Bland hit a 3-pointer in the final second of the first half to give the Highlanders (8-5) the lead for good at 29-26. Riverside opened the second with the next 12 points to extend to 41-26 on Johns' basket at 14:15.
UC Riverside held Denver (8-5) off until the Pioneers cut back within single digits on Jake Pemberton's 3-pointer which made it 57-49 with 1:37 left. Denver got no closer from there.
Joe Rosga had 11 points and Nate Engesser scored 10 for Denver, which led once at 18-16 in the first half.
UC Riverside had 17 turnovers to Denver's 16. The Highlanders outrebounded the Pioneers 30-19.