Sophomore Jalen Kirksey tallied tallied the first game winner of his career on Wednesday evening as Hiram defeated Denison University 81-80 for their first conference win of the season.
Despite leading for nearly the entirety of the game, the Terriers found themselves trailing by one (80-79) after a furious, late-game comeback by the Big Red was capped by a three from Claude Chandonnet with six seconds to play.
The Terriers took a full timeout to set up a play, but needed to go the full length of the court. The proved to be no problem for Kirksey.
Hiram's sophomore, and leading scorer in the game, was tasked with inbounding the ball. Following the pass in to Brodgie Gordon, Kirksey received the ball back and dribbled the length of the court, finishing at the other end between two Big Red defenders with just a second remaining on the clock.
Hiram's defense didn't allow an open look for Denison on the other end and secured the one-point win.
Despite the nail-biting win, the Terriers actually dominated a majority of the game, leading by as many as 20 (69-49) with just ten minutes remaining in regulation.
The Terriers began to control the game in the first half after trailing just briefly in the opening minute. Hiram opened their largest lead of the first 20 minutes to 15 thanks to a 12-4 run.
Four different Terriers made a basket in the run, including a pair of triples from Gordon and Christian Crespo. When the first half ended, Hiram found themselves with a nine-point advantage (42-33).
Ahead by ten with 13 to play, Hiram used a 13-3 run to push the lead to 20. Sherman Dean III sparked the run with seven of Hiram's 13 points.
With just 4:13 to play, another three by Gordon kept the Terrier lead in double figures (74-60), but the Terriers were outscored 20-7 over the final four minutes.
Denison knocked down four triples in the final four minutes to take the one-point lead, before Kirksey saved the day for the Terriers to give Hiram the win.
Hiram put together another balanced scoring effort as seven of the Terriers nine players to see the floor scored at least eight points.
Christian Crespo totaled 10 while Dean finished with nine and Gordon, eight.
Hiram improves their overall record (3-3) and NCAC record (1-1) to .500 with the win, while Denison falls to 1-5.
The Terriers will continue conference action on Saturday, December 8, as they play host to Ohio Wesleyan University. The matchup with the Battling Bishops is scheduled for 3 p.m.