Denison rallies for win over Allegheny

Bret Woolard scored 9 points down the stretch, helping DU past Allegheny.
Bret Woolard scored 9 points down the stretch, helping DU past Allegheny.

What once plagued the Big Red men's basketball team in November and December has now become its greatest strength.  That was evident over the final six minutes in Meadville as the Big Red rallied for a 68-65 victory over Allegheny.

That makes it three-straight wins and five wins out of its last six contests for Denison.

On Saturday, Denison rallied from a 10-point second half deficit and made plays when they had to down the stretch to secure its 11th win of the season.  More importantly, DU improves to 8-6 in conference play and remains in the mix to host a home game in the quarterfinals of the NCAC Tournament.

After chipping away the double-digit deficit, Denison first-year Bret Woolard gave DU its first lead since the first half when he connected on his first 3-point field goal attempt of his career.  Woolard's triple would ignite a spark in the rookie.  Over the next five minutes the rookie would score nine points and by the time his pair of free throws connected with 2:47 to play, DU had a one-point lead.

With just over one minute remaining, Marr Mansfield secured an offensive rebound and banked home the stick-back to put DU up three.

Allegheny would answer on its next possession when Kyle Murphy drilled a 3-pointer, evening the score at 46-46 wth 58 seconds left.

Du responded with one an outstanding possession that resulted in a bounce pass from Alex Longi to a rolling Larry Farmer who found a wide open lane and slammed the ball with two hands.

Trailing by two, Allegheny's Ryan Stanko would miss a 17-footer and Longi would snag the rebound.  The Gators immediately fouled Longi and the sophomore hit the first free throw but missed the second.  There for the biggest of his 15 rebounds was Farmer who was also fouled after gaining possession.

Once again, DU would split the pair, giving the Big Red a four-point lead with 11 seconds remaining, effectively ending Allegheny's chances for a season sweep of the Big Red.

Dimonde Hale led Denison with 13 points while Farmer checked in with nine points and 15 boards despite struggling from the field.  It was a balanced scoring attack for the Big Red, who were without starting point guard Jim Leffew for the second straight game.  Four players ended with nine points.  Aside from Woolard and Farmer, DU got nine points and five rebounds from Mike Garabedian and nine points, four rebounds and six assists from Longi.

The Big Red shot 43 percent from the field and were 15-of-20 from the free throw line.  They dominated Allegheny on the glass, 43-25 and the DU bench outscored the Gator bench 24-5.

Allegheny got the bulk of its scoring from Devone McLeod (21 points) and James Ness (18 points).

Denison will look to continue its hot streak on Wednesday when they host Kenyon College at 8 p.m.