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#23 Denison gets back on track at DePauw

Matthew Bauer | Photo by Jace Delgado
Matthew Bauer | Photo by Jace Delgado

GREENCASTLE, Ind. -- The 23rd-ranked Big Red men's basketball team got back in the win column on Wednesday night following a 70-62 victory at DePauw. With the win, Denison improves to 18-4 overall and 12-3 in North Coast Athletic Conference play.

The Big Red jumped out to an early 7-0 lead before grabbing a 12-3 advantage in the first five minutes of play. DePauw rallied from the nine-point deficit to cut margin to one at 20-19 with 6:45 remaining in the opening half. In front 27-26, Denison rattled off five-straight points behind an Andrew Castagnetti layup and a Matthew Bauer three to take a six-point lead. However, the Tigers put together an 8-0 run of their own to take their first lead of the period thanks to a Luke Lattner three-pointer just before the buzzer.

DePauw built up a four-point edge early in the half after a pair of Jack VandeMerkt free throws. However, two threes on consecutive possessions erased the deficit and gave the Big Red a 38-36 lead. A Jett Speelman bucket and a free throw by Garrett Collier increased the advantage to 41-36 but another six-point burst capped off by Lattner trey gave the home team a one-point advantage.

Matt Doyle and Castagnetti connected on back-to-back triples to rebuild a two-possession lead, while a three from Devon Pitts extended the advantage to six at 50-44. Now ahead 53-51, three-pointers from Bauer and Speelman made it a three-possession game. Leading 63-58 with just under four minutes to go, Bauer buried his sixth three of the ball game to put the Big Red up 66-58. Speelman went 4-for-4 at the charity stripe over the final minute to lock up the eight-point victory.

Denison shot 40 percent (23-for-57) from the field and connected on double-digit three for the eighth time this season after going 13-for 34 (38.2 percent) from beyond the arc. The Big Red also assisted on 17 of their 23 made buckets, while also outrebounding the Tigers 42-31.

Bauer led all scorers with a career-high 20 points after going 7-for-14 from the field and 6-for-10 from three-point range. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked two shots in 26 minutes. Speelman finished with 18 points and seven boards, while Castagnetti scored 10 points off the bench. Collier finished with five assists.

Latter paced the Tigers with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Cris Burrough also had six boards to go along with nine points off the bench.

This year's senior class picked up their 60th win, becoming the winningest class in program history. Denison returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Meadville, Pa. to take on the Allegheny Gators. Tip-off is slated for 3 p.m.

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