HIRAM, OHIO – Sophomore guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, including connecting on four of his six three-pointers in the game, to lead the Hiram College men's basketball team past Westminster (Pa.) College, 91-75, tonight (Thursday, Dec. 22) in a non-conference game at Price Gymnasium.
With the win, the Terriers captured their fourth straight game and improve to 6-3 overall for the season. The Titans fall to 2-7 overall.
Stefanov made his first three three-point attempts in the first half as the Terriers found themselves up by eight points, 22-14, at the 15:00 minute mark. Westminster answered with back-to-back triples to get to make it a one possession game, 24-22. Hiram never allowed the Titans to take the lead the rest of the period and a mini 6-0 scoring run that ended with a pair of free-throws by Stefanov, gave the Terriers a bit of breathing room, 32-25, with 9:02 left in the period. But Westminster rallied again and trailed by just a point, 35-34, at the 6:15 mark. An ensuing three-pointer by senior guard Andrew Wiegand (Amherst/Firelands), sparked a 7-0 Terrier run to increase the Hiram advantage to eight points, 42-34, near the end of the half en route to a 44-39 margin at halftime.
Westminster hung around in the early minutes of the second half until a 9-0 run by Hiram gave the Terriers their first double-digit lead of the game, 59-47, with 14:05 left to play. The Hiram lead remained in double-figures for the majority of the period as the Titans wouldn't get any closer than nine points. The Terriers recorded their largest lead of the game of 18 points on two occassions late in the half, with the last one being a 91-73 lead on a dunk by senior guard Jamaal Watkins (South Euclid/Brush) with 20 seconds left. Westminster recorded the final points of the contest, but it was Hiram who'd come out on top with the final of 91-75.
Both teams shot well from the field with Westminster shooting 44.6 percent (29-of-65) for the game and Hiram converted 49.3 percent (36-of-73) of its attempts. The difference would come at the free-throw line as the Terriers shot an impressive 90.9 percent (10-of-11) and the Titans shot just 54.5 percent (six-of-11). Hiram also out-rebounded Westminster, 45-29.
The Titans were led by Doug Smith with 20 points on seven-of-15 shooting (46.7 percent), including six-of-13 (46.2 percent) from three-point range. Adam Carswell was second in scoring at 12 points and Ron Martino and Ben Donlow each added 11 points. Donlow also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
Hiram was led by Stefanov's 24 points on seven-of-11 shooting (63.6 percent) and six-of-nine (66.7 percent) from behind the arc. Wiegand recorded his third double-double of the season with 20 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Watkins and junior guard Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth) rounded out the high scorers with 17 points each. In addition, junior guard Justin Wisniewski (Macedonia/Nordonia) dished out a game and career-tying high 10 assists.
Hiram will be idle until after the Christmas holiday and will next play in the annual College of Wooster "Mose" Hole/Kiwanis Classic on Thursday-Friday, Dec. 29-30. The Terriers will take on Heidelberg University on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and will then play Thiel (Pa.) College on Friday also beginning at 5:30 p.m.