GRANVILLE, OHIO -- The Hiram College men's basketball team was defeated by Denison University, 68-52, in the North Coast Athletic Conference opener in Granville.
Hiram (1-1, 0-1 NCAC) had a slim 8-7 lead following a jumper by junior guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) at the 16:38 minute mark of the first half. Denison (3-2, 1-0 NCAC) then went on a 13-2 scoring run to take a 20-8 lead with 9:51 left in the period and never trailed in the game again. The Terriers would pull to within four points, 26-22, late in the half following a three-pointer by senior guard Tom Herchek (Randolph/Waterloo), but five straight points by the Big Red extended the lead back to a more comfortable seven points, 31-22, with 1:32 left before the break. Denison would take a 34-28 margin in the locker rooms.
In the second half, Denison took control outscoring Hiram, 13-4, to begin the period to extend the lead to a commanding, 47-32, with 12:07 left in the game. The Big Red continued to pull away with a series of scoring runs and eventually led by as a many as 24 points, 66-42, en route to the 68-52 final.
Denison shot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) from the floor and was led by Dimonde Hale with a game-high 23 points on eight-of-16 shooting (50.0 percent). Jon Akpapunam was the only other Denison player in double-figures with 17 points.
Hiram shot 34.0 percent (18-of-53) from the field and had two players score in double-digits with the duo of Stefanov and fellow senior guard Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth) each scoring 11 points each.
The Terriers will stay on the road when they travel to South Euclid for a non-conference game against Notre Dame College on Saturday, Dec. 1. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.