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Denison rallies for 93-90 win over Kenyon

Max Siwik  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Max Siwik | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio--  Maxwell Siwik scored a career-high 35 points as Denison rallied from a 10-point second half deficit to defeat Kenyon College, 93-90 on Saturday at Livingston Gymnasium.

If the December 3 triple-overtime affair between Kenyon and Denison was any indicator, today's clash between the two rivals was destined to be an instant classic. 

It did not disappoint.

The two squads combined for 25 3-pointers and shot a collective 50 percent from the field.  There were seven lead changes and 12 tie game situations.

With 10:21 to play, Kenyon's Ugnius Zilinskas gave the Lords its largest lead at 62-52.  The Big Red responded with a 7-0 run over the next minute of play when baskets by Johnny Vernasco, Garrett Collier and Siwik got Denison back into the game.

A 3-pointer by Matt Gerics with 6:52 cut the Kenyon lead to two.  The Lords punched back with a bucket down low by Will Sigl and trey by Matt Shifrin to go back on top by seven with just over five minutes to play.

With the game on the line, Denison found its groove with an 11-2 to take a 76-74 lead with 3:46 to play.  A transition 3-pointer by Jack Coulter tied the game and a layup by Vernasco off a nice feed from Siwik gave DU its first lead since the first half.

With 2:30 on the clock and the game tied at 78-78, Coulter drilled another 3-pointer on Collier's 10th assist of the game.  At the other end, Sigl drew a foul on Vernasco and sank the pair to cut Denison's lead back to one, 81-80.

The Big Red played the hot hand on its next possession as a driving Collier found Siwik for his seventh 3-pointer of the game. With 1:41 remaining Denison was on top 84-80.

After a miss by Kenyon's Phillip Crampton, Collier was fouled after the rebound and connected on both free throws to make it a six-point lead and a two-possession game with 1:18 to play.

The Lords answered five seconds later with a 3-pointer by Alexander Powell.  On Denison's next trip, Siwik was fouled and split the pair to give his team an 87-83 lead with 47 seconds to play.  Kenyon got two looks from Shifrin on its next trip.  His second shot, a 3-pointer from the corner, was off the mark and went out of bounds, giving the ball back to Denison. 

Over the final 22 seconds, Denison went 6-for-6 from the free throw line to lock up the victory.

Siwik's career-high 35 point effort came on 11-of-19 shooting from the field. He was 7-of-12 from beyond the arc and was 6-for-7 at the free throw line. His 35 points matched the North Coast Athletic Conference's individual single-game high this season.  Matt Doyle also tallied a career-high 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting.  In 35 minutes, Denison Collier finished with 11 points, a career-high 11 assists and six rebounds. 

Denison shot 41 percent from 3-point range (14-of-34) while committing only seven turnovers.  Kenyon connected on 48 percent of its triple tries (11-for-23).  They held a 34-33 edge on the glass and outscored the Big Red 15-5 in transition.  Despite being narrowly outrebounded, Denison collected 11 offensive rebounds that developed into 15 second-chance points.

Kenyon had four players reach double figures, led by Shifrin's 19 points in 31 minutes.  Crampton followed with 17 points in 30 minutes.

With the win, Denison improves to 10-7 and 6-4 in the North Coast Athletic Conference.  The Big Red returns to action on Wednesday (Jan. 24) when they travel to Oberlin for an 8 p.m. start.

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