Feb. 4 – HIRAM, Ohio - In the second game of a back-to-back, the Hiram College men's basketball team put together a complete-team effort to upend DePauw, 85-71, in a crucial NCAC matchup on Saturday afternoon.
The win not only improved the Terriers record to 7-7 in conference play (10-11 overall), but pulled Hiram to two games clear of the Tigers in the conference standings while splitting the season series.
Hiram played efficiently in the win, posting 17 assists while committing just 12 turnovers. The Terriers also shot .492 for the game, including shooting 16-of-28 in the second half (.571).
The Terriers controlled the entirety of the contest, with DePauw tying the game just one time throughout the 40 minutes. Hiram opened the game on an 18-8 run in the first seven minutes to run the lead to double digits.
Five different players tallied a bucket in the run, led by eight early points from junior Paul Ortiz. Senior Kyle Deckerd added a steal and fast-break score, while Jeremiah Thomas, Marcel Rice and Kelvin Jones all added points to the run.
The Hiram lead would fluctuate between 11 and six points throughout the final ten minutes of the first half. Late in the opening stanza, the hosts would extend the lead to 37-26 on a bucket by Joe Caspio. DePauw, however, would close the half on a 5-0 run, to close the gap to 37-31 at the break.
The Terriers used balanced scoring in the first half to get the job done, as four different players scored at least six points. Ortiz and Jones led the way with eight each, while Thomas posted seven and Caspio, six, in the opening half.
Still leading by six with 14:09 remaining in the game (49-43), the Terriers would outscore the Tigers 14-6 over the next three minutes to extend the advantage to 63-49 with 10:01 to play. Once again, Hiram spread the ball around, as six different players contributed at least two points.
Isaiah Matthews sparked the run with a dunk off a feed from Deckerd. Caspio and Ryan Greenwood then followed with back-to-back buckets, before Deckerd and Thomas added points from the line. Jones then finished off the run with four-straight points.
Late in the action the Terriers would push their lead to the largest of the game, as a three-point bucket by Brevin Dye extended the advantage to 19 points (85-66) with 1:19 to play. Hiram would then coast to the 14-point lead.
Four players finished in double figures, led by an 11th double-double from Jones. The junior big man finished with 20 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting while adding 16 boards. Ortiz added 16 points to the efforts, while Thomas posted 12 and Caspio, 10.
Hiram controlled the boards, outrebounding DePauw 42-28, including 14 offensive rebounds which led to a 23-11 advantage in second-chance points.
Defensively, the guard play, led by freshman Austin Blatt, helped to lock down the NCAC's leading scorer, Luke Lattner. Lattner came into the matchup averaging a conference-best 21.4 points. Blatt, who finished the game with a team-high three steals, and the Terrier defense held him to just 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting.
Hiram will continue conference action as they begin a three-game road trip at Ohio Wesleyan University on Wednesday, February 8. The matchup with the Battling Bishops is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.