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Stanko, Gators stop Denison men

Brad Woolard led Denison with 19 points at Allegheny.
Brad Woolard led Denison with 19 points at Allegheny.

Ryan Stanko scored 26 points and connected on six of Allegheny's 15 3-pointers as the Gators held off Denison, 76-72, in the regular season finale from the Wise Center in Meadville, Pa.

Despite 15 of Allegheny's 28 field goals coming from beyond the arc, the Big Red was in contention until the final buzzer sounded.  With 8:15 to play, Darius White's 3-pointer lifted Denison in front, 60-59, but Allegheny would counter with a 6-0 run to take a five-point lead with just over six minutes to play.

Allegheny would maintain its lead over the next four and a half minutes but a layup by Alex Longi with 1:32 to play cut the Gator lead to 74-70.  A turnover by the Gators would follow and DU found themselves with the basketball, with under a minute to play.  After swinging the ball inside-out, Briggs King let a 3-pointer fly from the elbow that was off the mark.  Allegheny's D'Andre Corbin gobbled up the rebound and was fouled by Longi with 33 seconds remaining.

Corbin would go on to miss the front end of the one-and-one and David Meurer went the length of the floor and scored to get the Big Red to within two at 74-72 with 23 seconds on the clock.  Denison would foul again, this time sending Josh Valentic to the line.  Valentic would miss his first shot, but Allegheny's Clark Tritto was there for a big offensive rebound that would force another DU foul with 20 seconds left.

This time, Tritto would make his first charity toss, but after missing the second, Marco Corona was there for another timely offensive board with 16 seconds left.  The Big Red would foul again, and with another chance to give Allegheny a two-possession lead, the Gators would come up dry at the line.

Meurer snagged the rebound off the second miss and took off down the court.  He promptly pulled up for an open 3-point attempt that could have tied the game, but instead drew iron.  Tritto was there for the rebound and Denison was forced to foul once more.

It would be more of the same for the Gators as they failed to slam the door at the free throw line.  After two misses by Corona, Meurer corralled another rebound and it looked as if he would have a second chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer.  Just as Meurer picked his head up as he crossed midcourt, Corbin was there to foul the rookie guard before he could force overtime with a potential game-tying 3-pointer.  Meurer would miss his first free throw on purpose but Allegheny came up with the rebound to finally put the game on ice.

Nine of Allegheny's 15 3-pointers would come in the first half, but the Gators led 41-40 at the break. Stanko paced Allegheny with 16 points in the opening half while going 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.

In the second half, Denison's inability to match the Gators from long range would be the difference in the game.  DU connected on just 3-of-15 from 3-point range, while Allegheny would hit 6-of-13.

Brad Woolard led Denison in scoring with 19 points and six rebounds.  He was 8-for-14 from the field.  Longi added 18 points while going 7-for-7 from the free throw line and Meurer followed with nine points, six rebounds and five assists.

Denison's regular season comes to a close at 12-13 and 8-10 in the North Coast Athletic Conference.  Allegheny's record improves to 6-19 and 3-15 in conference play.  The NCAC Tournament will begin on Tuesday (Feb. 25) and Denison, as the No. 6 seed, will travel to No. 3 seed, Wittenberg.  The start time is TBA.

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