Men's Basketball Edges Out ORU in Thriller
Rosga records second double-double of the year in win
Feb. 18, 2018
DENVER – The University of Denver men’s basketball team held off a late surge from Oral Roberts on the way to a 66-65 victory on Sunday in Magness Arena. The Pioneers’ pushed their winning streak to three and improved to 13-14 (7-6 Summit League) while the Golden Eagles dropped to 10-20 (4-9 SL) on the year.
DU finishes the regular season at home with a record of 10-4, the most wins at home since the 2012-13 season.
The Crimson and Gold have now won six out of the last eight games they have played.
Joe Rosga led the way, notching his second double-double of 2017-18, finishing with a team-high 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Christian Mackey, making his first start of the season, set the tone early, tying a season high with 10 points on a perfect 5-for-5 day shooting the ball.
Mackey brought it in the opening minutes, scoring eight of Denver’s first 12 points in a variety of ways. The senior had the jumper working, going a perfect 4-for-4 from the field in his opening stretch.
The Pioneers kept up their hot-shooting ways, getting lots of open looks against the Oral Roberts zone. DU was rolling to a 52.9 percent (9-for-17) shooting performance in the first 12 minutes en route to a five-point lead.
The Crimson and Gold did go cold near the end of the half, but used some stingy defense to hold off the Golden Eagles from ever taking the lead in the first 20 minutes of action, resulting in a four-point lead at the half.
Defense was the biggest factor in the Pioneers' strong opening half, limiting ORU to just seven made field goals.
Oral Roberts closed to within one six minutes into the second half after a layup and free throw from Emmanuel Nzekwesi made it 43-42. However, Rosga immediately countered with his own three-point play to push the Denver lead back to four.
Two big 3s from Holtzmann once again helped stave off another Golden Eagles’ charge, putting the Pioneers back up by eight at 54-46.
But ORU came fighting back, closing again to within three after a 3 from Jontray Harris, his first made field goal of the afternoon.
Both teams then continued to trade baskets, with DU never getting more than a four-point advantage over the final 6:53.
Jake Krafka turned in the play of the game with 3:03 left on the clock, knocking down a corner 3 to break a 56-56 tie and give the Crimson and Gold a serious boost of energy.
Krakfa then continued to come up big for Denver, getting key rebounds and hitting timely free throws down the stretch, none more so than with 11 seconds left to put the Pioneers up four.
Oral Roberts immediately came down and hit a 3 with three seconds left on the clock and fouled Krafka. The Austin, Texas native then missed his first free throw and intentionally missed the second and forced the Golden Eagles into a timeout with 0.7 left.
ORU had time for one last heave and narrowly missed a half-court attempt, giving Denver the victory on Senior Day.
The Pioneers now head on the road to close out the regular season in Macomb, Ill. DU will take on Western Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 24. Game time is set for 6 p.m. MT.
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