DENVER - University of Denver men's basketball sophomore forward Royce O'Neale (Killeen, Texas) led the team with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and junior forward Chris Udofia (Irving, Texas) added 11 points and a career-high eight assists, leading the Pioneers to an 82-47 victory over Nebraska-Omaha at Magness Arena on Saturday afternoon.
"Having 9 days off between games helped us improve as a team," head coach Joe Scott said. "We are executing offensively and the defense, which has been steady all year, is taking a step forward. We caused a lot of turnovers tonight which got us some easy baskets. As the game went along, everyone played well. But most importantly, we executed well, and that leads to open shots."
After Nebraska-Omaha (2-10) took an early 10-7 lead 3:29 into the game, Denver (3-5) exploded with a 25-0 run over the following 10:31 and finished the half on 38-5 run, hitting nine first half three-pointers and forcing 13 turnovers.
The Crimson and Gold used balanced scoring with six players in double figures. Senior guard Chase Hallam (Mesquite, Texas) finished with 12 points for Denver, knocking down 4-of-6 three-point field goals, and freshman guard Nate Engesser (Colorado Springs, Colo.) came off the bench with 11 points on a percent 4-of-4 from the field, including three from beyond the arc. Sophomore guards Brett Olson (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Cam Griffin (San Antonio, Texas) added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Denver shot a season-high 60.4 percent (32-of-53) from the field, including 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from three-point range, while holding Nebraska-Omaha to 36.7 percent (18-of-49) from the field in the game.
Omaha's Alex Welhouse led the Mavericks (2-10) 12 points and 6 rebounds.
Denver has won back-to-back games for the first time this season and looks to carry that winning streak on the road against an undefeated Wyoming team on Tuesday, December 18 at 7 p.m. MT.
Notes: The last time DU had six players in double figures was Feb. 4, 2007, when former Pioneer and current Nebraska-Omaha director of basketball operations Tyler Bullock was the leading scorer with 15 points...junior forward Chris Udofia had three blocks in the game, moving past Ira Harge (1986-87) and tying Dwayne Russell (1980-82) on DU's all-time career blocked shots list with 130...sophomore forward Royce O'Neale recorded his first double-double of the season - the fourth in his career - with 17 points and 10 rebounds...Denver went just 4-for-8 (50.0 percent) from the free throw line, making the Pioneers 3-0 this season when shooting less than 70 percent from the charity stripe...DU shot 60.4 percent from the field in the game, marking its best shooting performance since making 62.9 percent (22-of-35) at Colorado State on Jan. 11, 2012...freshman guard Bryant Rucker (Frisco, Texas) scored the first five points of his career against the Mavericks...senior guard Chase Hallam's four three-pointers tied a career high, a feat he has done four times but not since Feb. 3, 2011 at Arkansas-Little Rock. Hallam needs just 13 points to become DU's 32nd player to reach the 1,000-point plateau...Denver's 14 three-pointers were the most since the team went 16-for-34 against Louisiana-Monroe on Feb. 18, 2012, and DU's 58.3 percentage from three-point range was the best since hitting 58.8 percent (10-for-17) against Western Kentucky on Jan. 15, 2012...the Pioneers will join Nebraska-Omaha in the Summit League next season.
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