SPRINGFIELD, Ohio-- An 11-0 run midway through the second half proved pivotal in Denison's 72-66 victory over 11th ranked Wittenberg University on Thursday night at Pam Evans-Smith Arena. The win marks the third-straight for the Big Red as they improve to 5-6 overall and 2-3 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. The Tigers drop to 10-2 while suffering its first setback in conference play.
Wittenberg held a four-point lead at halftime and pushed its lead to six early in the second half. A basket in the paint by Fred Brou tied the game at 42-42 with 12:08 left. Over the next two minutes, Denison pushed its lead to seven thanks to a Matt Doyle 3-pointer and layups by Brou and Jake Livingston.
Down the stretch, the Tigers managed to keep it a one-possession contest most of the way. With the game tied at 56-56, Jack Coulter drilled a 3-pointer with 3:22 left. After a bucket by Mitch Balser, Livingston responded with driving layup to put DU back on top by three. After a missed triple by Wittenberg, the Tigers sent Denison's Gabe Bergeron to the line and the first-year sank the pair to put his squad on top by five.
Wittenberg's Connor Seipel scored with 1:27 remaining, cutting DU's lead to three. The game was put on ice by Doyle who canned a 3-pointer after being fouled by Jake Bertemes. Doyle converted the four-point play to put Denison on top by seven.
Denison went 5-for-6 at the charity stripe in the final minute to secure the win.
Brou led Denison with 20 points in 30 minutes of action. He was 5-of-8 from the field and 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Brou also added seven rebounds. Livingston followed with 13 points and eight rebounds in only 19 minutes of action after being saddled with foul trouble in the first half.
Bergeron came to the rescue, playing 11 of his 18 minutes in the first half. Bergeron finished with career highs in points (10), rebounds (8) and minutes.
Doyle scored 12 points and was the distributor, leading all players with eight assists. His eight helpers matched a season-high set against Hiram on Dec. 5 and against East Texas Baptist on Dec. 29.
Wittenberg was led by Seipel's 21 points and 10 rebounds. He was 9-of-13 from the field. Landon Martin came off the bench to score 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. The Tigers shot 42 percent as a team but were just 3-of-21 from 3-point range.
Denison dominated the glass, outrebounding Wittenberg 50-29 but possessions were evened out by the Tigers' 20-9 edge in turnovers.
The Big Red will put its three-game winning streak on the line this Saturday (Jan. 5) when they host Ohio Wesleyan at 3 p.m. The Battling Bishops are 6-5 and 1-3 in NCAC play.