Severs' 26 leads Tigers to victory
GREENCASTLE -- DePauw's men's basketball team won their sixth straight game and 10th out of 11 games Sunday after downing Sewanee 84-70.
Though the hosts started off strong and put continual pressure upon the Sewanee defense, the visiting Tigers knocked down eight three-pointers to keep DePauw from running away early in the game.
The Tigers lead by 12 with four minutes remaining in the first half but their inability to keep Sewanee from knocking down long distance shots saw the lead evaporate to three points twice in the final two minutes.
A Ross Simpson three pointer, followed by a Ryan Sever lay-up that completed a 6-6 first half of shooting for the senior, pushed the lead back to eight at the halftime interval.
DePauw came out of the intermission strong, limiting Sewanee to 10 points in the first ten minutes of the second half. The Tigers, shooting 64 percent in the second half from the field, pushed the lead to as high as 24 points.
The hosts soon began to shuffle in and out their seniors in their final home contest of their DePauw careers.
There was even time for injured senior Joe Bergfield, who was sidelined for the remainder of the year with a stress fracture, to make a one minute appearance, knocking down three free throws before being taken off to a standing ovation by the crowd and teammates alike.
Sewanee cut into the lead late but never threatened the Tiger lead in the second half as DePauw won their sixth straight game to still have a chance to claim a number one seed in the upcoming SCAC tournament.
Much of the improvement in the second half came down to defensive, according to Tiger head coach Bill Fenlon.
"We were better defensively. The first ten minutes of the second half, we did a much better job of guarding the things that were giving us problems in the first half," Fenlon said.
"I thought our attention to detail was a little bit better. We were guarding them like guys you would play in a pick-up game and they're not playing pick-up basketball. They've got stuff that they're trying to do.
"I thought (Sewanee) did a good job of executing in the first half to get the shots and when they got the shots to make the shots. We were late to just about everything in the first half and I thought in the first ten minutes of the second half we were much more locked in defensively," Fenlon added.
With two games left before the SCAC tournament, Fenlon said the Tigers need to be focused on the upcoming road trip.
"We just need to play better next weekend and then on Sunday we'll know who were playing in Jackson, Mississippi. What other teams do doesn't impact us very much. We just need to go down there and do a better job when we play Birmingham-Southern than we did the first time," Fenlon said.
Fenlon also noted that the final stretch of games will cover some mileage as DePauw travels to Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi in a week.
"That's really tough. It's not set-up very well. It's bad when you're on a long trip and then have to go back on the road for the conference tournament. That's probably the worst case scenario but that is our scenario," Fenlon said.
"We're going to take tomorrow off and try to keep our guys as fresh as possible. I talked to them today. We've won 10 of our last 11 games after we were reeling around Christmas time. We lost four games in a row and we regrouped.
"Today, in the first half I thought we weren't playing with the kind of edge that we had been defensively. Those things happen when you've had some success. We've had 5-6 weeks where we've played really good basketball and then the sense of urgency goes away a little bit," Fenlon said.
"There's a lot of urgency when you've lost four in a row. You need to get the ship righted. The urgency isn't quite the same when you've won 10 of 11, so we need to get our edge back in this next week and continue to compete at a better level."
Sewanee 38 32 -- 70
DePauw 46 38 -- 84
Shooting -- Sewanee 25-54; DePauw 30-49
Rebounding -- Sewanee 20, DePauw 33
Three Pointers -- Sewanee 11-29; DePauw 14-23
Free Throws -- Sewanee 9-11; DePauw 10-16
Assists -- Sewanee 12; DePauw 20
Turnovers -- Sewanee 4; DePauw 9
DePauw -- Sever 26, Weakley 15, Haseley 13, Lemasters 12, Wills 5, Burns 4, Simpson 3, Wilkison 3, Bergfeld 3
Next game -- DePauw (16-7, 11-3 SCAC) travels to Alabama to play Birmingham-Southern University (18-3, 12-2 SCAC) Friday.