WOOSTER, OHIO – The Hiram College men's basketball team won its sixth straight game behind junior guard Alan Sheppard's (Wadsworth) career and game-high 25 points as the Terriers topped Thiel (Pa.) College, 89-75, tonight (Friday, Dec. 30) in their final game of the Mose/Hole Kiwanis Classic hosted by The College of Wooster in Wooster.
With the win, the Terriers improve to 8-3 overall and the Tomcats fall to 7-4 overall for the season.
Thiel maintained a slim lead for the early minutes of the first half, but a 9-0 scoring run by Hiram at the midway point of the period gave the Terriers the lead, 18-12, at the 10:12 mark. Hiram never trailed again in the game and blew the game open late in the half with a 13-1 run that ended in a layup by sophomore guard Matt Roman (North Olmsted) that made the score 43-27 with 2:22 left to play before halftime. The Terriers held on to their double-digit advantage the rest of the half and took a commanding 48-33 cushion into the locker rooms.
In the second half, the Tomcats got no closer than 10 points, 51-41, with 18:19 left to go in the game. Hiram recorded its largest lead of 21 points, 77-56, with 8:08 to go on a three-pointer by Sheppard. Thiel cut the deficit to 12 points, 87-75, with just over a minute-and-a-half left, but the earlier lead for Hiram was too great as the Terriers went on to claim the 89-75 victory.
Thiel shot 52.7 percent (29-of-55) from the field and was led by Chace McKinney with 17 points on six-of-eight shooting (75.0 percent). Anthony Harvey was second with 16 points, followed by Ladell Trotty with 14 points. Devon Adams rounded out the Tomcat high scorers with 13 points to go along with a team-high eight rebounds.
Hiram shot 49.3 percent (34-of-69) from the floor and was led by Sheppard's 25 points on nine-of-17 shooting (52.9 percent). Senior guard Jamaal Watkins (South Euclid/Brush) scored 21 points in addition to grabbing eight boards. Sophomore guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) chipped in with 17 points, with 15 of those points coming from three-point range with five triples. Roman rounded out the double-figure scorers with 11 points. In addition, senior guard Andrew Wiegand (Amherst/Firelands) recorded a game-high 10 rebounds and junior guard Justin Wisniewski (Macedonia/Nordonia) tallied a game-best nine assists.
Following the conclusion of the two-day event, Sheppard and Stefanov were both selected to the All-Tournament Team. Watkins was tabbed as the defensive "Most Valuable Player."
Hiram will resume North Coast Athletic Conference play with back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 6-7, beginning with a matchup against No. 14 nationally-ranked Wabash (Ind.) College at Price Gymnasium at 8 p.m. The Terriers will then take on conference newcomer DePauw (Ind.) University on Saturday at 4 p.m. Both games will also be part of a pair of basketball doubleheaders with the Hiram women's team. The women will face Wittenberg University on Friday at 6 p.m. and DePauw on Saturday at 2 p.m.