HIRAM, OHIO – Despite leading for the majority of the game, the Hiram College men's basketball team fell on the losing end of an 80-78 decision against Case today (Saturday, Dec. 3) in a non-conference game at Price Gymnasium.
With the loss, the Terriers drop to 2-3 overall and the Spartans improve to 4-2 overall for the season.
Neither team would lead by more than four points in the first seven minutes of the game until a 9-0 scoring run by Hiram near the midway point of the half gave the Terriers an eight-point margin, 26-18, on a layup by sophomore guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) with 10:40 left before halftime. Case battled back to get to within three points, 29-26, at the 6:58 mark, but Hiram responded again outscoring the Spartans, 13-5, to record its largest lead of the period of 11 points, 42-31, thanks to one-of-two free-throws by senior guard Andrew Wiegand (Amherst/Firelands) with 2:55 on the clock. Case ended the half on an 11-4 run of its own to cut the deficit back to single figures with a halftime score of 46-42.
In the second half, Hiram looked to take control scoring the first eight points to post its largest lead of the game, 54-42, on a jumper by senior guard Jamaal Watkins (South Euclid/Brush) with 17:42 left to play. Case rallied again and chipped away at the Terrier lead and eventually moved ahead of Hiram on the scoreboard with its first lead since the 13:00 minute mark of the first half with a 62-61 edge with 10:06 to go. The Spartans relinquished the lead only once in the final 10 minutes, but Hiram would have one more chance to even the score and force a possible overtime or win the game on a last second three-pointer. Case led by two points, 80-78, with 11 seconds left, but would miss both free-throw attempts that would've sealed the victory for the Spartans. The Terriers got the rebound off of the second errant free-throw and would get a good look from the top of the key as time expired. The shot attempt rimmed out resulting in the 80-78 victory for Case.
Case shot 59.6 percent (31-of-52) from the floor for the game, including a blistering 63.6 percent (14-of-22) in the second half. Hiram finished the game shooting 45.5 percent (30-of-66) overall from the field.
The Spartans had three players in double-figures led by David Thompson with 21 points on nine-of-13 shooting (69.2 percent). Austin Fowler was second with 18 points and Julien Person added 10 points. In addition, Tom Summers grabed a game-high 13 rebounds.
Hiram was led by Watkins who recorded his second career double-double with a game and career-high 31 points on 12-of-15 shooting (80.0 percent) to go along with 10 rebounds. Junior guard Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth) was second with 20 points and Stefanov rounded out the high scorers with 11 points.
Hiram will travel to Oberlin for a North Coast Athletic Conference game against Oberlin College on Wednesday, Dec. 7. The game will be part of a basketball doubleheader with the Terrier women's team. The women will take on Oberlin at 6 p.m., followed by the men at 8 p.m.