Brad Woolard and Alex Longi each scored 20 points as Denison earned a key 83-77 road win over Hiram College on Wednesday night. The victory moved the Big Red to 8-8 overall and 4-5 in the North Coast Athletic Conference.
Denison was red-hot from the opening tip, knocking down three consecutive 3-pointers to start the game. Just four minutes into the contest, the Big Red led 11-3. That hot shooting would continue up until the 8:07 mark of the first half when Darius White canned his fourth 3-pointer of the half, putting his squad up 31-12.
At 19 points, that would be the largest lead for Denison. It would also start a run by the Terriers that would be capped off in grand fashion by Andrea Serra. His half-court shot as time expired in the first half got Hiram back in the game by triming the deficit to 43-38 heading into the second half.
Needing to take back momentum, the Big Red managed to hold Hiram without a field goal for nearly four minutes early in the second half. That allowed Denison to push its lead to nine at 56-47 with 13:51 to play. With 8:19 to play, a bucket by Woolard down low gave DU a 13-point lead.
Just like the first half, the large deficit would spark a run by Hiram that would be fueled by the dangerous Aaron Stefanov. Over the next four minutes the Terriers went on an 11-2 run powered by eight points by Stefanov. That left Denison clinging to a 72-68 lead with 4:05 to play.
Just as Hiram appeared to be riding a wave of momentum, Woolard responded quickly at the other end with a short jumper in the low post, putting DU back on top 74-68.
Hiram would get back to within four points after a layup by Chris Zurowski with 2:14 to play, but field goals by Longi and Briggs King on Denison's next two possessions would keep it a two possession game with less than one minute to play. Over the final 37 seconds, Denison would go 5-for-6 from the free throw line to secure the victory.
Denison's starting five accounted for 73 of the team's 83 points. Woolard was 7-of-11 from the field and 5-of-6 at the line for 20 points. He also added eight rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes. Longi's 20 points came off a 5-of-7 performance. He did the bulk of his work at the free throw line, going 10-for-13.
White finished with 16 points while going 4-for-6 from 3-point range. Backcourt mate David Meurer chipped in 13 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes. All 10 of Denison's bench points would come from King who also led the team in rebounds with nine.
Stefanov paced Hiram with 27 points in 27 minutes. He was 8-of-16 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Justin Harrington contributed 10 points off the bench.
DU shot 49 percent as a team and were an outstanding 23-of-35 (.800) from the charity stripe. Hiram held a 32-30 edge on the boards.
Denison will look to extend its winning streak to three games on Saturday when they travel to No. 19 Ohio Wesleyan for a 3 p.m. tip-off.