By: Andrew Korba
CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. -- Senior Ray Gaston (Warren, Ohio/John F. Kennedy) scored a career-high 21 points as the Hiram College men's basketball team topped Wabash (Ind.) 84-72 on Friday evening.
The Terriers are now 14-6 on the season and 8-5 in NCAC play, while the Little Giants drop to 10-9, 4-9.
Gaston bettered his previous career-high of 19 points, set earlier this season against La Roche (Pa.). He finished 6-of-10 from the field and also went a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Sophomore Paul Ortiz (Canton, Ohio/McKinley Senior) also scored 21 points, senior Austen Rekolt (Salem, Ohio/West Branch) added 14 points and junior Jeremiah Thomas (Cleveland, Ohio/John Hay) chipped in with 12 points.
Wabash opened up an early 11-6 lead, before Hiram countered with seven straight points to take a 13-11 advantage with 11:10 left in the first half.
A 11-0 Hiram run later in the half allowed the Terriers to turn a two point deficit into a nine point lead at 29-20 with just under six minutes left in the first half.
Hiram held a 38-33 lead heading into the half.
In the second frame, Hiram would go on a 9-1 run, capped off on a dunk from junior Joe Caspio (Willowick, Ohio/Eastlake North) to take a 58-48 lead with 10:45 left.
Wabash would continue to hang around and cut the Hiram lead to 72-66 with 4:28 remaining.
The Terriers answered with a 9-2 run to increase their lead to 79-68 with 2:52 left to play.
The Little Giants would pull to within seven points at 79-72 with 47 seconds left, but Hiram would convert 5-of-6 free throws in the closing seconds to ice the victory.
The Terriers went 28-of-73 (38.4 percent) from the field and converted 17-of-21 (81.0 percent) free throws, while Wabash was 28-of-64 (43.8 percent) from the field and just 11-of-22 (50.0 percent) from the charity stripe.
Hiram dominated the rebounding battle by a 51-37 margin, including a 17-9 edge on the offensive glass. The Terriers also held a 41-15 edge in bench scoring.
Hiram will play again on Saturday, as they close out their road trip at DePauw (Ind.). Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.