DENVER – Cam Griffin (San Antonio, Texas) recorded his second double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds as he led the University of Denver men’s basketball team to a 68-54 victory over the Western Illinois Leathernecks Wednesday night at Magness Arena.
The Pioneers (8-10, 2-3 Summit League) snapped their three-game losing streak in defeating the Leathernecks (7-8, 2-3 Summit League).
Jalen Love (Wichita, Kan.) scored 13 points, grabbed three rebounds and dished out two assists as he was one of nine different Pioneers that recorded points. Nate Engesser (Colorado Springs, Colo.) scored nine points, added a career-high six assists and a career-high three steals.
“We made a little adjustment this week after watching film and how we were running our offense,” head coach Joe Scott said. “The little adjustment paid off tonight, we made nice passes, guys cut hard and we finished at the rim.”
Denver outscored Western Illinois 46-8 in points in the paint and out-rebounded the Leathernecks 33-20. With the DU leading 43-40 with 11:10 remaining in the second half the Pioneers went an 11-2 run to open up a 54-42 lead. The Crimson and Gold never allowed Western Illinois to get closer than eight points after the run.
Denver outscored Western Illinois 37-23 in the second half.
Brett Olson (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds while Daniel Amigo (El Paso, Texas) in his third game back from injury scored seven points and added three blocks. Marcus Byrd (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) scored five points and four rebounds.
Denver finished the game shooting 56.5 percent (26-of-46), while Western Illinois shot 34.9 percent (15-of-43). The Pioneers shot 23.3 percent from behind the 3-point line (3-of-13). The Leathernecks shot 38.9 percent (7-of-18) from 3-point range.
A back-and-forth opening half featured notable runs by both teams. Western Illinois jumped out to an early 9-3 lead that was answered by a Denver 8-0 run to give the Pioneers their first lead of the game, 11-9. With the Crimson and Gold up 29-22 the Leathernecks closed the half on a 9-2 run.
The score was deadlocked at 31 apiece at halftime.
Denver was led by Griffin who had seven points in the first half. Christian Mackey (Kirtland, N.M) had four points and three rebounds off the bench. Western Illinois was led by Garret Covington who scored 13 points.
Denver shot 60.0 percent (12-of-20) from the floor while Western Illinois hit for 39.1 percent (9-of-23) in the first half. The Pioneers hit for 42.9 percent (3-of-7) from behind the arc in the first half. The Leathernecks shot 44.4 percent (4-of-9) from behind the 3-point line.
Western Illinois was led by Covington who scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds.
Notes: Griffin moved into sole possession of ninth place on the Denver all-time steals list breaking a tie with graduate manager Nate Rohnert. Griffin now has 126 career steals.
Denver will return to the court to take on Oral Roberts on Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. MT. The game can be seen on ROOT Sports and heard on Mile High Sports Radio AM 1550 FM 94.1|96.9 in Boulder.
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Recap courtesy and reprinted with permission of University of Denver athletics.