DELAWARE, OHIO – The Hiram College men's basketball team and Ohio Wesleyan University combined to score 182 points, but it would be the Terriers who would come out on the losing end of a 96-86 decision tonight (Tuesday, Feb. 21) in a quarterfinal game of the 2012 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament in Delaware.
Following tonight's game, the Terriers end their season with a 14-12 overall record. The Battling Bishops improve to 20-6 overall and will advance to the semifinal round on Friday (Feb. 24).
Hiram looked to make a statement early beginning the game with a 7-1 scoring run that ended in a jumper by senior gaurd Jamaal Watkins (South Euclid/Brush). The Terriers went on lead by as many as 11 points in the period, 16-5, on another bucket by Watkins at the 14:12 minute mark. OWU then began to chip away at the Hiram lead and found itself down by only two points on two occassions with the last one being a 34-32 deficit with 6:16 left in the half. Hiram managed to increase its lead to a more manageable seven points, 39-32, with just over five minutes left thanks to a three-pointer by senior guard Andrew Wiegand (Amherst/Firelands). But the Bishops would come back again and later took a 44-42 lead at the 1:00 minute mark. Watkins tallied the final points of the half to even the score at 44-44 heading into the locker rooms.
It would be all OWU in the second half as the Bishops shot an impressive 60.0 percent (15-of-25) from the floor and outscored Hiram, 52-42. Hiram trailed for the majority of the period, but would battle back to have a slim one-point lead, 72-71, thanks to a layup by junior guard Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth) that ended a mini 5-0 run. OWU came right back to take the lead with a 9-2 run to go up by seven points, 80-73, with 5:23 left to play. The Terriers made one final charge late in the half and cut the deficit to five points, 89-84, with just under two minutes remaining. But Hiram could not get any closer as OWU free-throws and offensive rebounds sealed a 96-86 victory.
OWU shot 54.5 percent (30-of-55) overall for the game and went to the free-throw line a total of 42 times and ended up shooting 31-of-42 (73.8 percent) from the charity stripe. The Bishops were led in scoring by Tim Brady with a game-high 33 points on seven-of-16 shooting (43.8 percent), including 15-of-17 at the free-throw line (88.2 percent). Three other players scored in double-figures with Marshall Morris scoring 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Reuel Rogers scored 13 points and Dre White added 10 points.
Hiram shot 46.9 percent (30-of-64) from the field, including 17-of-21 (81.0 percent) from the free-throw line. Individually, the Terriers were led by Watkins who scored a career-high 32 points in his final game on 11-of-23 shooting (47.8 percent) and converted 10-of-11 free-throws (90.9 percent). He also grabbed 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season to go along with a team-high six assists. Sheppard was second with 20 points and the duo of Wiegand and sophomore guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) rounded out the high scorers with 13 points each.