Men's Basketball Hangs On to Beat Allegheny (Pa.)

Senior guard Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth) scored a game-high 21 points in win against Allegheny (Pa.).
Senior guard Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth) scored a game-high 21 points in win against Allegheny (Pa.).

MEADVILLE, PA.  --  Senior guard Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth) scored a game-high 21 points as the Hiram College men's basketball team hung on to beat Allegheny (Pa.) College, 63-59, in a North Coast Athletic Conference game in Meadville, Pa.

Hiram (11-11, 5-8 NCAC) scored the first nine points of the game and outscored Allegheny (9-13, 3-10 NCAC), 23-7, in the first 8:49 of the opening half.  The Terrier lead would shrink to eight points, 27-19, at the 4:57 minute mark, but a pair of free-throws and a basket by junior guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) extended the margin to 11 points, 31-20, with 3:06 left before halftime.  The Gators tallied the final four points of the period to narrow the gap to 31-24 at the break.

The second half started strong for Hiram as the Terriers began the final 20 minutes with a 9-2 scoring run to increase the lead to 14 points, 40-26, following a layup by senior forward Steve Zivoder (Garrettsville/Garfield) at the 14:16 minute mark.  Allegheny then made its run outscoring Hiram, 15-4, in the next 5:12 to cut the deficit to just three points, 44-41, with 9:04 to play.  The Terriers found themselves up by two points on two occassions, including a 52-50 margin with 4:41 to go.  A pair of three-pointers by senior guard Alan Sheppard (Wadsworth) gave Hiram some breathing room and a six-point lead, 58-52, at the 2:50 mark.  Allegheny battled back to within three points with just over a second to go, but one-of-two free-throws by Zivoder in the closing seconds would seal a 63-59 Hiram victory.

Allegheny shot 32.8 percent (19-of-58) for the game and just 25.9 percent (seven-of-27) from behind the three-point line.  The Gators were led by Josh Valentic with 18 points while shooting six-of-13 (46.2 percent) from the field.  Devone McLeod was the only other Allegheny player in double figures with 17 points.

Hiram shot 36.7 percent (22-of-60) as a team and was led in scoring by Sheppard's 21 points.  He shot eight-of-13 overall, including five-of-seven (71.4 percent) from three-point range.  Stefanov rounded out the high scorers with 15 points, in addition to grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds.

Hiram will travel to Delaware for a NCAC game against Ohio Wesleyan University on Saturday, Feb. 6.  The game will be part of a basketball doubleheader with the Terrier women's team.  The women will play against the Battling Bishops at 1 p.m., followed by the men at 3 p.m.