By: Abbey Lipcsik
HIRAM, Ohio – Despite season-best performances by senior Joe Caspio and sophomore Marcel Rice, the Hiram College men's basketball team fell to the Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops by a final score of 82-76 on Wednesday night.
Caspio and Rice both led a Hiram reserve squad that tallied 47 of the Terrier points. The dual combined for a total of 33 points and shot 12-14 from the field over the course of the game.
Ohio Wesleyan countered with 39 points from Nate Axelrod. The OWU guard shot 15-21 from the field, including four three pointers.
The first half was heavily dictated by the offenses. The two sides combined for 85 first-half points and shot over 50 percent through the first 20 minutes.
Highlighted by 13 lead changes and seven ties, neither team held more than a seven-point advantage.
At the 2:43 mark, Hiram took the biggest lead of either team in the half (7) after posting a 9-0 run. After trailing by two with 5:51 remaining (32-30), the Hiram reserves scored all nine points. Caspio had four points in the run, while Sherman Dean III and Jeremiah Thomas each added a bucket.
OWU chipped away at the Terrier lead over the final minutes, outscoring Hiram 11-3 to take a one point lead going into halftime (43-42).
The decisive four-minute run of the game came between 16:50 and 12:20 when the Battling Bishops went on a 15-0 scoring run to convert a one point Terrier lead into a 14-point advantage. Axelrod fueled the run with 10 points.
The Terriers came within two points of OWU at the 6:04 mark (67-65), but were unable to regain the lead, eventually falling by the six-point margin.
Junior Kelvin Jones and Caspio led the Hiram offense, totaling 39 points and shooting 17-17 from the field. Jones finished with a team-high 21 points, while Caspio followed with a season-high 18. Rice also added 15 points, marking a new personal-best in his first season as a Terrier.
On defense, junior Paul Ortiz and freshman Jared Butler each recorded four steals, while four other Terriers each had one apiece. The strong defensive performance marks a new team-best so far this season (12).
The Terriers will next travel to Gambier, Ohio to face the Kenyon Lords at 3 p.m.