January 19, 2013

Big Red ends skid in Meadville

Sophomores Briggs King and Bret Woolard combined for 35 points in Denison's 65-61 victory over Allegheny on Saturday afternoon from the David V. Wise Center in Meadville, Pa.  With the win, the Big Red ended a seven-game losing streak.

With 96 seconds to go, the Gators' Devone McLeod drove to the bucket and scored to shrink the gap to 61-57.  After a one-and-done by Denison, Chris Milon converted a layup to make it a one-possession contest.

On the ensuing trip down the court, an errant pass by Alex Longi almost spelled doom for DU, but a heads up play by King kept the possession alive.  As the ball neared both the end line and timeline, King made a leaping toss that was corralled by Robby Weingart.

With time winding down, senior Dimonde Hale grabbed a key offensive rebound after a Weingart miss from three-point range.  With less than 30 seconds to go, Allegheny was forced to put Longi on the line.  The junior made the first, but missed the second attempt.  However, another offensive board by Hale resulted in another Gator foul.  On this occasion, Woolard split at the free throw line to extend Denison's lead to 63-59.

Allegheny's Josh Valentic drained a pair at the charity stripe with 8.7 seconds on the clock to make it a two-point game.  However, Hale iced the win after knocking down two free throws with six seconds to play.

The opening 20 minutes saw seven lead changes and two tie-game situations.  The Big Red opened up a seven-point lead less than five minutes into the contest, while the home team held a two-point edge on three different occasions.  At the break, DU clung to a 32-31 lead.

Trailing 42-40, Weingart drained a triple to give Denison a one-point edge.  The long ball sparked a 13-1 run that gave the visiting team a 53-43 advantage.  King also hit a triple during the stretch, but it was a seven-point outburst by Woolard that fueled the run.

The Gators clawed back into the contest thanks to a 10-2 spurt.  However, DU slowly extended its lead back out to 61-55 with 3:13 to play.  The two teams traded empty possessions before McLeod's bucket inside the final two minutes.

Denison shot 49 percent from the field and knocked down 10-of-13 (77 percent) from the charity stripe, all in the second half.  The Big Red outrebounded Allegheny 36-31 and got 25 points from their bench. 

King's 19 points came on a 7-for-8 performance from the field and a 5-for-6 outing from beyond the arc.  Woolard finished with 16 points on 5-of-9 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the foul line.  Hale posted his third double-double in the last five games after logging 13 points and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes.

Valentic's 15 points led the Gators (8-9, 2-6 NCAC) in scoring, while Ryan Stanko added 14 tallies.  McLeod and Milon chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively, while Valentic also grabbed a team-best seven rebounds.

DU (5-12, 3-5 NCAC) returns to action on Wednesday when Oberlin visits Livingston Gymnasium for an 8 p.m. contest.