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Denver overtakes Arkansas State 64-55

Dec 31, 2009 - 11:22 PM DENVER(AP) -- Nate Rohnert scored 15 points, Sabatino Chen and Chase Hallam had 12 each and the Denver Pioneers overcame the absence of head coach Joe Scott to beat Arkansas State 64-55 on Thursday.

Scott was suspended for one game by the Sun Belt Conference for his ejection against Northern Colorado on Monday. Assistant Mike McKee coached the team against the Red Wolves.

Martavius Adams led Arkansas State with 17 points and Brandon Reed had 11.

The Pioneers (10-4, 3-0 Sun Belt) were hot from 3-point range early, hitting three of their first three from long range to take a lead they never relinquished. They led 19-8 before the Red Wolves (6-6, 1-1) used an 8-0 run to close within three with 8:05 left in the first half.

Denver responded with a run of its own. Leading 26-20, the Pioneers scored the last eight points of the first half, the last on an emphatic dunk by Hallam with 23 seconds left before the break.

Hallam scored 10 points in the first half.

Denver's defense was stingy in the first half, holding Arkansas State scoreless in the last 5:15 and to about 40 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes.

The Red Wolves cut the lead to 38-28 with 12:51 left in the game, but the Pioneers again responded. Rob Lewis and Chen had layups to spark an 8-1 run that pushed the lead to 46-30 midway through the second half. With Bryant on the bench, Arkansas State trimmed the lead to nine with 3:59 left but they couldn't get any closer until a 3-pointer with 4.4 seconds cut the lead to 62-55.

Denver is 3-0 in the Sun Belt Conference for the first time in four seasons.