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#10 Denison holds off Hiram

Claude Chandonnet  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Claude Chandonnet | Photo by Jace Delgado

HIRAM, Ohio— No. 10 Denison equaled its best start in school history with an 83-77 win over Hiram College at Price Gymnasium.  The Big Red was led by Claude Chandonnet who came off the bench to score a career-high 23 points while going 7-of-9 from 3-point range. 

Denison shot 53 percent in the first half and built an 18-point lead heading into the break.  With nine minutes to play in the game, Jett Speelman's slam put DU on top 63-51.  Two more free throws from Speelman after a miss by Hiram's Dean Sherman pushed the Big Red's lead back out to 14. 

With 40 seconds left in the game, Denison still had a 14-point lead.  That's when the Terriers proceeded to score nine straight points in a span of 33 seconds.  Suddenly it was a five point game with seven seconds to play.  Garrett Collier's free throw gave the Big Red an 81-75 lead, thwarting the frantic Hiram comeback bid.

Five of Chandonnet's seven triples came in the first half as he accounted for all of Denison's 3-point makes in the period.  In the second half, Speelman scored 10 of his 16 points to pace the Big Red.  David Meurer finished with 17 points and six assists in 29 minutes.

Hiram got 24 points from Paul Ortiz while Joe Caspio finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.  The Terriers held a 35-32 advantage on the glass, but 20 turnovers by the home team resulted in 22 points by Denison.

With the win, the Big Red improves to 15-1, matching the season record set by the 1913-14 Denison team that was coached by third-year head coach Walter Livingston.  That team's only loss came against Ohio State, 27-22 in their 12th game of the season.

The victory also keeps Denison undefeated in North Coast Athletic Conference play at 9-0.  The Big Red holds a two-game lead over Ohio Wesleyan and Wooster in the current NCAC standings.

With the loss, Hiram drops to 6-9 and 3-5 in conference play.  Denison returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Kenyon (4-12, 3-6) for a 3 p.m. tip-off against the Lords.

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