DU's 2nd-half Rally Comes Up Short Against SDSU
Five players in double figures for the Pioneers
Feb. 8, 2018
DENVER – The University of Denver men’s basketball team almost overcame a 20-point, second-half deficit on Thursday, falling 81-77 to Summit-League leader South Dakota State. The Pioneers slipped to 10-14 (4-6 SL) on the year, while the Jackrabbits improved to 21-6 (9-1 SL).
Freshman David Jenkins Jr. led SDSU with a game-high 31 points.
Reigning Summit League Player of the Year Mike Daum only finished with 13 before fouling out. The redshirt junior was kept in check by the Crimson and Gold, going 4-for-16 from the field thanks to good defense from Jake Pemberton and Murkey.
South Dakota State came out swinging, taking an 11-3 lead less than three minutes into the game. Daum got going fast, scoring four of the first 11 points for the Jackrabbits.
SDSU pushed the lead to 12 after an Ian Theisen 3 from the top of the key, his fifth point of the half.
Denver closed it to eight after a jump hook from Amigo, giving the big man four points in the opening 20 minutes.
A late run though from South Dakota State gave it a 14-point advantage at the half.
Shooting was an issue for the Pioneers in the first period, being limited to just 32.3 percent (10-for-31) from the field.
Krafka and Pemberton each finished the half with a team-high nine points.
The second half opened with the Jackrabbits pushing their lead to as many as 20 just four minutes in thanks to an 8-2 run.
DU showed its resiliency, though, battling back, getting to within nine by the 4:26 mark in the half after a pair of made free throws from Amigo.
A late 3 from Rosga made it a two-possession game with 2:28 remaining in regulation.
Denver then had to play the foul game after that, getting to within four on two occasions but no closer as South Dakota State was able to hit its free throws when it mattered most, giving it the victory.
A Tale of Two Halves
The Pioneers came out and fought hard in the second half, outscoring the Jackrabbits 46-36 for the period. DU also dialed up the defense, holding SDSU to just 26.9 percent shooting (7-for-26) and got Daum out of the game by attacking him on the offensive end. There are no moral victories in basketball, but Denver did show that it can be capable of playing against the best team in the Summit League come March.
Denver meets up with North Dakota State on Saturday at 1 p.m. MT in Magness Arena. The game will be played on Altitude TV.
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