Allegheny grabs late lead to defeat DePauw men

Saturday, February 8, 2014

When Allegheny entered Neal Fieldhouse tonight it did not look like a team that was winless in North Coast Athletic Conference play and currently riding a ten-game losing streak. The Tigers tried to fight off the Gators a number of times, but were unable to keep them down, falling to the visitors by a 69-66 score.

With the loss DePauw dropped to 14-6 overall and 9-4 in NCAC play, while the Gators improved to 4-16 on the season and 1-12 in conference play.

DePauw controlled the first half trailing just twice and leading by as much as 12. The Tigers shot 60 percent (12-20) from the floor including a sizzling 66.7 percent (6-9) from three. Sharp shooters Michael Wilkison and Connor Rich nailed three long balls apiece and led all scorers with 13 points and 11 points, respectively.

The Gators scored the final five points of the first half to close DePauw's lead to 37-32. Allegheny shot a respectable 52.4 percent (11-21) from the floor and 57.1 percent (4-7) from beyond the arc.

In the second half Allegheny was able to chip away at the Tigers' lead and tied the contest at 37-37 just two minutes into the half. The remainder of the second half proved to be a dogfight between the schools featuring seven ties and seven lead changes. No team held a lead of more than five points throughout the second half.

With 3:41 remaining DePauw's Adam Botts stepped back and hit a clutch three pointer putting the Tigers up 62-59 and swinging the momentum in their favor. Allegheny's Ryan Stanko was quick to answer, tying the contest with a three of his own with 3:07 left.

Stanko went to the free throw line with the score tied at 64-64 and just 32 seconds left. He connected on the second of two charity tosses to give the Gators a one-point lead.

The Tigers couldn't connect on a three-pointer with 12 seconds left and Evan Schweitzer pushed the margin to three with a pair of free throws with eight ticks left.

The Gators fouled Wilkison with 4.5 seconds remaining to prevent a possible game-tying three from the Tigers and the senior nailed both tosses.

DePauw fouled Stanko and he made both foul shots with 4.2 seconds left to push the lead back to 69-66. Wilkison took the inbounds pass and drove the court getting a good look at the basket, but his 25-footer was wide left.

Tommy Fernitz led the Tigers with 16 points and six rebounds, while Wilkison and Rich added 15 points and 11 points, respectively, in the loss.

Stanko led Allegheny with a game-high 23 points going 7-of-12 from the floor. Josh Valentic followed with 14 points and Evan Zabriski tallied 10 in the win.

DePauw is back in action today at 2 p.m. when it hosts Hiram.

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