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Denver vs. Iona: Pioneers open season at Hynes Athletic Center

The Denver Pioneers will face the Iona Gaels in their first game of the season.

Andrew Fielding-US PRESSWIRE

Big things are expected of the Denver Pioneers this basketball season, and they'll start out the 2012-2013 campaign against the Iona Gaels at the Hynes Athletic Center.

Last season, the Pioneers won 22 games, the most by any DU team historically in Division I. They've returned most of that team for this season, including SBC Defensive Player of the Year Chris Udofia. Udofia won several accolades for his solid defensive play for the Pioneers last season and should be a key player in their 2012-2013 season.

If the Pioneers - starting their first season in the WAC - want to repeat their strong performance, they will need to keep the same road mettle that they had when they want 7-6 away from home last year. That road record was the first winning record away from Magness Arena since 1971.

Iona had a solid 2011-2012 campaign, earning a No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament after a strong 25-8 season. The Pioneers fell last year to the Gaels in a 80-78 overtime affair on a last-second buzzer beater at Magness Arena.

The game will be at the Hynes Athletic Center at 7 p.m. MT and can be seen on ESPN3.