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Denver Drops Heartbreaker to Fort Wayne

Jan. 7, 2017

BOX SCORE

FORT WAYNE, IND.
 – The University of Denver men’s basketball team gave itself a chance late, but came up just short, falling 87-83 to preseason No. 1 Fort Wayne in a wildly entertaining Summit League contest on Saturday night. The Pioneers slipped to 9-7 (1-2 Summit League) on the year while the Mastodons improved to 13-4 (2-1 SL).

Joe Rosga led the charge, finishing with a game-high 27 points in the loss, his fifth game this season scoring at least 20.

Despite battling foul trouble most of the contest, Daniel Amigo again continued his breakout year, scoring 18 points in 19 minutes.

Jake Pemberton was wheeling and dealing, dishing out a career-high 13 assists, the most by a DU player in over a decade.

Denver got the start it was looking for, jumping out to a 10-0 lead before Fort Wayne’s Bryson Scott made a pair of free throws three minutes in. The hot start was the result of the Pioneers getting big stops on the defensive end and converting on offense, highlighted by four points from Thomas Neff.

But a 12-2 run from the Mastodons led to a tie ball-game at 12 all less than two minutes later.

A pair of free throws from Amigo at the 9:50 mark gave the Texas native 10 in the half and put DU up by six.

Once again, Fort Wayne fought back, using an 8-0 run to take its first lead of the evening on a made triple from Mo Evans, upping his total to eight in the half.


 

 

Christian Mackey got Denver back up by one after knocking down his first 3-pointer of the season, beating the shot clock on an inbounds play at the 6:38 mark.

The Pioneers shook off a cold spell to close the first half in a flurry, cutting the Mastodon lead to four going into the break.

Both of DU’s top-two scorers – Rosga and Amigo – came to play in the opening 20 minutes, each finishing the period with 10 points.

The two teams combined for 82 points in the fast-paced half, the third highest total for Denver in the first half this season.

Both teams came out swinging to start the second half, with each scoring on several possessions. For the Pioneers, it was Amigo with six points in less than three minutes.

The Pioneers tied things up at 58 all after a strong finish at the rim from Jake Krafka almost halfway through the period. It was the freshman’s eighth point of the game.

A big 3 from C.J. Bobbitt with nearly eight minutes left brought it back to a one-possession game and gave the sophomore his second made shot of the contest.

DU’s perseverance paid off, getting its first lead since 30-28 on a 3 from the corner by Neff, making it 75-73. After Fort Wayne took a two-possession lead, a pair of free throws from Neff brought Denver within two with 30.1 left.

The Pioneers had their chance to tie it late, with Amigo just barely missing a put-back attempt with 1.3 left on the clock. Fort Wayne made both of its free throws to put it out of reach after that, securing the win. 

Always a Silver Lining
Head coach Rodney Billups and his staff had their team primed and ready to go for the game. DU responded by coming out and competing in a hostile and packed Gates Sports Center. The players never let the moment get too big for them and fought all the way to the end, showing signs of a team that has continued to improve as the season has gone on. 

Up Next
Denver returns for a two home games in Magness Arena next week. First up, a meeting with Western Illinois on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Altitude TV.

 

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