HIRAM, OHIO – Sophomore guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munore Falls) and Jamaal Watkins (South Euclid/Brush) scored a combined 56 points, with Stefanov posting a career-high 30 points, as the Hiram College men's basketball beat Kenyon College, 96-79, tonight (Wednesday, Feb. 1) in a North Coast Athletic Conference game at Price Gymnasium.
With the win, the Terriers improve to 12-8 overall and 5-6 in the NCAC. The Lords fall to 9-11 overall and 3-8 NCAC.
Kenyon scored the game's first two points on a pair of free-throws, but Hiram then scored five straight points on a layup by junior guard Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth) and a three-pointer by junior guard Justin Wisniewski (Macedonia/Nordonia) to give the Terriers a 5-2 lead and never trailed in the game again. Near the midway point of the opening half, Hiram recorded its first double-figure lead of the game of 11 points, 20-9, on a triple by senior guard Andrew Wiegand (Amherst/Firelands) and would eventually lead by as many as 13 points in the period, 28-15, on a jumper by Stefanov with 7:10 left before halftime. The closest the Lords would get in the half was eight points, 33-25, at the 3:52 mark, but the Terriers extended the margin back to double-digits and took a 41-29 advantage into the locker rooms.
Kenyon narrowed the gap to nine points, 46-37, early in the second half, but Hiram then went on a 17-7 scoring run that ended in a jumper by Watkins to give the Terriers their largest lead of the game at 19 points, 63-44, with 11:53 left to play. Hiram would find itself up by only 10 points, 85-75, at the 2:38 mark as Kenyon began to foul in a final effort to gain some ground. The Terriers made eight-of-10 free-throws to end the game, including a stretch of seven straight, to end the threat of a further Kenyon comeback and went on to claim the 96-79 victory.
Both teams shot well from the floor with Hiram shooting 54.8 percent (34-of-62) overall and Kenyon shot 52.2 percent (35-of-67). The difference in the game came at the free-throw line as the Terriers took 22 attempts and made 19 (86.4 percent). The Lords ended up shooting four-of-five (80.0 percent) at the charity stripe.
Kenyon was led in scoring by Brian Lebowitz with 18 points on nine-of-16 shooting (56.3 percent). Ikenna Nwadibia was second with 15 points and was followed by Anthony Chun with 13 points. Rounding out the high scorers for the Lords was John Bray with 11 points.
Hiram was led by Stefanov's 30 points on nine-of-14 shooting (64.3 percent), including four-of-seven (57.1 percent) from behind the arc, and a perfect eight-of-eight at the free-throw line. Watkins was second with 26 points and Wiegand added 14 points to go along with a game-high eight rebounds. Sheppard completed the list of double-figure scorers for the Terriers with 10 points.
Hiram will travel to Granville for a NCAC matchup against Denison University on Saturday, Feb. 4. The game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.