By: Abbey Lipcsik
GREENCASTLE, Ind. – The Hiram College men's basketball team fell to DePauw (Ind.) in an overtime battle by a final score of 96-90 on Sunday afternoon.
With the loss, the Terriers now stand at 3-6 (2-2 NCAC), while the Tigers hold a 4-5 (2-2 NCAC) record on the season.
Both teams battled for the lead in the start of the first half, with neither team leading by more than three. At the 11:54 mark, Paul Ortiz knocked down a three-pointer to tie the game at 17, which would then fuel a 17-7 Hiram scoring run to make the score 34-24 with 4:48 left in the half. Six Terriers scored during that time, including Marcel Rice, who led the run with six points.
The Tigers would then battle back to regain the lead with one minute remaining before halftime (37-36). Kelvin Jones then forced a foul to take a trip to the free throw line, where he made both shots and gave the lead back to Hiram. Despite a three-pointer by DePauw's James Clarke, a layup by Jones at the five second mark closed the half with the score tied at 40.
The second half opened just like the first. Over the first nine minutes, the lead changed nine times. With the score 57-56 in favor of Hiram, the Terriers made another run, outscoring the Tigers 13-5 to increase their lead to nine with 6:09 remaining (70-61). DePauw would then go on a scoring run of their own, racking up 14 points over the Terriers' five to once again tie the game with just over two minutes left in the game (75-75).
As the half came to a close and both teams continued to score, Hiram was able to hold a three point advantage over the Tigers with 12 seconds remaining, thanks to a key tip in by Isaiah Matthews. After a timeout by DePauw, Luke Lattner made a three pointer to tie the game at 82. Although Ortiz put up a shot at the buzzer, it didn't go in and the game was forced into overtime.
The lead continued to change between teams as the clock wound down in the overtime frame. When the score was tied at 90 with 1:42 left, DePauw was able to sink six consecutive free throws and hold Hiram scoreless in the remaining time to secure the win.
Jones led the Terrier offense, whose 13 of his team-high 25 points came from behind the charity stripe. Ortiz was also a key shooter, recording 18 points over the course of the game. The reigning North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Player of the Week shot 4-9 (.444) from behind the arc.
Other top Hiram scorers include Jeremiah Thomas (11), Rice (10) and Matthews (9). Rice's performance marks a new personal high on the season.
Despite a strong defensive effort by the Terriers, Hiram had 14 turnovers, which resulted in 22 points for the Tigers.
Hiram will be back in action on December 29th when they travel to Westerville, Ohio to compete in the Otterbein Smokey Ballanger Classic. The Terriers are scheduled to face Waynesburg (Pa.) on the 29th and Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) on the 30th. Both tipoffs are set for 3:00 p.m.