Dec. 7 - HIRAM, Ohio – In a game that saw 12 ties and 14 lead changes, the Hiram College men's basketball team outlasted #17 Wooster by a final of 72-68 on Wednesday evening in Price Gymnasium. The Terriers were bolstered by their top scoring threats, as juniors Paul Ortiz and Kelvin Jones combined for 50 points.
Through the first 5:16 of the opening half, neither team could gain much a foothold on the lead. The Scots (4-3, 2-2 NCAC) clung to a one-point advantage on a three-point basket by Spencer Williams. Hiram (2-4, 1-0 NCAC) then responded with an 8-2 run to take what would prove to be the largest lead of the game.
Following a steal by Joe Caspio, freshman Jake Williams gave the Terriers back the lead with an old-fashioned three-point play, putting Hiram up 13-11. Ortiz then connected on a jumper, before senior Kyle Deckerd drained his first three of the game, pushing the advantage to six (18-12) with 9:09 to play in the half.
Wooster quickly responded with a run of their own, using a 9-0 swing to re-take the lead by three (21-18) with 6:34 remaining. Reece Dupler gave the Scots back the advantage with a three, before Alex Baptiste added two of his 14 points.
The game of runs would continue in the frame, as Hiram once again responded with a 7-0 swing. Jones connected on a pair of free throws, before Ortiz posted five-straight to put the Terriers up 25-21.
The lead would change hands two more times, before, fittingly; the half ended with the teams deadlocked at 33-33.
Ortiz was on fire in the opening 20 minutes, knocking down 6-of-7 shots en route to 13 first-half points.
The first ten minutes of the second half would go the same way as the first 20, as the game saw four more ties, including 49-49 with 10 minutes to play.
With the Terriers holding a one-point advantage (55-54) with 8:09 remaining, Wooster would respond with their biggest run of the game. A brief, 7-1, run, which was capped by a three pointer from Dupler, gave the Fighting Scots their largest lead of the game at five points (61-56) with 6:40 to go.
The teams would find themselves deadlocked two more times, including the final time at 64-64, before the Terriers made their final push.
In the final 3:20 of the game, Hiram held Wooster to just one made field goal, outscoring the Scots 8-4 to come away with the four-point victory, 72-68. Jones and Ortiz posted three points, each, in the final minutes, while Deckerd sank a pair of clutch free throws with nine seconds to play to seal the victory.
The dynamic duo of Jones and Ortiz was lights out in the win, combining for 50 points. The pair shot 17-of-25 from the field and a combined 12-of-15 from the charity stripe. Ortiz led the Terriers in scoring with a game-high 27 points, while Jones finished with 23. Deckerd was the only other Terrier with multiple baskets, finishing the game with eight points.
Hiram will be back in action on Saturday, December 10, as they travel to Meadville, Pa. to take on Allegheny College. The North Coast Athletic Conference matchup is scheduled to follow the women's game, which tips off at 1 p.m.