GRANVILLE, Ohio— Omar Elliott-Diab scored the go-ahead bucket with 11 seconds remaining and Denison made an impressive defensive stand in the closing seconds to escape Livingston Gymnasium with a 70-69 win over Otterbein University.
The Big Red led for only 1:41 in the second half but they had the advantage on the scoreboard when it counted the most. DU trailed by five with 4:51 to play after Otterbein's Justin Carter canned a 3-pointer off a pass from Kobe Long-Weber.
Denison responded with back-to-back 3-pointers by Jack Coulter which put the Big Red in front, 66-65 with 3:16 remaining. Otterbein went back to Carter who scored in traffic to re-take the lead at 67-66.
With just under three minutes to play, Coulter was fouled by Long-Weber and connected on both free throws to go up one. Otterbein nabbed two offensive rebounds on its next possession as Reid Black was fouled by Coulter on his shot attempt. Black canned both free throws to give his team a one-point lead.
The Big Red came up dry on its next possession and after a miss by Carter at the other end, Coulter was called for an offensive foul that was not only a turnover but his fifth of the game. With one minute left, Otterbein had the ball and Denison's best shooting threat in Coulter was out of the game. The defense clamped down got a miss on a shot by Carter in the paint. Fenton secured the rebound and the ball went to Elliott-Diab in the paint. He missed on his first attempt but stayed with it and scored on his own offensive rebound with 11 seconds left.
Otterbein chose to not call a timeout and quickly got into its offense, but Denison was ready, turning away two potential looks before Carter was forced to take a difficult 3-pointer as time expired. His shot was just off the mark and Denison left with the one-point win.
Conor Fenton finished with a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds on 7-of-11 shooting. He also had two steals and one blocked shot in 31 minutes. Coulter scored 15 points and was 5-of-11 from the field. Matt Gerics added 10 points in 20 minutes off the bench and Elliott-Diab gave DU some big minutes down low, finishing with eight points and four rebounds in 17 minutes.
Dallas Patrick led Otterbein with 15 points. Black tallied 13 and Zach Sawyer added 12. Carter finished with nine points, six assists, and six rebounds.
There were 16 lead changes and eight tie-game situations. DU held a slight edge on the glass, 30-29 and shot 47 percent from the field. Otterbein shot 48 percent but was just 32 percent from 3-point range. Denison canned 11-of-21 from beyond the arc.
Denison improves to 2-2 while Otterbein falls to 2-2 on the year. The Big Red is back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Cleveland for a 7 p.m. tip-off against Case Western Reserve.