Wittenberg shot 50 percent from the field and got 16 points and nine rebounds from Scott Masin. That would be enough to push the 22nd ranked Tigers past Denison, 64-49, in the quarterfinals of the 2014 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament.
The 2014 season has proved that when the Big Red is shooting it well from the outside they can be a very tough team to beat. In fact, when Denison shoots better than 30 percent from beyond the arc, they are 10-4. Tonight was not one of DU's better nights from downtown. They limped out of the gate with a 22-point first half but were gritty on the defensive end, forcing 10 Wittenberg turnovers, while holding the home team to just 27 points.
Wittenberg would set the tempo in the second half by scoring the first eight points of the period. Now leading by 13, all the Tigers had to do was avoid a big run by Denison down the stretch.
With just under 10 minutes to play, Denison would connect on three consecutive 3-pointers with the first coming from Briggs King and the next two coming via David Meurer. Mix in a John Cheng field goal and Denison had the Tiger lead trimmed to nine with 7:14 to play.
With 4:41 remaining, a layup by Meurer would cut the Wittenberg lead to eight at 55-47. The home team countered with a Leahy bucket and then the offensive well went dry for the Big Red. Over the final 4:30 Denison went 1-for-9 from the field, allowing Wittenberg to go on a 9-2 run to close out the game.
Meurer led Denison with 14 points, all coming in the second half. Alex Longi scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds in 36 minutes. He leaves Denison with 1,090 career points, which is tied for 16th on the Big Red's all-time scoring list. King paced DU with six rebounds, four steals, and nine points in 31 minutes.
The Tigers held a 39-26 advantage on the glass with Masin leading Wittenberg with nine rebounds and 16 points. Leahy led all scorers with 17 points and Alex Fultz chipped in 10 points off the bench.
Denison shot 33 percent as a team, going 19-for-58. They only got to the free throw line six times, connecting on four. Meanwhile, Wittenberg hit 22-of-44 shots from the field, and was 13-for-18 at the charity stripe.
No. 22 Wittenberg (20-6) advances to the NCAC Tournament Semifinals where they will face Ohio Wesleyan in Wooster, Ohio on Friday (Feb. 28). Denison's 2013-14 campaign comes to a close with a record of 12-14.