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Denison blasts Hiram via 18-0 run

Jett Speelman scored 26 points in Denison's win over Hiram.
Jett Speelman scored 26 points in Denison's win over Hiram.

Powered by an impressive 18-0 run in the waning minutes of the second half, Denison pulled away from Hiram for a 77-61 win at Price Gymnasium.

With the Big Red trailing 57-54 with just under seven minutes to play Andrew Castagnetti would connect on a transition 3-pointer from the corner to tie the game at 57-57 with 6:42 to play. 

Over the next two minutes, DU junior Jett Speelman would score the next seven points in the game to give the Big Red its largest lead since the opening minutes of the first half.

After a quick miss by Hiram's Ray Gaston, Denison's David Meurer would drill a 3-pointer with 4:25 remaining, putting the Big Red up 10.  Meurer wouldn't stop there.  He would force a steal at midcourt and converted the layup at the other end.

Feeling the game slipping away, Hiram would come up empty on its next offensive possession and Speelman was there with the knockout blow, a 3-pointer from the wing that put his squad up 15 with 3:39 to play.

The Terriers would end the drought with a pair of Paul Ortiz free throws with 2:49 remaining, but Patrick Keller would come right back with Denison's eighth 3-pointer of the night.

Overall, Denison would close out the final 7:17 on a 23-4 run.

This was a game of runs and luckily for the Big Red they had the final say.  In the first half, it was the Terriers who went on a 15-1 run to take a 25-19 lead with five minutes to play in the opening stanza.  The Big Red would chip away and trail 34-32 at the half.

Speelman led all scorers with 26 points.  He was 7-of-12 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line.  Speelman leads the North Coast Athletic Conference in free throw percentage at .895 (68-of-76).

Meurer followed with 11 points in 25 minutes of action while Devon Pitts paced the Big Red with 10 rebounds.  DU shot 43 percent (26-of-60) and were 6-of-10 from beyond the arc in the second half.

Meanwhile, Hiram was held to 28 percent shooting in the second half and were 36 percent for the game.  Ortiz led the Terriers with 16 points and Austen Rekolt finished with 10 points.  Kelvin Jones led all players with 12 rebounds.

Hiram entered the game in third place in the NCAC standings. With the loss, they drop to 11-5 and 5-4 in conference play.  Denison improves to 9-7 and is 4-5 in the NCAC.  The Big Red will return to action on Saturday when they travel to No. 7 Ohio Wesleyan.  The Battling Bishops are off to a 15-1 start to the season.  Their only loss came at Hiram on Dec. 12.

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