By: Andrew Korba
MEADVILLE, Pa. -- Four players scored in double figures, but the Hiram College men's basketball team fell at Allegheny (Pa.) by a 71-67 score in its NCAC opener on Wednesday evening.
The Terriers drop to 3-2 on the season and 0-1 in the NCAC, while the Gators improve to 1-6, 1-0.
Sophomore Paul Ortiz (Canton, Ohio/McKinley Senior) led Hiram with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Sophomore Kelvin Jones (Sheffield Lake, Ohio/Brookside) added 13 points and six rebounds, while senior J.J. Woodson (Oakwood Village, Ohio/Bedford) and sophomore Isaiah Matthews (Orlando, Fla./Eastridge) each finished with 12 points.
Trailing 67-66 with 44 seconds left, Woodson was able to force a steal and went in for a dunk. He was fouled on the play and it was ruled intententional, giving Woodson two shots and the ball back to the Terriers.
Woodson would be unable to convert any free throws and Hiram's layup attempt on the ensuing inbounds was blocked by the Gators, which led to a fast break dunk to make the score 69-66 with 24 seconds left.
Jones was fouled on Hiram's next possession and split a pair of free throws to bring the Terriers to within 69-67.
Hiram would then force a turnover and Woodson swooped in a for a layup that was knocked away by Allegheny.
The Terriers were forced to foul in the closing seconds and Chris Milon drained two free throws with four seconds left to make the score 71-67 and put the game out of reach.
Allegheny jumped out to a 12-6 lead in the first half, before a dunk from Woodson capped a 9-2 Terrier run and put them in front 15-14 with just under 10 minutes left in the half.
A layup by Ortiz at the 5:13 mark of the first half gave the Terriers a 26-22 lead. But Allegheny would respond with a 13-2 run to close out the first half and give them a 35-28 lead heading into the intermission.
The Gators would open eight point leads three different times in the second half and Hiram pulled to within one each time, but would be unable to gain the lead.
The Terriers were 26-of-67 (38.8 percent) from the field and went 8-of-17 (47.1 percent) from the free throw line, while Allegheny was 25-of-53 (47.2 percent) in shooting and 14-of-16 (87.5 percent) in free throws.
The Gators held a 33-30 advantage in rebounding and a 36-26 edge in points in the paint. The Terriers did force 24 Allegheny turnovers and converted them into 21 points.
Hiram will continue its season opening road swing with a 3 p.m. contest at Kenyon on Saturday.