Sixth-ranked Ohio Wesleyan connected on a season-high 17 3-pointers and converted 50-percent from the field en route to a 92-82 victory over Denison in North Coast Athletic Conference action from Granville on Saturday afternoon.
The Bishops opened the game on fire as they hit nine of their first 10 shots in the opening five and a half minutes to build a 22-13 lead. The Big Red also got off to a great start as they shot 60 percent (6-for-10) from the floor to begin the contest. The biggest difference were the three 3-pointers for OWU compared to Denison's one make from long range.
Trailing 33-18 at the midway point of the half, DU engineered a 15-0 run over the course of five minutes to tie the game at 33-33. Junior Jett Speelman led the charge with seven points, while classmate Devon Pitts also chipped in five tallies. Patrick Keller and Garrett Collier combined for the final three points. OWU rebuilt a nine-point lead on three-consecutive possessions, but strong play by the Big Red and five-straight points from junior David Meurer to close the half had Denison trailing by two at the intermission.
DU kept it a two-score game throughout the opening three minutes of the second period, answering every Ohio Wesleyan bucket with one of their own. Clinging to a 59-58 lead, the Bishops found their stroke as they went on a 21-5 run over a 10 minute span which gave them their largest lead of the contest at 80-63. Denison shrunk the deficit to nine with 1:08 to play, but a 5-for-6 showing at the line down the stretch secured the 10-point win for OWU.
The Battling Bishops were 34-for-68 from the field, including a 45 percent (17-for-38) conversion rate from beyond the arc. The Big Red were just as good from the floor, shooting at a 49-percent clip (32-for-66), but went 8-for-27 (30 percent) from 3-point range. DU outrebounded Ohio Wesleyan 40-34 and won the battle in the paint 42-30. OWU generated 17 points off 10 Big Red turnovers, while the home team had 12 tallies of seven Bishop giveaways.
Speelman paced the Denison offense with 28 points on 12-of-28 from the floor. He also grabbed four rebounds and dished out two assists in 34 minutes. Meurer added 23 points, six assists and six rebounds, while Matthew Bauer grabbed a game-high nine boards and blocked three shots. Pitts had seven points and seven rebounds, while Max Siwik chipped in six rebounds and three assists off the bench.
Last year's NCAC Player of the Year, Claude Gray, finished with 30 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Seth Clark chipped in 17 points. Nate Axelrod had 14 tallies and four assists, while Ben Simpson scored 12 points, pulled down eight rebounds and handed out five assists.
Denison falls to 4-3 on the year and 1-1 in conference play, while the Bishops improved to 8-0 and 2-0 in the NCAC. The Big Red returns to action on Wednesday when they host Oberlin at 7:30 p.m.