Allegheny escapes with a 72-69 win over Denison

Matt Gerics  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Matt Gerics | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio--  Denison led most of the way but a 28-point effort from Jordan Rawls with 22 coming in the second half helped Allegheny squeak by the Big Red, 72-69 at Livingston Gymnasium.

Denison led by eight with 7:14 to play but the Gators caught fire to the tune of a 9-1 run over the next three minutes of play that was capped off by a 3-pointer by Rawls with 4:03 left.

The next three possessions resulted in 3-pointers as Nate Haller and Jack Coulter dialed it up from long range.  Sandwiched between the two was another triple from Rawls and with 2:11 to play, Denison held a 66-62 lead.

On the ensuing Allegheny possession, Keeno Holmes was fouled on a 3-point shot attempt and went to the line to shoot three.  Holmes buried all three free throws to cut the DU lead back to 66-65. 

The Big Red got two tries on its next possession but came up empty, opening the door for a driving layup by Rawls which gave Allegheny its first lead at 67-66 since the 17:02 mark in the first half.

Coulter followed with a miss at the other end and Freeman Brou fouled Nijon Kirkman after he secured the rebound.  Kirkman split the pair, giving the ball back to Denison trailing 68-66 with 52 seconds to play. 

Denison refused to go quietly as Coulter drilled a 3-pointer from the elbow, giving his team a one-point lead with 39 seconds left.  After a turnover on Allegheny, Denison was back in the driver seat but a foul by Allegheny sent Coulter to the line for a one-and-one.  He missed the front end and Allegheny nabbed the rebound.  After a miss by Rawls, Brian Roberts, Jr. fought for a rebound and was fouled.  Roberts went to the line and sank both to go up 70-69.

The game's most pivotal turn came on offensive charging call on Coulter as he was trying to advance the ball past midcourt with time ticking down.  Allegheny took over with five seconds left and Denison was forced to foul Rawls who went on to connect on both free throws.

Denison had one last shot at extending the game and Gerics got off a good look from 30-feet with 1.2 seconds on the clock.  The shot was on target but drew the back of the iron as the buzzer sounded.

Rawls was 8-of-12 and scored 22 points in the second half.  He played all but 24 seconds of the game and led all scorers with 28 points and nine rebounds.  Kirkman followed with 11 points, a game-high 14 rebounds, and seven assists.  Holmes added 16 points and four assists in 28 minutes of action.

Denison was led in scoring by Freeman Brou's 13 points in 25 minutes.  Conor Fenton scored 10 points and led the way with seven rebounds and three steals.  Gerics tallied 11 points in 18 minutes off the bench and Coulter finished with nine points.

Denison shot 41 percent from the field while going 9-for-29 (.310) from beyond the arc.  Allegheny shot 35 percent for the game and was 33 percent from long range.

The loss drops the Big Red's record to 4-11 while Allegheny improves to 10-5.  Denison will host the College of Wooster this Wednesday (Jan. 22) at 8 p.m.