Otterbein's Jake Phillis hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 33 seconds left and that was enough to send the Cardinals to a 69-67 win over Denison in the first round of the Smokey Ballenger Tournament.
Denison led throughout the majority of the contest, but the Cardinals turned up the heat late as they outscored the Big Red 7-2 over the final 3:09.
After Phillis sank the 3-pointer, Denison called a timeout with 28 seconds remaining. DU ran the game clock down to six seconds. Sophomore guard Garrett Collier drove the lane and attempted a layup that fell off the iron. Otterbein secured the rebound and threw the ball toward the other end of the court. Time expired as the ball bounced out of bounds.
Denison's Jett Speelman was saddled with foul trouble early and played only six minutes in the first half. In the second half, he played 18 minutes, scoring 13 of his 15 points while ending the game with nine rebounds. David Meurer led the team in scoring with 17 points in 29 minutes. He was 8-of-13 from the field.
For Otterbein, Phillis led the way with a game-high 24 points. He was 4-of-8 from 3-point range while also pulling down five rebounds. Marc McCuen and Grant Fenner each added 10 points for the Cardinals.
Denison shot 49 percent from the field and outrebounded Otterbein 37-28. The Cardinals connected on 26-of-59 shots, good for 44 percent.
The Big Red will return to action on Saturday when they take on Hanover at 1 p.m. in the consolation of the Smokey Ballenger Tournament. Otterbein will take on Marian (Ind.) in the title game at 3 p.m.