WOOSTER, OHIO – Senior guard Jamaal Watkins (South Euclid/Brush) recorded his third double-double of the season with game-highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Hiram College men's basketball team past Heidelberg University, 88-77, tonight (Thursday, Dec. 29) in its first game of the Mose/Hole Kiwanis Classic hosted by The College of Wooster in Wooster.
The Terriers improve to 7-3 overall for the season and captured their fifth straight victory. The Student Princes fall to 3-7 overall.
Both teams played a heavily contested first half with six ties and four lead changes. Heidelberg led by as many as four points in the early minutes, but an 8-0 scoring run by Hiram that ended in a jumper by junior guard Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth) gave the Terriers a three-point edge, 11-8, at the 14:35 mark. Hiram recorded its largest lead of the period with 9:11 left before halftime on a layup by senior guard Andrew Wiegand (Amherst/Firelands) that made the score 25-17 in favor of the Terriers. The Princes regained the lead with under two minutes to go, but Hiram rallied to take control back and had a slim 36-35 advantage at the break.
In the second half, Hiram outscored Heidelberg, 52-42. The Terriers began the period with a 9-0 run, that included a pair of triples by Sheppard, to extend the margin to 45-35. Hiram maintained a double-figure lead throughout the majority of the final half en route to its largest lead of the game of 19 points, 68-49, thanks to a pair of free-throws by junior forward Steve Zivoder (Garrettsville/Garfield) with nine minutes left. Heidelberg made one final rally late in the game, pulling to within seven points, 84-77, with 37 seconds remaining, but four-of-six free-throws by Hiram to end the game secured an 88-77 victory.
Heidelberg shot 42.9 percent (30-of-70) from the field, but shot just 13.6 percent (three-of-22) from three-point range. The Student Princes were led in scoring by Victor Fortkamp with 18 points on eight-of-14 shooting (57.1 percent). Dane Givner was second with 15 points, followed by Nate Davis with 14 points. Both Fortkamp and Davis also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Rounding out the high scorers for Heidelberg was Darion Capers with 12 points.
Hiram shot an impressive 50.0 percent from the floor (31-of-62) and an equally impressive 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from behind the arc. Individually, the Terriers were led by Watkins' 21 points and 12 boards. Sheppard was second with 16 points and sophomore guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) had 15 points. Zivoder finished the game with 11 points and Wiegand rounded out the high scorers with 10 points.
Hiram will conclude the two-day College of Wooster Mose/Hole Kiwanis Classic tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 30) when the Terriers take on Thiel (Pa.) College in a non-conference matchup. The game is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. in Wooster.