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Strong Second Half Lifts Tigers to NCAC Win over Wabash

January 9, 2013

BOX SCORE

Greencastle, Ind. - After stuggling offensively over the opening 20 minutes, DePauw doubled its scoring output in the second half and topped visiting Wabash by a 60-49 score in North Coast Athletic Conference action.

The Tigers improved to 9-5 overall and 2-3 in the NCAC, while the Little Giants dropped to 4-10 overall and 2-3 in conference play.

DePauw got into some early foul trouble as Connor Rich picked up his second personal foul just 3:10 into the contest and backcourt mate Jeff Sustarsic did the same with 13:16 left in the opening half. Wabash built as much as a six-point lead on two occasions and DePauw could get no closer than two the remainder of the half and trailed 24-20 at the intermission.

Both teams shot below 35 percent in the first half and combined to go 0-13 from beyond the arc, but DePauw's shooting quickly turned around in the second half. After the teams exchanged baskets, DePauw scored nine straight on back-to-back buckets from Michael Wilkison and five in a row from Rich capped by a three-pointer which made it 31-26 with 14:44 left.

The Tigers hit nine of their first 11 shots of the half and led 43-36, but the Little Giants chipped away and closed the gap to 43-41 after Daniel Purvilics' put-back with 6:28 remaining. 

Adam Botts quickly countered with a trey on the Tigers' next possession before Wabash's Ross Sponsler rebounded his own miss and cut the lead back to three, but Botts again had an answer with a three to make it 49-43 with 5:16 left.

Pat Haggin's three with 3:26 left stretched DePauw's lead to 55-46. Wabash was still down by eight before Barry Flynn's dunk with 52 seconds remaining sealed the victory.

"In the first half the ball was sticking in people's hands, but in the second half we changed sides of the floor quicker and got a more positive result," DePauw head coach Bill Fenlon said.

"I thought we defended well in the first half, but our rebounding was horrendous. The rebounding was better in the second half and we finished possessions much better."

Botts and Mark Johnson each scored nine to lead the Tigers while Flynn hauled down seven rebounds. Purvlicis led Wabash with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Pete Nicksic added 15 points and Houston Hodges dished out five assists.

DePauw finished at 45 percent after connecting on 56 percent in the second half and Wabash shot just 32.7 percent from the floor and made only one of 16 from three-point range.

The Tigers travel to Wooster on Saturday for a 3 p.m. meeting with the 15th-ranked Fighting Scots, while Wabash hosts Wittenberg next Wednesday.

For more information on the DePauw men’s basketball program, follow DePauw on Twitter (@DePauwAthletics / @DePauw_MBB) or like them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/DePauwAthletics).

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