By: Abbey Lipcsik
HIRAM, Ohio – In a game that was decided in its final seconds, the Hiram College men's basketball team defeated the Kenyon Lords by a final score of 58-55 on Saturday afternoon.
The Terrier win splits the season series between the two teams. Kenyon previously defeated Hiram 61-55 in Gambier back in January.
With 21 seconds left in the game, Paul Ortiz nailed two free throws to give the Terriers a one-point advantage (56-55). After a missed jumper by Kenyon's Alexander Powell, the Lords were forced to foul Ryan Greenwood. The junior then made his trip to the charity stripe, during which he made both of his attempts to increase the Hiram lead to three (58-55).
Phillip Crampton's last-second attempt was off the mark and Hiram secured the win.
The Lords led for a majority of the first half. After the Terriers tacked on four points to start the game, the Kenyon offense outshot the Terriers 17-4 to gain their largest lead of the game (9) with 8:48 remaining until halftime.
Five Terriers scored in the remaining minutes, which included Jeremiah Thomas, Kelvin Jones, Brevin Dye, Joe Zoltowski and Austin Blatt. Jones led the way with five points, while Dye followed with three. Thomas, Zoltowski and Blatt also added a pair.
Despite the strong effort by Hiram, the Lords held a six-point advantage going into the half (28-22).
Both teams performed well on both sides on the floor in the second half, which resulted in seven lead changes over the 20-minute span. It was not until Ortiz's and Greenwood's free throws that the Terriers pulled away with the victory.
Kelvin Jones continues to be the top scorer for Hiram, notching his fourteenth double-double this season with 18 points and 17 rebounds. The forward shot 5-7 from the field and a converted his lone three-point attempt. Ortiz also recorded a double-digit scoring performance (11), with six of his points resulting from free throw attempts.
Hiram concludes the regular season with a record of 11-14, 8-10 NCAC. Because of their performance, the Terriers clinched the fifth seed in the upcoming NCAC Championship Tournament. Hiram will travel to #4 Wittenberg for the opening round on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.