St. Louis, Mo.- DePauw hit 14 threes on 21 attempts to knock off the 14th-ranked Washington (Mo.) Bears, 83-73, in the first-round of the 2015 NCAA Division III Tournament this evening.
The Tigers improved to 20-9 on the year and will play Augustana Saturday night in Rock Island, Ill. The Bears finish the season with a 20-6 overall record.
Washington jumped out to a fast start, opening the contest on an 11-3 run, forcing four DePauw turnovers. Connor Rich kept the Tigers alive, nailing 4-for-4 from three and scoring 12 of DePauw's first 14 points.
Rich's three with 14:50 left in the half put the Tigers in front and they would hold the lead for the remainder of the half. Luke Lattner hit a layup with 8:13 on the clock, giving DePauw its biggest lead at 32-20. The Bears would close on a 15-8 run to enter the halftime break trailing 40-35.
The Tigers hit 75.0 percent from three (9-of-12), shooting 52.0 percent (13-of-25) from the floor. Lattner led all scorers with 13 points, while Rich added 12. Foul trouble plagued both teams in the half; notably absent was DePauw big-man Tommy Fernitz, as he played just three minutes, picking up two quick fouls.
In the second stanza, the Bears opened with a 14- 8 run, taking a one-point lead at the 16:02 mark. DePauw battled back with a combination of threes and points down low from Fernitz. With 8:29 left Bradley Fey sank his second-straight three to give the Tigers a seven-point lead.
Wash U. again fought back with a 10-2 run. The Bears appeared to have the momentum swing in their direction following a Fey technical for taunting with 6:23 on the clock.
Trailing 66-65, DePauw leaned on the great equalizer to retake the lead as Bob Dillon nailed a three with 5:48 remaining. The next four minutes were hotly contested, featuring two ties and three lead changes. Fernitz put the Tigers up one with 1:46 left and following a Wash U. turnover Lattner went 1-of-2 from the charity stripe, giving DePauw a 75-73 lead with 1:10 on the clock.
After a Bears' missed three and Tiger timeout, Lattner drove to the hoop, sinking a layup with 35 ticks remaining to give DePauw a 77-73 lead. The Tigers converted six-straight free-throw attempts down the stretch, including two after a Wash U. technical, sealing the 10-point victory.
Six Tigers finished with double-digit points, paced by Lattner with 18. Fernitz bounced back scoring 13 points in the second half, while only picking up one foul. Dillon dropped in 13 points, while Fey and Rich each finished with 12 points and Frank Patton III added 10. DePauw shot 52.8 percent (28-of-53) and 65.0 percent (13-of-20) from the free-throw line.
David Fatoki led all scorers with 19 points and Nick Burt added 14 points, while Matt Palucki and Luke Silverman-Lloyd scored 13 points and 10 points respectively. Wash U. shot 44.4 percent (24-of-54) from the floor, but just 4-of-15 (26.7%) from three. The Bears converted on 21-of-28 (75%) free-throws.
DePauw held a 35-27 rebounding advantage and outscored Wash U. 48-9 on bench points. The Tigers lost the turnover battle 17-11 and the Bears converted the 17 turnovers to 31 points.
In the victory, Fernitz broke his own regular-season blocks (53) record, currently swatting 54 shots. DePauw picked up its first NCAA Tournament victory since a 2002 victory over Wash U. Additionally, tonight's win marks the first time the Tigers won on an opponent's court since the Round of 16 in 1990 at St. Thomas.
The Tigers travel to Augustana for an 7 p.m. CST contest on Saturday. DePauw played at Augustana in the NCAA First Round in 1993; head coach Bill Fenlon's first season with the Tigers.
Be sure to follow the DePauw men's basketball team's run through the NCAA Tournament on depauwtigers.com and on Twitter @DePauwAthletics / @DePauw_MBB.