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Owls second-half charge not enough to beat Bishops

DELAWARE, Ohio – The Kenyon College Owls struggled in the first half on Wednesday night as the team made the short trip to Delaware, Ohio to take on North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) opponent Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops. 

Despite the Owls’ best efforts to make a comeback in the second half, shooting woes to start the contest plagued Kenyon, falling 47-72 to the Bishops.

Gefen Bar-Cohen and Dylan Fuerst headlined Kenyon’s offensive effort, each scoring seven points. 

While Kenyon (5-17, 3-10 NCAC) opened the second half strong, the Owls started the game very slow, shooting 1-12 from the field and allowing Ohio Wesleyan (10-13, 7-7 NCAC) to open up an 11-2 five minutes into the contest. 

With the starting unit coming up empty, Kenyon turned to Justin Gagnon and Lucas Friedman, who scored six and five first-half points respectively, as 13 of the Owls’ 18 points in the first half came from the bench. 

Connor Moss added five in the first while Anthony Testa hit two free throws in the closing seconds to set Kenyon behind 18-35 after 20 minutes, as the Owls shot 4-for-24 in the first half with zero assists recorded. 

To open the second half, however, an intensified Owls squad flew around on both sides of the ball, as a deep three-pointer by Murathan Kocaman and baskets from Fuerst and Nick Nelson led Kenyon to a 7-0 run, shooting 4-for-4 from the field to put the Owls down by 10 at 25-35.

Peter Haas backed up the run by scoring four straight points to cut the deficit to single-digits, while Bar-Cohen found the basket for the first time as the Owls trailed 34-42 with 15 minutes remaining.

Hass then found Fuerst on a back door cut for an easy basket and set a tough screen to free up Testa on the next possession as the sharpshooter buried a three to bring the Owls within five points nearing the halfway mark of the half, down 39-44.

Ohio Wesleyan, undeterred by the Owls’ hot start to the second half, weathered the storm and pulled away with a 17-5 run on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor to put the Bishops up by 20 with five minutes to play, a deficit which never truly would be challenged for the rest of the contest. 

In the end, the Bishops bested the Owls 47-72, dropping Kenyon’s season-long record to 5-17 and 3-10 in the conference. The squad returns to Gambier to honor the 2024 Senior Class on Saturday, February 10th as the Owls take on the Denison University Big Red at 2:00 pm from Tomsich Arena.

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