Ohio Wesleyan utilized a 10-0 run inside the final three minutes of regulation and that would be enough to stun the Big Red, 67-64, on Senior Day in Granville.
This was a hard-fought game from the opening tip and Denison flexed its muscle from the outside and on the defensive end all afternoon. The Big Red shot 40 percent from 3-point territory (10-of-25) while holding the Bishops to just 2-of-16 from beyond the arc.
Down the stretch, OWU's Drew White would score three-straight baskets, after three consecutive turnovers by the Big Red. His final bucket cut the Denison lead to 56-55 with 3:52 to play. On their next trip down the court, Briggs King buried a triple from the elbow that put Denison back up for. Ohio Wesleyan's man in the middle, Reuel Rogers gave DU fits all afternoon with his shot blocking and shot altering capabilities. This time down the floor his offense quelled the Big Red's momentum after the King 3-pointer. Rogers' turnaround jumper in the lane put Battling Bishops back to within two points with 3:12 to play and would spark the 10-0 run that turned the tables on the host Big Red.
After a pair of Taylor Rieger free throws with 44 second left, Darius White gave the Big Red some hope with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Denison would immediately foul and Rieger would miss both charity tosses. Denison's King would pull the trigger on a potential game-tying 3-pointer from the corner with 22 seconds left but that shot was long and the rebound was corralled by Marshall Morris.
Denison fouled quickly and sent Morris to the line where he proceeded to miss a pair, giving DU another chance to tie. With 16 seconds left Denison called a timeout but the Bishops were ready and while the Big Red were swinging the ball looking for an open man, OWU's White fouled Robby Weingart with eight ticks left. The foul virtually eliminated the Big Red's chances of tying the game since they were in the bonus and Weingart was forced to go to the free throw line, down three. Weingart missed the first free throw and the battle for the rebound was won by Morris and OWU. This time the Bishops sank the pair to close out the game.
Ohio Wesleyan's Andy Winters led the way with 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes. Rogers came close to a triple-double with 11 points, nine rebounds and eight blocked shots.
Denison was led by Dimonde Hale's 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Weingart came off the bench to score 14 points while going 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. White chipped in nine in his 32 minutes.
OWU shot 40 percent from the field while Denison shot 42 percent. The Battling Bishops controlled the glass, 42-35.
Ohio Wesleyan will be the No. 2 seed in next week's North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament. At 7-9 Denison is locked in a tie with Wabash for sixth-place. Tie-breakers determined that the Big Red will be the No. 7 seed and will travel to Ohio Wesleyan for a rematch on Tuesday (Feb. 19) at a time to be determined
NOTABLE: Prior to the game Denison University honored its senior members, Dimonde Hale and Jon Akpapunam. The duo has played in nearly every game the Big Red has played over the last four years. Akpapunam has scored 451 career points while Hale surpassed 1,700 career points this afternoon. Hale needs 26 points to surpass Brian Malinowski for third-place on Denison's all-time scorers list.