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No. 19 OWU turns tables on Big Red

David Meurer scored 16 points at Ohio Wesleyan.
David Meurer scored 16 points at Ohio Wesleyan.

No. 19 Ohio Wesleyan utilized a 23-4 run early in the second half to erase a 13-point Big Red lead.  Denison showed plenty of fight down the stretch, but the near 10-minute dry spell was too much to overcome as the Battling Bishops came away with an 83-75 win over DU from Branch Rickey Arena.

The Big Red were clicking from long range, and it was everything the Bishops could do to keep up with the torrid pace set by Denison as DU knocked down eight 3-pointers in the first half.  That would send Bob Ghiloni's charges into the locker room with a 42-36 lead.  In that first half, Denison shot 26-of-28 (.571) from the field and were a blistering 8-for-12 from beyond the arc.  First-year David Meurer paced Denison with 11 points by going 3-of-3 from long range.

As the second half opened with a Darius White 3-pointer, things appeared as if it would be business as usual for the Big Red.  Ohio Wesleyan had other ideas.  Over the next nine minutes, OWU would outscore DU 17-2, holding Denison without a field goal for six minutes.  During that span they would force Denison into six turnovers and would shoot 8-for-10 from the field.

With 10:49 to play, Meurer put an end to Denison's six-minute stretch without a field goal, but that would only fuel another 6-0 run by Ohio Wesleyan.  Now, with just over eight minutes remaining, Denison was faced with an 11-point deficit.

The Big Red fought back with a 7-0 run, powered by five points by Brad Woolard, that trimmed the OWU lead to four with 6:48 to play.   That would be as close as Denison would come down the stretch as the Bishops' Dre White scored nine points in a span of just over one minute.  His outburst gave his team a double-digit lead and the eventual win.

White finished with 20 points, 15 of which came in the pivotal second half, while Claude Gray paced OWU with 22 points.  Senior post Reuel Rogers was a factor on the defensive end as he finished with 11 rebounds, six blocks and 11 points.  OWU's scoring was rounded out by Taylor Rieger's 16 points and Seth Clark's 11 points.

Denison got 18 points from Alex Longi in 37 minutes while Meurer finished with 16 and Woolard checked in with 11.  Woolard led DU with nine rebounds while Briggs King tallied eight boards in 25 minutes off the bench.

For the game, Denison shot 51 percent from the field and was 11-of-20 from long range.  Ohio Wesleyan connected on 50 percent of its field goal attempts and scored 19 points off Denison's 17 turnovers.  Meanwhile the Big Red turned OWU's 10 miscues into 10 points.

The Big Red drop to 8-9 overall and 4-6 in the North Coast Athletic Conference while Ohio Wesleyan improves to 14-3 and 8-2 in league play.  DU will return to the hardwood on Wednesday (Jan. 29) when they host DePauw at 6 p.m.

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