By: Andrew Korba
DELAWARE, Ohio -- The Hiram College men's basketball team fell to Wooster 92-79 in the NCAC Tournament Semifinals on Friday evening at Branch Rickey Arena on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan.
The third seeded Terriers end the season at 19-8 overall, while the second seeded Fighting Scots are now 21-6. Wooster also advances to the NCAC Tournament Finals and will take on Denison on Saturday.
Senior J.J. Woodson (Oakwood Village, Ohio/Bedford) led Hiram with 27 points. He also had four rebounds and three assists.
Sophomore Kelvin Jones (Sheffield Lake, Ohio/Brookside) finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for his third straight double-double.
Sophomore Trey Sanders (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Beachwood) added 10 points off the bench.
The teams played a tight contest early on and found themselves knotted at 20-20, before the Fighting Scots went on an 8-0 spurt to jump in front 28-20 with 7:03 left in the first half.
Hiram would chip away at the lead and five quick points, capped off on a 3-pointer from sophomore Paul Ortiz (Canton, Ohio/McKinley Senior) tied the game at 34-34.
But the Fighting Scots scored 11 straight points over the final 2:32 of the first half to take a 45-34 lead into the break.
The Terriers had another answer in the second half and went on a 7-0 run to pull within two points, 55-53, with 13:33 remaining.
Hiram would keep the deficit with three points, before a 13-1 Wooster run pushed its lead to 74-59.
The Terriers responded again with a 8-0 run to cut the Fighting Scots lead to 74-67 with just over six minutes to go.
Hiram would keep the deficit within single digits before a late 7-1 run by Wooster put the game out of reach.
The Terriers finished the game 28-of-67 (41.8 percent) from the field, but were just 7-of-30 (23.3 percent) in 3-pointers. The Fighting Scots finished 31-of-67 (46.3 percent) in shooting and converted 3-of-12 (25.0 percent) of their 3-point attempts.
Wooster also went 27-of-33 (81.8 percent) from the free throw line, while Hiram was 16-of-27 (59.3 percent). The Fighting Scots posted a 49-35 edge in rebounding.
The Terriers 19 wins on the season are the most for the program since the 1973-74 season when Hiram won a program record 20 games.
Hiram will now await its fate to see if they receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The selection show will air on NCAA.com on Monday, February 29 at 12:30 p.m.