Dominant First Half Key in Denver Win
Pioneers withstand late Leatherneck rally
Feb. 14, 2017
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.
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