Denver downs Roadrunners on Thursday night, 71-57
SAN ANTONIO — Kannon Burrage scored 19 points, but Brett Olson led a balanced Denver attack with 16 and the Pioneers raced to a 71-57 victory on Thursday night in Western Athletic Conference (WAC) action at the Convocation Center.
Olson connected on four of Denver’s 12 3-pointers and Chase Hallam hit three en route to a dozen points to help the Pioneers, who shot 48.9 percent from the floor and 41.4 percent from downtown, improve to 12-8 overall (8-2 WAC). Marcus Byrd added 10 behind a pair of treys, while four more players tallied at least eight.
Burrage led three Roadrunners (5-15, 1-9 WAC) in double figures behind a 5-for-12 night shooting from the field and a 7-of-9 effort at the free-throw line. Larry Wilkins posted 15 points, one shy of his career high, on 6-for-7 aim and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds to go along with three assists and a steal. Michael Hale III pitched in 10 points on the strength of a 4-for-4 night at the charity stripe.
The Pioneers led from wire to wire and by as many as 28 in sweeping the regular season series from the Birds.
Denver drained eight first-half threes, including one by Byrd that bounced straight up off the rim and then through the net at the buzzer, in building a 39-19 halftime advantage.
The Denver lead grew to 59-31 after Olson knocked down his fourth trey of the evening, this one from the top of the circle with 11:49 remaining.
The Roadrunners trimmed the deficit to 20 (62-42) with an 8-0 run midway through the second, capped by a drive to the basket by Hale III.
Denver missed five consecutive field goals during the stretch before Jalen Love connected for visitors’ 12th 3-pointer of the night to make it 67-44 with 4:26 left to play. That ended a six-minute, 22-second field-goal drought.
UTSA cut the deficit to 18 in the final two-and-a-half minutes by closing out the game with an 11-0 run. Burrage capped it with a trey and then converted a rare four-point play with 20 seconds left on the clock to provide the final 14-point margin.
The 57 points matched the most allowed by the WAC’s top scoring defense (54.6 ppg) since Denver’s conference-opening 68-60 loss at Louisiana Tech on Dec. 29.
The Roadrunners will host New Mexico State (14-8, 8-2 WAC) at 6 p.m. on Saturday.