CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind.-- Denison advanced to the semifinals of the 2020 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament following a 75-69 victory over No. 2 seed, Wabash on Tuesday night at Chadwick Court. This is the fourth time out of the last five seasons the Big Red has advanced to the Final Four of the NCAC Tournament.
The Big Red led most of the way, building their lead to as many as nine with 13:56 to play. The Little Giants responded with a 12-0 run over the next four minutes of action to take a 55-53 lead. DU trailed by four with eight minutes left but tattled back. Consecutive basked by Freeman Brou at 4:31 and 3:49 put Denison back on top, 63-61.
With the game tied at 63-63, Conor Fenton connected on a driving layup and was fouled in the process. He converted the three-point play with 2:23 lead. At the other end, Wabash split a pair of free throws and after a Big Red turnover, Wabash's Connor Rotterman tied the game at 66-66 with 1:21 left.
On what was their biggest possession of the game, Denison's Jack Coulter kicked to Brou who drilled a 3-pointer with 1:03 remaining. Seconds later, while Wabash was advancing the ball past midcourt, Fenton jumped the passing lane and tipped the ball to himself. He finished the Fastbreak layup and was fouled. He converted his second three-point play in just over a minute and in a flash, the Big Red had a 72-66 lead with 43 seconds remaining.
The game was sealed when Denison's Will Hunter stole the ball from Jack Davidson. Hunter tried to score in transition. He missed the shot but Brou was there to clean up the offensive glass and score on the putback with 26 seconds left, giving DU an eight-point lead.
Fenton finished the night with 26 points, nine rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot. He was 9-of-15 from the field and 5-of-9 from 3-point range. Brou followed with 13 points and nine rebounds. Kevin Cheng chipped in 11 points and Matt Gerics scored 12 points off the bench while going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Coulter paced the Big Red with six assists.
Denison (11-15) shot 47 percent from the field and were 12-of-24 (.500) from 3-point land. Wabash (17-9) shot 48 percent from the field and were 2-of-25 (.280) from deep. The Little Giants held a slight 32-31 edge on the glass and both teams committed 11 turnovers.
With the win, the seventh-seeded Big Red will face third-seeded Wooster on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Springfield, Ohio on the campus of Wittenberg University. Top-seeded Wittenberg will face fifth-seeded Oberlin at 5:30 p.m.