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Bench leads DU to win over Wabash

Matthew Doyle  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Matthew Doyle | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio-- No. 19 Denison completed their most successful regular season in school history on Saturday, with a 76-65 victory over Wabash College at Livingston Gymnasium.

One of the most endearing parts of this magical season has been the parity displayed by the roster on any given day.  Jett Speelman and David Meurer have led the way, but throughout the 21 victories a third star has always popped up.  Today that X-factor was sophomore Matt Doyle.

The Little Giants came out of the gates red-hot, connecting on eight 3-pointers in the first half.  Wabash led by as many as seven midway through the first half, but Denison's second unit led by Doyle, helped the Big Red go into the locker room with a 34-32 lead.

Doyle was 4-of-4 from the field in the first half and led the team with 11 points. 

With the score tied at 39-39 early in the second half, Bob Ghiloni went back to his bench and after a steal by Johnny Vernasco, he found Doyle for his third triple of the game.  Doyle went on to score the next 10 Denison points over a span of just two minutes.  His final basket brought the Livingston Gymnasium crowd to their feet after Vernasco grabbed the rebound and fed a quick outlet to Meurer who split the defense and fired a two-handed bullet pass to Doyle in the corner for the transition trey. 

In a season chock-full of highlights, this one stands out.

After the Doyle 10-0 run, Denison led 49-40 with 14 minutes to go.  Wabash fought back, cutting the deficit to three with 11:20 left but a 7-0 Big Red run pushed the lead back to double figures.  Some key baskets by Meurer and Matthew Bauer down the stretch preserved the win.

Doyle led all scorers with 21 points. He is the seventh different Denison player to score over 20 points in a game this season.  Meurer followed with 19 points, five assists and four rebounds.  Bauer chipped in 10 points and 11 boards while Speelman and Woolard tallied seven points.

Wabash was led by Ben Stachowski's 18 points.  Logan White had nine boards for the Little Giants.

With the victory, Denison moves to 15-3 in the North Coast Athletic Conference.  They are guaranteed a home game in the NCAC Tournament Quarterfinals on Tuesday, Feb. 21.  That game, against an opponent yet to be determined, will tip-off at 7:30 p.m.  The winner advances to the NCAC Tournament Semifinals which will be played on the home court of the highest remaining seed after the quarterfinal round.  Check back to DenisonBigRed.com for updates on next week's opponent as well as seeding information.

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