Florida International 53, Denver 49, final. The Pioneers’ season is over, ending with a profound whimper. DU finishes a deeply disappointing 13-17 overall, 9-8 in a weak Sun Belt, a first-round exit from the SBC tourney, and no postseason appearance.
Those great expectations? Completely unmet. Yes, there were major injury problems with this team this year, and they have the potential to be a lot better next season, if they can stay healthy. But make no mistake, the Pioneers underachieved, and tonight put an exclamation point on that.
The game wasn’t nearly as close as the final score. DU trailed 22-12 at halftime — yes, you read that correctly — and was 15 points behind with 5:21 left. The Pioneers only got within low single digits in the closing seconds, when it was too little, too late.
The offensive efficiency numbers aren’t out yet, but this had to be Denver’s worst performance of the season, or close to it. They shot just 34% from the field and 24% from three, including an 0-for-13 start; again, by the time they started hitting #superhoops, it was far too late. Keep in mind, this is the nation’s 5th-best three-point shooting and 63rd-best overall shooting team. But tonight they couldn’t hit a shot to save their lives. As Coach Joe Scott put it with understandable redundancy: “We didn’t shoot the ball well, and we didn’t put the ball in the basket. I thought the game was there tonight for us to be successful but we were off. You can’t win if the ball doesn’t go in the basket. We just didn’t shoot the ball well.” Indeed. Only Florida International’s own offensive incompetence kept the game from being an Arkansas State-like wipeout.
Anyway, more later, perhaps. For now, I have plane, hotel and car rental reservations to cancel — there will be no crazy trip to Arkansas for me — and then I gotta get to bed.
P.S. Here’s Joe Scott after the game: