HIRAM, OHIO – Despite the final score, the Hiram College men's basketball team lost a hard-fought game against No. 19 nationally-ranked The College of Wooster, 88-73, this afternoon (Saturday, Jan. 28) in a North Coast Athletic Conference game at Price Gymnasium.
Following today's game, the Terriers are now 11-8 overall and 4-6 in the NCAC. The Fighting Scots improve to 16-3 overall and 7-3 NCAC.
Both teams played a competitive first half with four ties and five lead changes. Hiram got off to a quick start outscoring Wooster 11-4 in the first 5:18 to take the early lead. Wooster answered with an 11-2 scoring run to take the lead, 15-13, at the 11:45 minute mark. The Scots later looked to take control boasting a nine-point advantage, 35-26, with 4:30 left before the intermission. But senior guard Jamaal Watkins (South Euclid/Brush) later connected on a basket that sparked an 8-0 run to get the Terriers to within a point, 35-34, with 2:53 left in the period. Hiram would not take the lead however in the final minutes, despite evening the score at 38-38 on a bucket by junior guard Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth) with 49 seconds remaining in the half. The Scots took the lead on their ensuing possession and held on to the two-point edge, 40-38, at the break.
The teams continued their back-and-fourth play in the early minutes of the second half. Wooster began to pull away near the midway point of the period taking a seven-point lead, 60-53, at the 12:22 mark. Following a basket by Watkins, the Scots took control with a 10-0 run extending their lead to double-figures for the first time in the game with a score of 70-55 with 8:34 left in the game. Hiram would have to play catchup the rest of the way and narrowed the gap to 10 points, 77-67, thanks to a layup by Watkins at the 4:39 mark. But Wooster proved too strong in the end as the Scots increased the lead back to 15 points thanks to an ensuing 5-0 mini run and went on to capture the 88-73 victory.
Both teams shot well from the floor with the edge going in favor of Wooster who shot 46.7 percent (28-of-60) overall. Hiram finished the game shooting 45.2 percent (28-of-62) from the field. The difference for the Scots came from three-point range and at the foul line as Wooster converted 42.3 percent (11-of-26) from long range and took 31 free-throw attempts, making 21 of those attempts.
Wooster was led in scoring by Justin Hallowell with a game-high 23 points on seven-of-14 shooting (50.0 percent). Matt Fegan ended the game with 20 points and Kenny DeBoer rounded out the high scorers for Wooster with 15 points.
Watkins paced Hiram with 20 points on nine-of-16 shooting (56.3 percent). He also grabbed a game-tying high eight rebounds and added a game-high six assists. Two other Terrier players scored in double-figures with Sheppard scoring 14 points and junior forward Steve Zivoder (Nelson/Garfield) added 12 points.
Hiram will look to rebound from today's loss when it hosts Kenyon College on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Price Gym. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.