The Big Red came close, but couldn't overcome another slow start. The result was a 69-66 loss to Delaware Valley in the consolation game of the Catholic University Holiday Inn-College Park Classic from Washington, D.C.
After shooting just 32 percent (9-of-28) in the first half, DU found themselves trailing Delaware Valley, 33-24. In the second half, Denison kept the game close while improving their shooting percentage and overall play. A big part of that comeback was the play of junior guard Alex Longi who would score 20 of his career-high 26 points in the second half.
Trailing by seven with just under two minutes to play, a Jon Akpapunam bucket cut the Delaware Valley lead to 65-60. The Aggies would take a 3-pointer early in the shot clock at the other end and come up dry, resulting in a Dimonde Hale rebound that would be turned into a Longi lay-up for the Big Red, putting Denison down three with 1:24 to play.
Zach Sly of the Aggies would respond with a field goal on their ensuing possession and after a DU miss, Jeremy Beckett split a pair of free throws to give his team a 5-point lead with 21 ticks remaining.
With 14 second left, Longi connected from beyond the arc and a quick foul by Darius White would send Daulton Derr to the charity stripe with 11 seconds on the clock and a 68-66 lead. Derr would split the pair, giving the Big Red one last chance to send the game into overtime, but a 3-point attempt by White at the buzzer would be off the mark.
Longi led all scorers with 26 points off 10-of-16 shooting and was named to the all-tournament team. Hale followed with nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds while White also chipped in nine points in his 29 minutes.
Delaware Valley (6-5) got 19 points from Jay Donovan and 12 points from Derr.
Denison's record drops to 4-7 on the season. They will return to action on Thursday (Jan. 3) when they host Capital at 7 p.m.