Allegheny utilized a 23-6 run over the final 7:24 to rally past Denison, 67-63, on Saturday in the final North Coast Athletic Conference regular season game of the season. Despite the loss, the Big Red will get a home game in the quarterfinals of the NCAC Tournament thanks to Hiram's 64-60 victory over Wittenberg.
After surrendering the first eight points of the game, Denison head coach Bob Ghiloni called a 30 second timeout to rally his troops. Ghiloni's speech clicked with his players as they came out of the stoppage like a house of fire scoring 13-straight points to grab the lead. That surge was part of a 26-8 run that spanned 14 minutes and resulted in a 26-16 DU advantage. The Gators were able to close the opening period with an 11-4 burst that shrunk their deficit to three at the break.
Denison came out of the intermission with points on their first three possession to open up a 38-27 lead. Allegheny was able to cut the margin to 41-35 before back-to-back triples by David Meurer and Andrew Castagnetti built a 12-point Big Red advantage with 12:18 to play.
With just under eight minutes to play, junior Jett Speelman knocked down the Big Red's ninth 3-pointer of the ball game to give Denison a 57-44 lead. However, a back-breaking 21-6 run capped off by Conor Macomber three with 16.7 to play gave the Gators their first lead since 16:05 of the opening half. Denison had a chance to tie the game or take the lead, but a costly turnover with 3.5 second on the clock and two free throws by Evan Schweitzer sealed the Allegheny victory.
Speelman and senior Darius White paced the DU offense with 17 points apiece, while Devon Pitts, Matthew Bauer and Meurer each added seven. Speelman grabbed nine rebounds, while Bauer and Meurer collected seven and six, respectively. Meurer and Garrett Collier each dished out five assists.
Brandon Smith led all scorers with 19 points, while Evan Zabriski and Macomber chipped in 11 each. Smith completed the double-double with 10 rebounds, while Billy Urso handed out five assists and Schweitzer came away with three steals.
With the loss, Denison falls to 14-11 overall and 9-9 in the NCAC, while the Gators end their season at 4-21 and 4-14 in league play. The Big Red, who will be hosting their first NCAC Tournament game since 2005, earned the fourth seed and will welcome fifth-seeded Wittenberg to Livingston Gym on Tuesday for the quarterfinals of the 2016 NCAC Tournament. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.