Big Red edges rival Kenyon

Dimonde Hale scored 18 points in the win over Kenyon.
Dimonde Hale scored 18 points in the win over Kenyon.

Denison knocked down 11-of-16 from the foul line over the final 3:51 to secure a 74-70 North Coast Athletic Conference victory over Kenyon on Tuesday evening in Granville, Ohio.

The Big Red jumped out to a commanding 35-9 lead 12 and a half minutes into the opening period behind a 7-for-10 performance (70 percent) from three-point range.  Senior Jon Akpapunam accounted for three of the triples, while rookie Darius White and sophomore Robby Weingart each knocked down two trifectas.

In the second half, Denison led 60-43 with less than nine minutes left in regulation.  The Lords caught fire over the next four minutes to shrink the deficit to six. During the run Kenyon knocked down six of seven attempts from the field, while forcing the Big Red into four turnovers and a 1-for-4 performance from the floor.

Now trailing 69-62, the Lords' Julian Pavlin drained a triple with 31 seconds to play.  After DU split a pair at the charity stripe, Pavlin knocked down his second three of the half to shrink the margin to 70-68 with 23 ticks on the clock.  With 19 seconds remaining, White drained a pair of free throws to reestablish a four-point edge.

Not looking to get burnt by the three-ball for the third-consecutive time, White was all over Pavlin as he came off a pick.  The smothering defensive effort eventually led to a Kenyon giveaway.  White split two free throws to put Denison ahead 73-68.  Ikenna Nwadibia knocked down a jumper in the paint to make it a one-possession game, but a free throw by junior Alex Longi with 0.6 seconds to go secured the win.

Denison had four players score in double figures including senior Dimonde Hale who led the Big Red with 18 points on 6-of-10 from the field and 6-of-8 from the charity stripe.  White chipped in 15 points thanks in large part to four three-pointers, while Akpapunam added 13 tallies.  Longi recorded a double-double after scoring 11 points and grabbing a team-best 10 rebounds.

Nwadibia paced the Lords with a game-high 22 points to go along with 13 rebounds.  Brian Lebowitz added 18 points and 14 boards, while Pavlin chipped in 11 tallies and six steals.

Denison improves to 4-5 overall and 2-2 in the NCAC, while Kenyon drops to 5-4 and 1-2 in league play.  The Big Red returns to action on Dec. 29 at the Catholic University Tournament.  DU opens the tournament against the host Cardinals at 4 p.m.