St. Mary's Vs. Denver Pioneers: Pioneers Look To Avenge Last Year's Defeat

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 06: Head coach Randy Bennett of the Saint Mary's Gaels gestures during a semifinal game of the Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball tournament against the Santa Clara Broncos at the Orleans Arena March 6, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Saint Mary's won 73-64. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Pioneers aim for a signature win as their season kicks into gear.

Wednesday night's game vs. the Saint Mary's Gaels (2-0) is the first of three consecutive games that will be Denver's biggest tests in non-conference play this season. Despite barely missing the NCAA Tournament last season, the Gaels are expected to once gain challenge Gonzana for the West Coast Conference championship, and a victory for the Pioneers would signal to the rest of the Sun Belt that Denver is ready to compete for the conference championship.

First and foremost, the Pioneers will have to deal with St. Mary's power in the paint, where they are led by senior forward Rob Jones, who is averaging 17.5 points and 11 rebounds in the Gaels' two games this season. In the backcourt, the Gaels' standout is junior guard Matthew Dellavedova, who has had a good start to the season all around, averaging 10 points, four rebounds and six assists per game.

As for the Pioneers, they'll need a big game from senior leader Brian Stafford who has put up 20 points per game on 50% shooting in Denver's three games so far this season.

Game date, time: 5 p.m. MT, Wednesday, Nov. 23

Location: Magness Arena, Denver, Colo.

TV channel: ROOT Sports

Spread: St. Mary's favored by 7

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