Pioneers Lock up No. 3 Seed in Rout of Leathernecks
Rosga scores game-high 27 as Denver wins fourth straight and seventh in the last nine
Feb. 24, 2018
MACOMB, Ill. – The University of Denver men’s basketball team turned in its most complete performance to close out the regular season on Saturday, blowing past Western Illinois 89-52 in Western Hall. Denver climbed back to .500 with the win (14-14, 8-6 Summit League) while Western Illinois fell to 12-15 (3-11 SL) with the loss.
The Pioneers sealed up the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Summit League Tournament next weekend and pushed their winning streak to four with the victory, their seventh in the last nine games.
DU’s No. 3 seed is the highest it has had since joining the league back in 2013 and the eight wins tied for the most by the team in league play.
Joe Rosga led the way with a game-high 27 points, his third time in the last four games with recording at least 20.
Daniel Amigo made history, finishing with 20 points, making him the 36th player in program history to score at least 1,000 in a career.
Jake Pemberton added 14 points to go with five rebounds.
Jake Krafka pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds, 10 in the first half.
Denver set the tone fast, using good defense to run out to a 9-0 advantage. The Pioneers forced Western Illinois into two turnovers and an airball in its first three possessions of the contest. Pemberton started quick as well, scoring five of DU’s nine points during the opening stretch.
A layup from Amigo off a great feed from Krafka gave the Crimson and Gold its first double-digit lead of the evening at 16-6. It was also the fourth point in the contest for the senior big man.
The Leathernecks made a mini 6-0 run to make it a two-possession game a little over halfway through the first period before a 3 from Rosga.
But a dominant final five minutes before the half saw Denver blow the game wide open, resulting in a 26-point lead at the break, 44-18.
Amigo was simply un-guardable during the end run of the half, scoring basket after basket for the Pioneers, resulting in 15 in the period, bringing him within two points of 1,000.
Rosga started strong en route to a game-high 17 points in the first 20 minutes of action.
The second half started great for DU with a 13-6 run in the first 4:26 that resulted in a 33-point lead.
The Pioneers kept the foot on the gas, building their lead to as many as 38 after a low-post bucket from Elvin Rodriguez made it 85-47 at the 3:33 mark.
Not How You Start But How You Finish
The Crimson and Gold have simply taken their game to the next level over the last nine games, posting a 7-2 record and winning four straight to end the year. Denver’s great finish to the regular season now sends it into the Summit League Tournament with some serious momentum and playing its best basketball at the right time of the season.
No. 3 DU now will take on No. 6 Oral Roberts in a quarterfinal game of the Summit League Tournament next Sunday at 7:30 p.m. MT. The game can been seen on MidcoSN and ESPN 3.
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