Jan. 28, 2017
VERMILLION, S.D. - The University of Denver men's basketball battled tough but came up short in an 88-83 loss to South Dakota on Saturday in Summit League action. The loss dropped the Pioneers to 13-9 (5-4 SL) on the season while the Coyotes improved to 15-9 (6-3 SL).
Joe Rosga had a team-high 20 points in the loss while also dishing out four assists. The 20 points marked the seventh time this year the St. Paul, Minn. native has recorded at least 20 in a game.
Christian Mackey provided DU a lift off the bench, scoring a season-high 12 points in 14 minutes of action.
USD was led by a game-high 27 points from Matt Mooney.
The key stat of the game was the Crimson and Gold turning it over 18 times resulting in 21 points for the Coyotes.
South Dakota got out to a three-point lead by the first media timeout largely due to good defense that limited Denver to 37.5 percent shooting in the opening five minutes.
The Pioneers, though, fought back by attacking the paint numerous times over the next couple of minutes. DU took a one-point lead at the 7:49 mark after a layup from Mackey, who was fouled in the process, off a great feed from Rosga.
A late run from USD gave it a four-point advantage going into the break, 42-38.
Mackey's strong play in the opening 20 minutes kept Denver going in a half where foul problems plagued the team. The 10 points tied a season high for the junior big man from New Mexico.
Mooney's hot shooting led the South Dakota charge in the half, scoring 15 in the frame.
A three from Rosga tied things up at 53 in the second half, upping his total to 18 in the contest.
Both teams continued to trade baskets and the lead for the next several minutes, each hitting big shots to not let the other pull away. Neither squad came up with a decisive few minutes to find separation and force the other to change up its attacking style.
The Coyotes pulled away late in this one after several chances came up short for the Pioneers on the offensive end of the floor.
DU, down four, was forced to foul to try to extend the game, but USD made its free throws to lock up the win.
Hand Down, Man Down
Denver once again shot the rock well in the game, finishing at 50.9 percent (27-for-53), but slipped to 7-4 this year when it shoots better than 50 percent in a game.
The Pioneers wrap up the two-game road trip with a contest at Oral Roberts on Tuesday. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. MT.
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