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Second-half surge powers DU past Gators

Garrett Collier had a season-high 11 points in a 16-point win over Allegheny.
Garrett Collier had a season-high 11 points in a 16-point win over Allegheny.

Denison's 20-4 run to open the second half helped the Big Red end a two-game skid with a 75-59 victory over Allegheny at Livingston Gymnasium in Granville.

The Big Red never trailed in the game and led for all but 32 seconds. Senior Darius White opened the scoring with a deep 3-pointer on the first possession of the day. That triple not only set the tone for the game, it also marked the 200th trey of White's career.

Holding on to a seven-point advantage at the break, Denison blew the game open with strong play out of the locker room. It's true the Big Red started the second half 7-for-7 from the field, including three 3-pointers, and went 8-for-12 from the floor during the 20-4 run that spanned just over seven minutes.

However, the biggest reason DU turned a seven-point advantage into a 23-point lead was the play on the defensive end of the court. Denison not only held Allegheny to a 2-for-11 performance from the field, which included eight-straight unsuccessful attempts, but they also forced six turnovers in the first five and a half minute of the period which led to 10 points.

Even with just under 13 minutes left in regulation, the Gators were never able to put together a threatening surge that got them back into the game as the Big Red walked off the court with an impressive 16-point victory.

Denison converted over 50 percent from the field for the third time this season as they went 28-for-51 (54.9 percent) over the course of 40 minutes. DU also shot a season-best 47.8 percent clip (11-for-23) from 3-point range. Allegheny won the battle on the boards (36-28), but 25 points off 19 Gator turnovers helped the Big Red earn the win. Denison also outscored the Gators in the paint, 32-28.

Junior Jett Speelman led all scorers with 28 points after going 11-for-16 form the field, including a 4-for-6 showing from long range. In just his third-career start, sophomore Garrett Collier scored a career-high 11 points to go along with three assists and two steals. White finished the game with nine points, all from beyond the arc, a career-high seven assists and three steals. With his three 3-pointers, White is just eight triples away from breaking the Denison career record (209). Matthew Bauer paced DU on the glass with seven rebounds, while senior Patrick Keller, who made his first start in 10 games, chipped in six points and three steals in 21 minutes.

Zabriski came off the bench to lead Allegheny with 13 points, while Brandon Smith and Andrew Sestina each chipped in 10. Chris Koryak grabbed seven rebounds and logged tree steals.

The Big Red moves back over .500 on the season at 8-7 and improves to 3-5 in North Coast Athletic Conference play, while the Gators fall to 2-13 and 2-6 in the league. Denison returns to action on Wednesday when they travel to Hiram to take on the Terriers at 8 p.m.

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