November 30, 2013

Late run propels Big Red past PLU

A 12-2 run over inside the final five minutes of play helped Denison complete a sweep at the Pacific Lutheran Thanksgiving Classic. The Big Red closed out the tournament with a 90-83 win over the host Luters on Saturday in Parkland, Wash.

After falling behind by seven early in the second half, a three-pointer by sophomore Darius White and an old-fashioned three-point play from freshman David Meurer on back-to-back possessions shrunk the deficit to 48-47. A layup by Arvid Isaksen pushed the Luter lead to three, but another triple from White tied the game for the eighth time.

Tied 52-52, PLU rattled off nine-straight to take its largest lead of the ball game with 11:32 to play.  The Big Red rallied with a 15-2 run that spanned 3:44.  The run put DU in front 67-63 with just under eight on the clock.  Meurer scored six during the spurt, while junior Robby Weingart chipped in five points.  Senior Alex Longi also added two points, while sophomore John Cheng capped off the run with two successful free-throw attempts.

Pacific Lutheran quickly answered to tie the contest at 67-67.  However, a deep three from White with 5:02 to play put the Big Red in front for good.  That triple sparked the 12-2 run that secured the Denison victory.  White hit two three during the offensive outburst, while Patrick Keller and Meurer each went 2-for-2 at the charity stripe.  Junior Brad Woolard closed out the run with a layup at 2:14.  The Luters got as close as six on two occasions down the stretch, but an 8-for-10 performance at the foul line over the 47 seconds nailed down the Big Red's second-straight victory.

Denison connected on 26-of-52 (50 percent) from the floor, highlighted by a 15-for-24 (63 percent) performance in the second period.  The Big Red also converted a season-best 61 percent (11-for-18) from three-point range and shot 75 percent (27-for-36) at the free-throw line.  DU also held a 39-31 edge on the glass.  PLU shot 49 percent (33-for-68) from the field and 47 percent (8-for-17) from beyond the arc.

Woolard led all scorers with a career-high 25 points after going 8-for-15 from the field, including a 3-for-3 performance from long range.  The junior also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out two assists in 31 minutes.  Meurer logged a season-best 22 points following a 6-for-9 performance from the floor and an 8-for-11 night at the charity stripe.  The rookie point guard also dished out four assists and grabbed five boards.  White finished the game with a career-high 17 points after going a perfect 5-for-5 from behind the arc and converting both attempts at the foul line. Longi grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds to go along with nine points and four assists.

Bryce Miller and Brandon Lester co-led Pacific Lutheran with 16 points each, while Kai Hoyt added 14 points and a team-best eight rebounds.

Denison improves to 2-3 on the year, while PLU falls to 3-2.  The Big Red opens North Coast Athletic Conference play on Wednesday when they travel to DePauw for a 7:30 p.m. contest.