DENVER, Colo. — Marcus Byrd led a balanced scoring attack with 12 points and Denver made 14 3-pointers in a 75-50 victory against UTSA on Sunday afternoon at Magness Arena.
The Pioneers, who now have won six of their last eight games to improve to 8-8 overall and 3-1 in Western Athletic Conference play, tied UTSA’s opponent season-high for 3-pointers on 46.7-percent shooting from downtown. Denver shot 53.1 percent (26-of-49) from the field overall and posted 24 assists on its 26 field goals.
Chase Hallam added 11 points on the strength of three 3-pointers to go along with five steals and four assists, while Royce O’Neale posted a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds in addition to five dimes. Chris Udofia pitched in 10 and Jalen Love had nine, as eight Pioneers scored at least five points.
UTSA (4-10, 0-4 WAC) made just 16-of-49 (32.7 percent) from the floor, including a season-low two 3-pointers on 13 attempts (15.4 percent). Jeromie Hill led the Roadrunners with 13 points and nine boards, while Larry Wilkins added eight.
The Pioneers made 10 of their first 14 shots from the floor, including five 3-pointers, in storming out to a 29-6 lead through the first 10-and-a-half minutes. UTSA turned the ball over seven times during the stretch, which led to a dozen Denver points.
The Pioneers lead grew to as many as 25 after Hallam drained a trey from the left wing to make it 35-10 with six minutes left in the half.
A late 9-1 UTSA run keyed by a pair of offensive put-backs by Edrico McGregor cut the deficit to 36-19 before O’Neale drained his second and Denver’s seventh 3-pointer of the half with 19 ticks left to provide the 20-point halftime margin.
After the Roadrunners cut the deficit to 17 early in the second half on a Wilkins layup and a Kannon Burrage free throw, Denver answered with an 11-0 run highlighted by threes from Hallam and Love to make it 50-22. Byrd and Brett Olson found their range from long distance to extend the lead to 33 (56-23) with 13:22 to play.
The Pioneers pushed their advantage to 40 when a Nate Engesser trifecta made it 68-28 before UTSA used a late 22-7 run to cut it to 25.
The Roadrunners will open up a three-game home stand against UT Arlington (6-6, 1-2 WAC) on Thursday, Jan. 10. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center and the game will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.