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Men’s Basketball Hangs On To Beat Oberlin For First Conference Win

OBERLIN, OHIO – The Hiram College men's basketball team recorded its first North Coasth Athletic Conference victory of the season with an 83-73 defeat of Oberlin College tonight (Wednesday, Dec. 7) in Oberlin.

With the win, the Terriers end a three-game winless streak and improve to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the NCAC. The Yeomen fall to 3-5 overall and 0-2 NCAC.

Hiram never trailed in the opening half despite several rallies by Oberlin. The Terriers outscored the Yeomen, 12-3, in the early minutes to take a sizeable nine-point lead to begin the contest. Hiram went on to lead by as many as 12 points, 17-5, at the 12:52 mark on a three-pointer by junior guard Tom Herchek (Randolph/Waterloo). Oberlin battled back with five straight points to narrow the gap to 17-10 with 11:41 left to play before the intermission. But Hiram answered with a mini 4-0 scoring run of its own to extend the lead back to double figures, 21-10. The Yeomen again cut the Terrier lead to single figures, 21-16, at the 9:22 mark, but an ensuing 7-0 run by Hiram which ended in a layup by freshman guard Branden Means (Canton), put the Terriers up by 12 points with 7:22 left in the half. Oberlin made one final rally before the end of the period with back-to-back three-pointers to end the scoring and trailed 39-36 at the break.

In the second half, Oberlin hung around and eventually took the lead, its first of the game, with 12:17 left to play with a score of 51-50. The Yeomen maintained their lead until the 6:07 mark thanks to a layup by senior guard Jamaal Watkins (South Euclid/Brush) as part of a 7-0 run to put the Terriers up by five points, 65-60, with 5:43 to go. Hiram built its lead to as many as 10 points, 72-62, with 2:26 to play and never allowed Oberlin to get to within seven points down the stretch as the Terriers went on to win by the final of 83-73.

Oberlin shot 41.0 percent (25-of-61) from the field and was led by Andrew Fox with team-highs of 23 points and nine rebounds. Geoff Simpson was second with 21 points and Josh Merritt added 13 points.

Hiram shot an impressive 49.2 percent (32-of-65) from the floor, including 82.4 percent (14-of-17) at the free-throw line. The Terriers were led in scoring by Watkins with a game-high 27 points on 13-of-19 shooting (68.4 percent). He also grabbed seven rebounds. Means and junior guard Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth) each scored 13 points and senior guard Andrew Wiegand (Amherst/Firelands) rounded out the top scorers with 10 points in addition to grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds.

Hiram will host Grove City (Pa.) College on Wednesday, Dec. 14 in a non-conference game at Price Gym. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.