GRANVILLE, Ohio—History was made on Wednesday night at Livingston Gymnasium as No. 19 Denison defeated Hiram College, 80-66, marking the first 20-win season in program history.
With the win, Denison moves to 20-4 and 14-3 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. The previous single-season record for wins was 19, achieved in 1997.
Denison trailed 19-12 with 11 minutes left in the first half. Back-to-back buckets by Jett Speelman and Matthew Bauer cut the deficit to six. After a pair of free throws by Hiram's Ryan Greenwood, David Meurer knocked down a 3-pointer and Bauer followed at the other end with a transition dunk off a missed triple by Marcel Rice.
After a Hiram timeout, Denison's fire continued to burn thanks to senior Andrew Castagnetti. Meurer found him in the corner for his first 3-pointer of the game with just under eight minutes to play. Speelman followed with a steal and a dunk at the other end, giving the home team a 26-22 lead. Castagnetti closed out the half with four more 3-pointers, sending the Big Red into the intermission with a 44-34 lead. Over the final nine minutes of the half, DU outscored the Terriers 28-12. Castagnetti led the home team with 17 first half points off 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc.
In the second half, DU shot 41 percent from the field and got 12 points from Speelman. Denison's lead grew as large as 19 and never went to single digits over the final 20 minutes.
Castagnetti finished with a career-high 23 points by going 7-fo9 and 6-of-8 from 3-point land. He also tied for the team lead with five boards. Castagnetti's 23 points were a new career-high. That came on the heels of a previous career-high 20 point effort at Allegheny on Saturday.
Meurer, who became Denison's career leader in steals earlier this season, set a new career high with six against the Terriers. He also added nine points and eight assists.
Speelman ended with 19 points and Bauer tallied 10 points and five rebounds.
Hiram got 14 points and 12 rebounds from Kelvin Jones while Jeremiah Thomas matched Jones with 14 points while shooting 5-of-14 from the field.
Denison will close out the regular season on Saturday when they host Wabash College at 3 p.m.