Denver Falls Late in Wild Double-Overtime Thriller
Murkey has career day in loss
Jan. 18, 2018
OMAHA, Neb. – The University of Denver men's basketball team fought hard, but couldn’t overcome a late surge on Thursday night, falling 86-80 to Omaha in double overtime at Baxter Arena. The Pioneers slipped to 7-12 (1-4 Summit League) with the heartbreaking loss, while the Mavericks improved to 7-14 (2-3 SL) on the season.
Jake Pemberton’s 3 with 2.1 seconds left in the first overtime nearly sealed up the victory for DU, but UNO countered with a Daniel Norl banked-in 3 at the buzzer that kept the game going, and sent the crowd into a frenzy inside the arena.
The Crimson and Gold got big performances from several players when it mattered most but none more so than from Ade Murkey. The Minneapolis, Minn. native turned in his best game for Denver, setting new career highs with points (18) and rebounds (nine), just missing out on his first double-double.
Pemberton finished with a team-high 20 points and grabbed five rebounds.
Joe Rosga moved into 24th on the all-time scoring list with his 18-point performance.
Zach Jackson had a game-high 26 points for UNO.
Denver came out strong on the defensive end, holding Omaha to 2-for-7 (28.6 percent) shooting in the first five minutes of play, resulting in a five-point at the first media timeout.
The Pioneers kept the lead going, taking a two-point advantage at the under-eight media timeout after a sweet juke and jumper from Luke Neff, giving him five points in the half.
The Mavericks got their first lead of the night at on a jump hook from Jackson with 6:28 left in the period. The basket was part of an 8-0 run for UNO that pushed its lead to four points.
Both teams traded baskets for the rest of the half, but Murkey turned in the highlight of the first 20 minutes with a monstrous block with six seconds left on the clock, securing DU the lead going into the break at 29-28.
Balanced scoring and low turnovers were key for the Crimson in Gold in the first half, having nine players score in the period. Denver only had six turnovers in the period.
Omaha opened the second half with four quick points to retake the lead, and getting the crowd at Baxter Arena going.
A 6-0 run in less than a minute put the Mavericks up 40-34 after a pair of free throws from Jackson, giving them their biggest lead of the night to that point.
The Pioneers closed to within one point after Daniel Amigo took over for a stretch midway through the half, getting key rebounds, baskets, assists and a big block. The big run by the big man was capped off after grabbing an offensive rebound and finding Rosga for a 3, making it 44-43 in favor of UNO.
Omaha kept it a two-possession going into the final media timeout at the 3:42 mark. The Mavericks held their lead due to some hot shooting in the period.
A big two-hand jam from Murkey started a late-game charge for DU, sparking the bench and player on the floor.
Rosga tied things up at 63 all with 6.9 seconds after converting two free throws.
Denver locked down the Mavericks on the following possession to force the game into overtime.
The Pioneers opened the first overtime with an 8-3 run to take a five-point lead.
Johnson tied it up at 71 all for UNO with 23.8 seconds left, giving DU a chance to seal it.
Pemberton then hit a clutch 3 with 2.1 seconds left to go up 74-71 but Omaha answered with a 3 from Norl to send the contest into double overtime.
In double overtime, the Mavericks got to the foul line and converted taking a four-point lead with 30 seconds left.
Pemberton made it a one-possession game on a layup with 18 seconds left.
DU was forced to foul after that to extend the game but UNO hit its foul shots, locking up the win.
The Crimson and Gold head to Tulsa, Okla. to close out the road trip for a meeting with Oral Roberts. Tip is set for 6 p.m. MT on Saturday.
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