Jan. 7 – HIRAM, Ohio – Senior Jeremiah Thomas beat the clock, and Wittenberg University, with a fast-break layup in the final moments as the Hiram men's basketball team took down the Tigers, 60-58, on Saturday afternoon.
Hiram erased a 15-point, second-half deficit, coming all the way back to snatch the victory from the Tigers (9-4, 3-3 NCAC) on the final play of the game. Following a great defensive stand with under ten seconds to play, a rebound and a half-court outlet pass from Ryan Greenwood, got the ball into the hands of Thomas, who beat the clock to give the Terriers (6-6, 3-2 NCAC) the victory.
Greenwood and Thomas both led the way throughout the game for the Terriers, combining for 21 of the team's 60 points and shooting 7-of-11 from the field. Greenwood posted a game-high 12 points, while Thomas added nine off the bench.
The game did not start in the Terriers favor, as the Tigers, who came into the game as the conference's stoutest defense (allowing less than 60 points per game), held Hiram to 25 percent shooting and just 19 first-half points.
The hosts found themselves trailing by 14 at the break, 33-19, and saw that deficit grow to as large as 15 points early in the second half.
Over the final 18 minutes of the game, Hiram outscored Wittenberg 38-21 to turn the 15-point deficit into the two-point win.
Hiram first chipped into the lead by using a 13-2 run that spanned six minutes of game time, pulling the score to 39-35 with 12:41 to play. Following buckets by Joe Caspio and Greenwood, five-straight points by Paul Ortiz cut the advantage to eight. Thomas then tallied a basket before a pair of free throws from Kelvin Jones made the score a four-point margin.
From there, however, the Tiger lead would balloon to eight points on two-separate occasions, including 51-43 with 6:43 remaining.
Over the next five minutes, Hiram would make another move, outscoring Wittenberg 11-3 to tie the game for just the second time, 54-54. Five different players scored in the run, including three points, each, from Jones and Terrence Warren.
In the final 1:30, the teams traded blows like prize fighters, with each side producing a pair of successful offensive trips. Following a layup from the Tigers' Chad Roy, the Terriers responded with a basket by Isaiah Matthews.
Another trip for Wittenberg produced a second layup from Roy, which was answered on Hiram's end by a layup from Warren, setting the stage for the game's final sequence:
Along with Greenwood and Thomas, the Terriers saw six players tally at least seven points, including all five starters. Warren finished the game with nine points, while Jones and Ortiz notched seven, each, and Matthews finished with six.
Hiram will continue NCAC action on Wednesday, Jan. 11, when they play host to Ohio Wesleyan University. The matchup is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip.