GRANVILLE, Ohio-- No. 19 Denison overcame a 13-point first half deficit by outscoring DePauw University 47-32 in the second half. That second half surge propelled the Big Red to a 74-61 win over the visiting Tigers. It also keeps them undefeated in North Coast Athletic Conference play at 7-0 and 13-1, overall.
With six minutes to play in the first half, the Denison offense was stagnant, having scored just 11 points over the first 14 minutes of action. Trailing 24-11, Claude Chandonnet's 3-pointer sparked a mini 7-0 run by Denison. After DePauw's Mason Hankins countered with a triple, Denison responded with a 9-0 run which tied the game at 27-27. Despite the slow start on the offensive end, the Big Red's defense was there the entire half and that is why they trailed 29-27 heading into the intermission.
In the second half, DePauw struck first, opening the period on an 11-6 run to take a 40-33 lead. Denison's reserve unit got things going as Chandonnet drilled another trey after an offensive rebound by David Meurer. A blocked shot by Johnny Vernasco on DePauw's Luke Lattner led to a quick bucket by senior post, Bret Woolard. Then it was a twisting jumper by Maxwell Siwik that cut the DePauw lead to 44-41. With 13:19 to play, Woolard tied the game at 44-44 with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc. Siwik's shot started a 9-0 run that was capped off by a dagger from the corner by Andrew Castagnetti. Denison never relinquished the lead from that point and down the stretch, DU leaned heavily on their workhorse in the paint, Jett Speelman. The senior scored nine of his game-high 21 points in the final 2:11. His night was capped off by an emphatic dunk off of a fastbreak pass from Meurer.
Speelman was 6-of-12 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. He also added six rebounds in 28 minutes. Meurer scored 14 off a 6-of-11 shooting performance. He led the team with four assists. Matthew Bauer finished with nine rebounds with six coming on the offensive end. He chipped in six points. Off the bench, Castagnetti finished with seven while Chandonnet added six.
DU shot 49 percent (27-of-55) and was 8-for-21 from 3-point range (.381). The Big Red outrebounded DePauw 41-28 and the bench outscored the Tigers 27-15.
Current NCAC Player of the Week, Luke Lattner, led DePauw with 20 points. Jack VandeMerkt added 11 points and six rebounds.
At 13-1, this marks Denison's best start to a season since the 1913-14 squad completed their season with a 15-1 record. Denison returns on Saturday, Jan. 14 when they travel to Crawfordsville, Indiana for a 3 p.m. tip against Wabash College.