Section: Basketball

Owls close out season with home loss to Denison Big Red

Owls close out season with home loss to Denison Big Red

Bar-Cohen led the team in scoring. | SEJIN KIM/SID/NCAA

On Saturday, the Kenyon men’s basketball team closed out the 2022-23 season with a loss at home to Denison University. Though the Owls stayed close throughout the first half, the Big Red took over in the final 20 minutes.

Looking to pick up its first conference victory, Kenyon scored the game’s first points. The Owls grew their lead early, riding strong shooting from Nick Lewis ’23 and Gefen Bar-Cohen ’25. Kenyon held a 14-10 advantage just over halfway through the first frame, at which point Denison seized the game’s momentum. The Big Red got within a point with a triple and then took their first lead of the day with a layup. The two teams traded points down the stretch, and the Owls even took a 22-20 lead with five minutes left in the half thanks to a 3-pointer from Lewis. With under a minute to play in the half, Denison hit a three and looked ready to head into halftime with a slim three-point lead, but an and-one layup from Bar-Cohen tied the score at 26-26. 

The first half’s back-and-forth play continued in the latter frame, with the Big Red holding onto a one-point advantage after four minutes. Denison then went on a 19-4 run to put Kenyon on the wrong side of a 54-38 lead. Facing a seemingly insurmountable deficit, Lewis and Bar-Cohen took over again. The two led the Owls on an 18-6 run to pull within four points with just under five minutes left to play. Unfortunately, the comeback was not meant to be, as strong 3-point shooting down the stretch put the game away for the Big Red. In its final game of the season, Kenyon fell 72-60.

For Bar-Cohen, who finished the day with 17 points and led the team with 15.1 points per game on the season, the contest came down to Denison’s second-half offense. “We were able to survive the first [run] and cut their lead back down to just four, but the second run buried us too late in the game, and we ran out of time to fight back,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. Kenyon’s struggles against Denison reflected a broader theme of the Owls’ season, in Bar-Cohen’s eyes: “There comes a time in almost every game where our intensity starts to slip and that’s when the other teams go on runs. If we eliminate these lapses, we will win a lot more games.”

Kenyon more than doubled its win total from 2021-22 (3-22), but the team’s winless conference record hung heavy over the rest of the season, as the Owls finished 7-18 (0-16 NCAC). With the 2022-23 season in the rearview mirror, Bar-Cohen is looking forward to the team coming back stronger in the future. “While we did not see the results that we had hoped for this year, we still developed and matured as a team,” he said. “We’ve made improvements and progress since last year and we are only going to get better.”

Despite a disappointing end to the season, Bar-Cohen is confident that better days lie ahead for the Owls. “We want to win. Our goal for the coming years is to win the conference,” he said. “It may seem far-fetched right now, but we’re going to start winning a lot of games really soon.”


Comments for this article have closed. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email us at