Dec. 20 - HIRAM, Ohio - The Terrier men's basketball team continued to protect their home court during the early portion of the season, as Hiram upended Bluffton University, 79-61, on Wednesday evening.
Led by senior Kelvin Jones and sophomore Brevin Dye, Hiram outworked the Beavers on the glass and locked down defensively. The duo combined for 26 points and 20 rebounds, as both Dye and Jones finished the day with a double-double.
For Dye, the double-double marked the first of his career as he tallied 11 points off the bench to lead all reserve scorers for either side. With his efforts, Hiram was lifted up by the second unit, outscoring the Bluffton bench 37-14.
Jones scored in double figures for the ninth-consecutive game, tallying his sixth double-double of the campaign. The senior finished with a game-high 15 on 5-of-7 shooting, posting his fourth double-double in five games.
For Hiram, the win marked their fifth in a row, at home, to open the season. The Terriers have yet to drop a game at Price Gymnasium, outscoring their opponents by 15 points per game in the friendly confines.
Things did not start the Terriers' way, as the Beavers came out firing on all cylinders. Bluffton jumped out to an 11-point lead through the first eight minutes of the contest, outscoring Hiram 20-9.
A three-point basket by Marcel Rice would help spark Hiram, who responded with a 14-2 run over the next four minutes of the game, to re-take a one-point lead.
Hiram would then take the lead on a hustle-play by Jalen Kirksey. The freshman blocked a Bluffton three-point attempt, before picking it out of the air and driving the length of the court for a layup and an "old-fashioned" three-point play. The made free throw gave the Terriers a 23-22 advantage.
From that point, the remainder of the first half remained close, with Hiram holding a slim, 33-31, lead at the break.
The second stanza was all Hiram, as the Terriers outscored Bluffton 46-30 in the final 20 minutes.
Hiram never trailed in the half, but found themselves tied 37-37 with 14:55 remaining in the game.
The run of the night came from that point, as Hiram used a 12-2 run to take their first double-digit lead of the game (49-39) and force a Bluffton timeout. All ten points came from the Terrier bench as Rice kicked off another run with his second three of the night. Sherman Dean III followed with five-straight points before Dye finished off the run with back-to-back baskets.
The Terrier advantage would continue to grow before settling on the 18-point difference. Freshman Sam Hitchcock gave Hiram their largest lead of the night with 33 seconds remaining, and the game finished by the final of 79-61.
Along with Jones and Dye, Kirksey finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Dean posted eight points off the bench, while Rice and Jake Williams each tallied six points in the effort.
Hiram continued to share the ball well, totaling 13 more assists on the night. At home, the Terriers are collecting an assist on 56% of their made baskets (16.2 assists on 28.6 FG/night).
The Terriers will next be in action over the holiday break as the travel to Daytona Beach, Fla. to participate in the Land of Magic Classic. Hiram will first take on Wilkes College on Thursday, Dec. 28 (7 PM), before squaring off with Ithaca (N.Y.) on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 11:00 AM.