GRANVILLE, Ohio-- Denison opened up a 19-point lead on Capital University early in the second half. The Crusaders mounted a comeback, but the Big Red held on for an 80-74 victory at Livingston Gymnasium on Wednesday night.
Denison put together its best half of the season to open the game. They held Capital to 30 percent shooting while going 0-for-10 from 3-point range. The DU defense was sound, and the offense was balanced, led by eight points off the bench from Matt Gerics.
In the second half, Denison took a 45-26 lead with 18:21 to play after a three-point play by Conor Fenton. Capital pieced together a 7-0 run over the next two minutes but back-to-back 3-pointers by Jack Coulter put the Big Red up 52-34 with 15:43 left.
With 5:38 left in the game Denison led by 11. Tyler Schreck scored down low and that sparked an 8-0 run for Capital that lasted only 2:37. Suddenly, with 3:01 left, the Big Red's 19-point lead had melted away to just three.
Down the stretch, the free throw line proved to be the Big Red's saving grace. Denison connected on 11 straight free throws over the final 2:38 allowing them to hold on for the six-point win.
DU was 21-for-31 from the charity stripe and 25-for-50 from the field. Coulter led the way with 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. He was 4-of-7 from long range in 23 minutes of action while battling foul trouble in the first half.
Gerics spelled Coulter and finished with 10 points. Kevin Cheng tallied 16 points and led the team in assists with six. He also tied with Fenton and Will Hunter for the team lead in rebounds with six.
Capital was led by Griffin Doseck's 17 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench. Cameron Caldwell finished with 15 points while Schreck added 11. Leading scorer Ganiyu Yahaya was held to 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting.
Denison (1-2) returns to action on Saturday (Nov. 22) when they host Otterbein University at 3 p.m.