ADA, Ohio- An 18-0 run in the opening minutes of the second half was enough to power Denison to an 85-73 road victory over Ohio Northern on Saturday. With the win, Denison moves to 2-0 while the Polar Bears drop to 0-2.
After trailing for much of the first half, Denison got a burst of energy off the bench from senior Bret Woolard. The 6-4 post gave Ohio Northern fits inside, drawing fouls on three consecutive offensive possessions. He connected on all six free throw attempts, trimming the Polar Bears' lead to 29-25 with 2:24 left in the opening half.
A steal by Andrew Castagnetti on ONU's next possession was finished off by Woolard at the other end to make it a two-point game. Another ONU turnover resulted in a bucket by Matthew Bauer in the paint and the game was tied at 29-29. DU evened things again with three seconds to play in the first half when Garrett Collier drained a jumper off a pass from David Meurer.
The two teams went into the locker room deadlocked at 31-31.
One minute into the second half, Ohio Northern's Ryan Bruns connected on a layup. That signaled the start of a six-minute drought for the home team. During that span, Denison was 8-for-13 with 3-pointers by Castagnetti and Claude Chandonnet sprinkled in.
ONU's Nate Burger stopped the bleeding with a jumper with 13:49 to play, cutting into Denison's burgeoning 49-35 lead. DU responded with two quick baskets by Woolard and a 3-pointer by Bauer that put the Big Red on top 56-35 with 11:56 remaining.
The Polar Bears began to warm up over the final 12 minutes of the second half, outscoring Denison 39-29 over that stretch. When the dust settled, Denison pulled out of Ada with the 12-point victory.
Woolard led all scorers with 25 points in just 17 minutes off the bench. He was 7-for-13 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. He also grabbed five rebounds. His 25 points were three shy of his career-high set against Wittenberg on Jan. 31, 2015.
Jett Speelman finished with 15 points and three rebounds in 20 minutes. Collier set a new career-high with 15 points. He was also 9-for-10 from the charity stripe while leading the team with seven rebounds and four assists. Meurer rounded out the scoring leaders with nine points.
Denison shot 40 percent from the field and was 87 percent (33-for-38) from the free throw line.
Ohio Northern was led by Burger's 19 points in 28 minutes off the bench. Bruns scored 16 and led the team with nine rebounds.
The Big Red is back in action on Tuesday, Nov. 22 when they host Case Western Reserve at 7 p.m. inside Livingston Gymnasium.