Dec. 30 - DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Hiram College men's basketball team made it a perfect trip to the sunshine state, upending Ithaca College 81-64 on Saturday in the third day of the Land of Magic Classic in Daytona.
Unlike their previous game, the Terrier's starting five did almost all of the major offensive damage, accounting for 77 of the team's 81 points.
For the second-straight game, freshman Jalen Kirksey tallied a career high in points, dropping 19, on 8-of-12 shooting, to lead all scorers.
Senior Isaiah Matthews had arguably the best game of his Hiram College career. The forward posted a career-high 17 points, while adding a career-best 14 rebounds. His numbers marked the first double-double of his career.
Not only did Matthews help shoulder the load for Hiram, but he did so efficiently, knocking down all seven of his shots from the field, including three from deep.
Playing 31 minutes, senior Kelvin Jones notched his seventh double-double of the season. The forward tallied 15 points while posting 13 boards.
Seniors Paul Ortiz and Terrence Warren also scored in double figures on the day. Ortiz knocked down five triples en route to 16 points. Warren, meanwhile, finished with 10 points and three assists in a team-high 33 minutes.
The Terriers never trailed in the game, leading by five (23-18), ten minutes into the contest. Matthews was a vital piece to the run, scoring 13 of the 23 points including all three of his three-point baskets.
Over the final 10 minutes of the half, Hiram locked down defensively, holding the Bombers to five points and outscoring Ithaca 26-5 to take a 49-23 advantage into the break.
Ithaca, who came into the game second in the Liberty League in field-goal percentage (.466), was held to just one made basket over the final 10 minutes, and Hiram held the 26-point lead at the break.
The Terrier advantage would grow to as many as 32 (55-23) on a three-point play by Kirksey in the early stages of the second half.
The Bombers would get as close as 13, but would never get closer than double digits, and the Terriers walked away with their sixth-straight win.
Hiram's defense was solid throughout, holding Ithaca, who came in averaging over 80 points per game, to just 64 points and 32% shooting.
The Terriers will be back in action on Saturday, January 6, when they get back to NCAC play against conference-leading Wittenberg. The matchup is slated for a 3 p.m. start.