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Denison wins close one at Kenyon

Jett Speelman scored 19 points in Denison's 71-67 win over Kenyon.
Jett Speelman scored 19 points in Denison's 71-67 win over Kenyon.

Denison scored nine of the game's final 14 points helping the Big Red to a 71-67 win over Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.  The Big Red got a game-high 19 points from Jett Speelman as DU knocked down 10 3-pointers while shooting 45 percent from the field.

Early in the second half, Denison led by three at 41-38.  A Garrett Collier layup with 15:55 jump start a 10-0 run for the Big Red that would be capped off with a 3-pointer by John Cheng.

Leading 51-38, Kenyon clawed their way back, responding with an 11-0 run to get within two at 51-49 with 10 minutes to play.

The Lords took their first lead of the second half with 3:38 remaining after a pair of free throws by Matt Shifrin.  After a miss by Denison, Kenyon's Tim Connolly came up dry on his 3-point opportunity and Darius White came down with the rebound and made the Lords pay with a pull-up 3-pointer that put Denison back on top, 65-63 with 3:19 left.

With the game tied at 65-65, Speelman and Connolly traded baskets, making it a tie game with just under a minute to play.  DU went to Speelman again in the post and the junior was fouled and sent to the line where the 90 percent free throw shooter made the pair.

With 36 seconds remaining, Kenyon's Connolly was fouled and missed both free throws.  On the second miss, Connolly gathered the offensive rebound but rather than resetting the offense, he took a quick 3-point shot that was off the mark.  Patrick Keller snagged the defensive rebound for Denison.  Leading by two with 27 seconds to play, Kenyon was forced to foul and send Collier to the line.  The sophomore sank the pair, giving DU a four-point lead and icing the win.

Speelman scored 19 points while going 6-of-14 from the field in 28 minutes.  Collier scored 13 in 25 minutes and David Meurer came off the bench with 10.

Connolly finished with 21 for Kenyon to lead all players.  He was 7-for-16 from the floor and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.  Phillip Crampton came off the bench to score 11 points in 11 minutes.

With the win, Denison improves to 13-9 and 8-7 in the North Coast Athletic Conference.  Kenyon falls to 8-14 and 5-10 in conference play.  The Big Red will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 13 when they host Wabash at 3:30 p.m.

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