Thursday.
The Pioneers improved to 19-8 overall and 9-5 Sun Belt Conference. The 19 wins mark the most NCAA Division I victories in DU history.
"Obviously we were ready to play," head coach Joe Scott said. "We had a really good week at practice. I thought our guys were really good defensively. Like I've said all year, when we are good defensively, our offense seems to follow suit pretty well."
Sophomore forward Chris Udofia (Irving, Texas) scored a game-high 19 points on 7-of-9 (77.7 percent) shooting. Senior forward Justin Coughlin (Yuma, Colo.) recorded a career-high four blocks to go along with a season-high 14 points, including a career-high four three-point baskets.
Junior guard Chase Hallam (Mesquite, Texas) tallied 13 points, and freshman guard Brett Olson (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points, while adding five rebounds and four assists. Freshman guard Royce O'Neale (Killeen, Texas) had game highs with 13 rebounds and seven assists.
The Ragin' Cajuns (15-13, 9-5 SBC) came into tonight's contest ranked 28th in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (39.4 percent), but the Pioneers shot 59.2 percent (29-for-49) from the field. Denver forced 18 turnovers on its way to recording its 14th double-digit victory of the season.
The Crimson and Gold jumped out to an early 9-0 run following the opening tip, with four different Pioneers finding the net. Denver held Louisiana-Lafayette scoreless until the 16:52 mark and extended its lead to 18 points following a 15-2 run over a 10-minute stretch.
The Pioneers, led by Coughlin's 14 first-half points, took a 39-17 advantage into the intermission.
Denver continued to dominate Louisiana-Lafayette into the second half, as Udofia and Chase Hallam scored 13 and nine second-half points, respectively. The Crimson and Gold extended their lead to 27 points on a pair of free throws by freshman guard Cam Griffin (San Antonio, Texas) with 54.4 seconds left, recording its largest lead of the game.
Denver continues action this Saturday, Feb. 18, when the Pioneers welcome Louisiana-Monroe to Magness Arena. Opening tip is slated for 4 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast live on Pioneer Vision, as well as AM 1510 or FM 93.7. Fans can also follow the action via a live blog available at DenverPioneers.com.
NOTES: Thursday night's contest marked head coach Joe Scott's 150th game at Denver...Brian Stafford moved into a tie with Kyle Lewis (2008-11) and Nate Rohnert (2007-10) for first in career games played with 120, all starts...Chris Udofia's two blocks moved him past Ira Harge (1986-87) into fifth place on Denver's single-season blocked shot list...Denver is now 12-0 in SBC games decided by 11 points or more...With this evening's win, Denver moved into a tie for second place in the SBC West Division with Louisiana-Lafayette.