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Men primed for NCAC semifinal with Ohio Wesleyan

Denison is back in the NCAC Semifinals for the first time since 2012.
Denison is back in the NCAC Semifinals for the first time since 2012.

Denison will travel to Ohio Wesleyan on Friday for the semifinals of the 2016 North Coast Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament.  As the No. 4 seed, the Big Red will take on the top-seeded Battling Bishops in the semifinals while second-seeded Wooster will face No. 3 Hiram in the other matchup.

This marks Denison's fifth appearance in the NCAC Tournament semifinals and the program's first since advancing to the championship game in 2012.  The Big Red is coming off an 81-75 win over Wittenberg on Tuesday night at Livingston Gymnasium.  David Meurer and Matthew Bauer led Denison with 24 and 19 points, respectively.  At 15-11, Denison is enjoying its most successful season in terms of total victories since the 1997-98 team went 17-9.

DU is led in scoring by junior Jett Speelman who is averaging 17.8 ppg.  He scored 14 points in the win over Wittenberg.  In addition to his 24-point showing against the Tigers, Meurer also became the 21st player in program history to score 1,000 career points.  Meurer accomplished the feat midway through the second half.  He enters Friday's semifinal with 1,005 points in 77 career games.

Senior guard Darius White became Denison's career leader in 3-point field goals made earlier in the season.  He needs only three more 3-point field goals to break the single-season record for treys at DU.  That record of 71 was set by DU Hall of Famer Brian Malinowski in 1994-95.

The Big Red is 0-2 against Ohio Wesleyan this season after suffering a 92-82 loss in Granville on Dec. 5.  On Jan. 23 they would drop an 82-76 decision in Delaware after the Bishops closed the game on a 17-4 run over the final five minutes.

Ohio Wesleyan is ranked 10th in the latest Top-25 poll.  They are 23-3 with their only losses coming to NCAC foes Hiram, Wooster, and Wabash.  The Bishops have four players averaging at least 14.0 ppg in Nate Axelrod (17.1 ppg), Seth Clark (15.7 ppg.), Ben Simpson (14.3 ppg) and Claude Gray (14.0 ppg).  They average 87 points per game and shoot 46 percent as a team.  Ohio Wesleyan has won the NCAC Tournament five times, with their last win coming in 2013.

There will be a presale of tickets for Friday's games from 12-2 p.m. on Friday in the Ohio Wesleyan Athletics Office in Edwards Gym.  Individuals may purchase up to 6 tickets during the presale.  Students with a valid ID from an NCAC institution may pick up ONE ticket free of charge.

Tickets for the Hiram-Wooster game will go on sale at Branch Rickey Arena at 4:30 p.m.  Ticket sales for the Denison-Ohio Wesleyan game will begin once the arena has been cleared after the Hiram-Wooster game, but no earlier than 7:30 p.m.

Prices are $7 for adults, $5 for children (18 and under), NCAC guest pass holders and students without and NCAC ID.  There is no admission fee for students with a valid ID from an NCAC institution.

The winners of Friday's games will advance to the championship game on Saturday at 5 p.m.  All three games will be played at Branch Rickey Arena in Delaware, Ohio.  For more information see Ohio Wesleyan's Tournament website.

Speelman receives NCAC honor
February 2, 2016 Speelman receives NCAC honor
Big Red stumbles at Wabash
January 9, 2016 Big Red stumbles at Wabash
Denison tops Case, 80-79
November 24, 2015 Denison tops Case, 80-79