By Julian Howell, Sports Editor

The Denison Big Red men’s basketball team has had one big problem this year: finishing games.

“We’ll play a great half of basketball and have a not-so-good half of basketball. There has to be an emphasis of playing a complete game and eliminating lapses of inconsistent play,” Head Coach Bob Gholini said.

And on Wednesday night, this noticeable weakness was exposed when the Big Red hosted the #23 ranked DePauw Tigers at the Mitchell Center.

The first half ended with the Tigers leading the Big Red 39-28. The Big Red would respond with a second half surge, outscoring the Tigers 35-29.

However, the good second half wasn’t enough for the Denison Big Red to beat the DePauw Tigers with a close loss of 68-63.

Coach Bob Gholini commended his team for its strong second half performance but attributed the team coming up short to its low field goal percentage and lack of execution.

“I hate to say this over and over again, but we didn’t execute on Wednesday. I was happy with the way we played in the second half but finished the game shooting 39.6% from the field. Shooting has been a problem for us all year. Our guys are always getting good looks, but they just aren’t falling.”

The next game for the Denison Big Red was against the Wittenberg Tigers at their place.

Earlier in the season, the Big Red suffered a lopsided loss to Tigers at home earlier in the season, 97-69.

With the tough loss earlier in the season, one would think that the Big Red would have anxiety going into this rematch. However, Coach Gholini was cautiously optimistic.

“If we execute on both sides of the floor, we can compete with them. There are no feelings of anxiety whatsoever. We have a game plan, and we are going to stick to that game plan.”

This was the perfect oppurtunity for DU to put some fire in their bellies and some momentum in their hearts.

And with new found courage and a whole lot of clutch threes, DU prevailed in the end, 63-60.

Leading the way for DU was Alex Longi, senior guard, who happens to be a two-time academic all-district winner, with 14 points and junior guard Robby Weingart with 13 points.

A win like this over Wittenberg, who was then tied for first in the conference, could be an ignitor for the Big Red who look to jump up in the standings and make a NCAC tournament run.

Their next game is Feb. 5th in Oberlin. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.