The bench made all the difference for the DePauw men's squad as they extended its home winning streak to 20 with its 80-63 win over Sewanee Friday. DePauw's bench outscored Sewanee's 23-8 in the contest.
The Tigers have heard the word defense from their coaches all season long and after struggling early. They put together an impressive defensive performance.
The Tigers watched as Sewanee jumped out to an 11-0 lead as Sewanee connected on three quick three-pointers. James Pryor hit two and Bradley Pierson connected on another.
DePauw found itself down through all of the first half but began to find its way midway through the half. Tony James and Tom Callen hit back-to-back three-pointers to pull the Tigers within six at 28-22.
Sewanee continued to stay out front for the remainder of the half but a Mike Moore trey at the buzzer cut the lead to one, 34-33 at the half.
"I just didn't think we were energized and ready to go. Kind of like how we practiced the last few days," DPU head coach Bill Fenlon said.
Sewanee cut the DPU lead to 11 points with 11:09 minutes remaining and it looks like the momentum might be slipping from the Tigers, but an impressive play from DePauw sophomore Tom Callen ignited the DPU bench as well as the Tigers' legions of fans.
Callen received the ball on the right wing and drove to the basket, rising above the Sewanee defenders and throwing down a dunk while getting fouled.
Not to be outdone, forward David Gray received a pass on the break and provided some thunder of his own to put the Tigers up by 18 points, 71-53, with 4:29 remaining. The Tigers would maintain their lead for the rest of the contest to earn the victory.
"I thought it (the bench play) was pretty good," Fenlon commented. "I thought David Grey played with some energy. He made some bad decisions from a fouling standpoint because he was just too aggressive. But I thought we gave us some good play. I thought Steve Lemasters came off the bench and gave us some good play.
"Those two guys are pretty important for us right now," he added.
The Tiger also welcomed back guard Tony James. James has been nursing injuries during the first half of the season but saw 14 minutes of action. He scored six points and dished out three assists. On Friday, the Tigers got their first glimpse of the offense they had worked the entire off-season on and Fenlon was pleased with what he saw.
"Tony (James) had a stretch where he was really good. We're trying to ease him back in. We're better when he's out there. He didn't force anything. When the floors open and the ball is in his hands, he just makes good choices for the most part. He just makes guys better," Fenlon said.
The Tigers have one day before they hit the court again against Oglethorpe. Fenlon explained how the team approaches their one-day of prep and what they will expect to happen.
"We call Saturday the brain day. We do a lot of talking and get some shots up but we don't really do a lot of contact stuff. We want to be fresh for Sunday. We'll do a lot of scouting stuff and move guys around," Fenlon commented.
The Tigers (9-2, 1-1 SCAC) face Oglethorpe in the second game of a double-header at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Sewanee 34 39 -- 63
DePauw 33 47 80
Sewanee -- Berry 14, Pursell 13, Pierson 11, Pryor 9, Grizzle 8, Coleman 5, Baker 2 Davis 1. Totals: 19-49 FG 19-25 FT 63 TP.
DePauw -- Moore 21, Oilar 13, Schott 12, Lemasters 9, Callen 8 James 6, Gray 4, Werntz 3, Wills 2, Stone 2. Totals: 32-63 8-12 FT 80 TP.
3pt. FG --Sewanee 6 (Pryor 3, Pierson 2, Berry), DePauw 8 (Moore 3, James, Callen, Werntz, Oilar, Lemasters).
Rebounds -- Sewanee 31 (Pursell 12), DePauw 35 (Schott 13).
Next game -- The Tigers (9-2, 1-1 SCAC) face Oglethorpe in the second game of a double-header at 2 p.m. Sunday.