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Dominant First Half Key in Denver Win

Feb. 14, 2017

BOX SCORE

MACOMB, Ill.  
–The University of Denver men’s basketball team bounced back from one of its worst games of the year to take down Western Illinois 78-72 on Saturday at Western Hall. The win improved the Pioneers to 16-10 (8-5 Summit League) on the season while the Leathernecks slipped to 8-16 (5-8 SL).

The 16 wins match last year’s overall total.

Daniel Amigo picked up his eighth double-double in the victory, scoring a game-high 26 points and pulling down 14 rebounds.

Ade Murkey came off the bench to drop in a season-high 12 points, all coming in the first half.

A solid start from Amigo kept Denver close in the opening minutes. The El Paso, Texas native scored eight of the Pioneers’ first 13 points on an array of moves, a sign of things to come.

DU found separation coming out of the media timeout thanks to a 13-2 run that was capped off by a 3 from Jake Pemberton, his second triple of the evening.

Hot shooting by Denver continued, allowing for it to keep its double-digit lead going late in the first half. Amigo again led the charge, doing everything on both ends, scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds before a second foul forced him to the bench with six minutes to go until the half.

The Pioneers ran away with it after that, closing the opening period with a flurry of buckets from Murkey, who surpassed his season high by halftime with 12, giving DU a 49-27 advantage at the break.

Shooting played a key role in the first 20 minutes, with Denver connecting at a blistering 62.5 percent from the field while limiting Western Illinois to just 38.5 percent.


 

 

Amigo nearly picked up a double-double by the half, scoring 13 points and pulling down eight rebounds.

In the second half, the Pioneers came out sluggish and allowed for the Leathernecks to make a move, getting back to within 15 after C.J. Duff converted a free throw to make it 56-41, forcing Coach Billups to take a timeout.

A 3-pointer from the left wing by Garret Covington cut the DU lead to eight at the 13:49 mark.

A big basket by Amigo snapped a 20-0 WIU run and gave Denver a three-point lead and some momentum midway through the half.

Western Illinois, though, wouldn’t go away, keeping it close by clutch baskets from Mike Miklusak and Covington.

Miklusak missed a chance to tie things up late for the Leathernecks, missing the front end of a 1-and-1 with 28 seconds left down one. The Pioneers secured the rebounded, forcing WIU to foul to extend the game.

Amigo put this one to rest by making a free throw to make it a two-possession game, and securing the road win. 

Up Next
DU heads home for a two-game homestand in Summit League play. Denver will open up the homestand with a meeting against IUPUI on Sunday. Tip is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. MT in game two of a doubleheader with the women’s team.  

 

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