GRANVILLE, Ohio -- Ninth-ranked Denison shot a season-best 57.9 percent from the field and a blistering 94 percent from the charity stripe on Wednesday night. Those season-high performances helped power the Big Red to an 89-73 victory over Oberlin.
Both teams converted over 54 percent from the field in the opening period, but seven first-half turnovers generated by the DU defense provided seven more opportunities on the offensive side of the ball. Those extra possessions allowed Denison to take a 41-30 lead into the intermission.
The Big Red and Yeomen traded scores over the first 10 minutes of the second period which kept it a 13-point game at 60-47. Following a triple from Joshua Friedkin with 10:07 to play, senior David Meurer found classmate Devon Pitts who knocked down a short-range jumper in the paint. On DU's next trip down the floor, Jett Speelman scored at the rim and drew a foul from Zach Moo Young. Speelman finished off the old-fashioned three-point play to extend the Denison lead to 65-47. Speelman spread the wealth on the next possession when he found Meurer for a wide-open three-pointer that gave the Big Red a 21-point lead.
Following an Eric Holt three-point play, the Yeomen tried to produce a takeaway using the full-court press. Denison was able to break the press and after corralling a pass from Matt Doyle, senior Bret Woolard quickly fed a cutting Johnny Vernasco who flushed a one-handed jam that brought the DU student section to its feet. Just over a minute later, Woolard found Andrew Castagnetti in the corner for three that pushed the Denison lead back to 75-55 with 5:38 to play. Oberlin shrunk the margin to 12 with 1:35 to play, but a 4-for-4 performance at the foul line by Pitts over the 1:11 set the final score.
Denison was 33-for-57 from the field which included a 16-for-26 (61.5 percent) performance in the second half. The Yeomen were just as impressive from the field converting 54.5 percent (30-for-55). The Big Red held a 33-19 advantage on the glass, while also outscoring Oberlin in the paint 52-36. The DU reserves also outpointed the Yeomen bench 28-15.
Speelman led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-13 from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 at the foul line. He also added six rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes of action. Pitts followed with 14 points and four boards, while Meurer and Vernasco each had nine. Garrett Collier dished out a game-high six assists and grabbed five caroms, while Woolard had out five helpers.
Holt led a quartet of Oberlin players in double figures with 18. Eli Silverman-Lloyd followed with 16 points to go along with three assists. Jack Poyle and Friedkin added 13 and 11 tallies, respectively.
Following their ninth-straight victory, DU moves to 17-1 overall and 11-0 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. The Yeomen fall to 1-16 and 0-10 in the league. Denison returns to action this Saturday when they welcome the Wittenberg Tigers to Livingston Gymnasium for a 3 p.m. contest.