MEADVILLE, PA. – Senior guard Jamaal Watkins (South Euclid/Brush) scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a 65-60 loss against Allegheny (Pa.) College tonight (Wednesday, Jan. 25) in a North Coast Athletic Conference game in Meadville, Pa.
Following tonight's game, the Terriers fall to 11-7 overall and 4-5 in the NCAC. The Gators improve to 4-14 overall and 2-7 NCAC.
Hiram led Allegheny in the early minutes of the first half, but would only boast as much as a five-point edge, 13-8, in the first 8:31. The Gators took their first lead of the game with 11:29 left in the period and the two teams would go back-and-forth the rest of the way. The Terriers had a four-point advantage, 25-21, with 6:00 left before halftime thanks to a jumper by Watkins and later looked to be headed to a slim one-point lead at the break, but Allegheny evened the score at 30-30 on one-of-two free-throws just before time expired at the end of half.
Allegheny began the second half with an 11-6 scoring run to claim its largest lead of the game of seven points, 41-34, for the first time at the 16:57 mark. Hiram battled back holding the Gators scoreless during the next 3:43 while scoring four unanswered points on a pair of jumpers by sophomore guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) to pull the Terriers to within three points, 41-38, with 13:14 to go. Hiram would never take the lead as Allegheny extended its lead back to seven points on back-to-back buckets of its own making the score, 45-38. The Terriers made one final push late in the game and got to within a point on several occassions, including a 52-51 deficit on a three-pointer by Stefanov with 4:47 to play. But that would be as close as Hiram would get as the Terriers could not take control from the Gators in the final minutes and Allegheny went to claim the 65-60 victory.
Allegheny shot 40.3 percent (25-of-62) from the field and was led by the duo of Devone McLeod and James Ness who both scored 14 points. Ness also added seven rebounds. Ryan Stanko was the other Gator player in double-figures with 13 points. In addition, Clark Tritto grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
Hiram shot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) for the game and was led by Watkins' 22 points on nine-of-15 shooting (60.0 percent). Stefanov finished the game with 17 points to round out the high scorers.
Hiram will play its next two games at home beginning with a NCAC matchup against No. 19 nationally-ranked The College of Wooster on Saturday, Jan. 28 at Price Gymnasium. The game will be part of a basketball doubleheader with the Terrier women's team. The women will host Denison University at 1 p.m., followed by the men against the Fighting Scots at 3 p.m.