Tigers Notch Four-Peat at Tampa Bay Shootout

Tigers Notch Four-Peat at Tampa Bay Shootout

December 30, 2012

Official Tournament Site | Conn. Coll./Westminster BoxDePauw/LaGrange Box

Connor RichTampa, Fla. – The DePauw men’s basketball squad (7-4) took home its fourth consecutive Tampa Bay Shootout title Sunday afternoon with a decisive 83-63 victory over LaGrange College (7-2) on Fenlon Court at the Tampa Preparatory School.

Sophomore Connor Rich (pictured) copped tournament MVP honors after a team-leading 16 points on 4-7 shooting from behind the arc and 6-9 overall. Joining Rich on the all-tournament team was DePauw co-captain Barry Flynn who followed up an 11-point, five-rebound performance in the opening-round win over Connecticut College with his third double-double of the season (13 points, 12 rebounds) in the title game. LaGrange’s Denzel Robinson, Connecticut College’s Matt Vadas and Westminster’s Paul Carswell rounded out the all-tournament squad.

Pat Haggin added 12 points in the win and Michael Wilkison chipped in 10 for the Tigers. LaGrange’s Robinson led all scorers with 17 followed by Nick Mitchell with 13 points and Dustin Baxter with 11.

For the game the Tigers shot 50.8 percent from the field marking the first time since Jan. 27, 2008 that they've shot over 50 percent from the floor in three consecutive outings.

The Tigers held LaGrange to 37.5% shooting in the game, their second-lowest shooting percentage of the season. Furthermore, this marks the first time DePauw has held four consecutive opponents to under 40% shooting in consecutive games since the 2006-07 season.

For the second day in a row the Tigers jumped out to an early lead and cruised to victory at the end. Never trailing during the game, the Tigers led the Panthers, 17-6, after a Flynn layup, forcing LaGrange head coach Kendal Wallace to call a timeout. After the stoppage, DePauw continued its dominance on both ends, stretching its first half lead to as many as 13.

The play of DePauw’s bench was the difference in the first half, outscoring LaGrange, 18-0 in the first stanza. With the help of their reserves, the Tigers led the Panthers 45-32 going to the locker room.

As the second half commenced, DePauw went on a 5-0 run to stretch the lead to 18 with the help of three points from forward Tommy Fernitz and a layup from freshman guard Adam Botts forcing Wallace to call another LaGrange timeout.

After play resumed, the Panthers responded, going on a 12-3 run, closing the gap to 53-44 with just over 12 minutes left. However, that momentum changed when LaGrange's bench was whistled for a technical foul.

Kevin Sullivan hit one of the two technical tosses which started the Tigers on an 18-4 stretch and the Panthers got no closer than 19 the rest of the way.

This was the second tournament victory of the season for DePauw after winning the Mike Rokicki Community vs. Cancer Challenge earlier in the campaign.

DePauw outrebounded LaGrange 42-37 and has outrebounded nine of its 11 opponents this season. This was also just the second time all season that the Panthers had been outrebounded.

"It was a great team win versus a quality opponent, head coach Bill Fenlon said. "Our effort and energy on defense and the boards were outstanding. Hopefully we can gain some momentum from this weekend and continue to improve."

In the third-place game, Connecticut College defeated Westminster 79-69. After being held to just eight points by DePauw the previous night, Vadas, Connecticut College’s sharpshooter, hit nine three-pointers en route to dropping 43 points and hauling in nine rebounds. His scoring output sets the Shootout record for points scored in a game.

DePauw returns to the floor on Friday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m. as it welcomes Allegheny to Neal Fieldhouse in a North Coast Athletic Conference battle.

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).