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Fernitz Steal Preserves DePauw Win; Botts and Dillon Net Career Highs

February 19, 2014

Box Score

Greencastle, Ind. - Tommy Fernitz's steal in the closing seconds preserved DePauw's 75-74 North Coast Athletic Conference victory over visiting Wabash at Neal Fieldhouse. 

The Tigers improved to 17-7 overall and 12-5 in the NCAC, while the Little Giants dropped to 8-15 overall and 7-10 in the conference.

Wabash, which had trailed by as many as 15 in the second half, cut DePauw's lead to 73-72 when Houston Hodges knocked in a three with 1:37 left. DePauw's Adam Botts responded with a jumper to push the Tigers' lead back to three with just under one minute remaining.

The Tigers were whistled for a foul at the 44-second mark and Wabash's Kasey Oetting nailed both free throws to cut DePauw's lead to 75-74. 

Following a timeout, DePauw ran the shot clock all the way down and Bob Dillon's shot was off the mark with Oetting grabbing the rebound. Oetting sent an outlet pass to Hodges who lobbed the ball from beyond the three-point arc to the basket, but couldn't get it over Fernitz's six-foot, nine-inch frame and the Tigers celebrated the win.

DePauw got out to an 8-0 lead as Botts hit a jumper, Dillon followed with a three and Botts nailed one from beyond the arc. The Little Giants turned the ball over on their first three possessions and Botts drained another trey to make it 11-0.

The Little Giants closed the margin back to four with just over eight minutes left in the half, but Botts and Dillon each hit three-pointers in a 27-second span to push the lead back to double digits. DePauw went to the break with a 45-33 and Botts had already matched his career high with 17 first-half points.

DePauw's lead reached a high of 15 early in the second half, but the Tigers went scoreless for a 4:18 stretch as Wabash scored seven straight to pull to within 51-43. Wabash closed the gap to five on a couple of occasions, but DePauw expanded the margin back to 10 twice with the last coming with eight minutes left after Fernitz's jumper made it 67-57.

A pair of Andy Walsh three-pointers brought Wabash to within four and they could get no closer until Hodges hit the three-pointer at the 1:37 mark.

Botts finished with a career-high 29 as he hit 10-15 field goals including 5-6 from three-point range. Dillon also reached a career-best with 15 and Luke Lattner added 10. Tommy Fernitz led the Tigers with nine rebounds and swatted away a career-high five shots.

Walsh paced Wabash with 20 points including a 6-of-8 effort from behind the three-point line. Oetting added 12, while Kyle Aiton and Daniel Purvlicis each scored 10. Purvlicis and Pete Nicksic each had six rebounds as Wabash held a 32-24 edge on the boards.

DePauw shot 47.2 percent from the floor to Wabash's 52.2, while the Tigers knocked in 7-14 threes and the Little Giants hit 10-17.

The Tigers committed five turnovers to Wabash's 14 and held a 19-10 advantage in points off those turnovers.

DePauw wraps up NCAC play on Saturday with a 3 p.m. game at Ohio Wesleyan. With a win, the Tigers will earn the number-two seed in next week's conference tournament.

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