GAMBIER, OHIO – Hiram College senior guard Jamaal Watkins (South Euclid/Brush) recorded his fifth double-double of the season with a game-high 25 points to go along with 11 rebounds to lead the Terrier men's basketball team in a 77-67 win against Kenyon College today (Saturday, Jan. 14) in a North Coast Athletic Conference game in Gambier.
With the win, the Terriers improve to 10-5 overall and 3-3 in the NCAC. The Lords fall to 7-8 overall and 1-5 NCAC.
Hiram never trailed in the game and jumped out early in the first half scoring the game's first six points with four of those points being scored by Watkins. The Terriers slowly began to pull away and found themselves up by eight points, 24-16, near the midway point of the half on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls). The Lords answered with a 5-0 scoring run to cut the deficit to three points, but Hiram answered with an ensuing 12-2 run of its own that ended in a jumper by Watkins to give Hiram its largest lead of the period of 13 points, 36-23, with 8:44 left to play before halftime. Following a triple by junior guard Justin Wisniewski (Macedonia/Nordonia) late in the half that gave the Terriers a 12-point lead, neither team scored any points in the final 3:31 as Hiram took a 43-31 advantage into the intermission.
Hiram maintained a double-digit lead in the opening minutes of the second half, but an 11-3 run by Kenyon that spanned 5:14 allowed the Lords to get to within five points, 58-53, with 11:07 left to play. The Terriers then outscored the Lords, 10-4, to extend the lead back to double-figures, 68-57, with 2:43 to go. Kenyon would not get any closer than seven points the rest of the way as Hiram went on to the 77-67 win.
Hiram shot 44.4 percent (28-of-63) for the game and 86.7 percent (13-of-15) at the free-throw line. Kenyon shot 39.1 percent from the field (25-of-64), including 19.0 percent (four-of-21) from behind the arc and 52.0 percent (13-of-25) at the charity stripe.
The Lords were led in scoring by Ikenna Nwadibia with 18 points on eight-of-12 shooting (66.7 percent). He also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds. Brian Lebowitz was the only other Kenyon player in double-figures with 17 points.
Hiram was paced by Watkins' 25 points on 10-of-20 shooting (50.0 percent) and 11 boards. It marked is eighth game scoring 20 or more points this season and fifth of his last six games. Stefanov was second in scoring with 12 points, followed by junior guard Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth) with 11 poitns. Rounding out the high scorers was senior guard Andrew Wiegand (Amherst/Firelands) with 10 points to go along with eight rebounds.
Hiram wraps up its three-game road trip when it travels to Delaware for a NCAC game against Ohio Wesleyan University on Wednesday, Jan. 18. The game will be part of a basketball doubleheader with the Terrier women's team. The women will take on the Battling Bishops at 6 p.m., followed by the men at 8 p.m.