Jan. 21 – OBERLIN, Ohio – Led by a team-high 25 points from junior forward Kelvin Jones, the Hiram men's basketball team shook off a slow start to earn a seven-point victory (74-67) over Oberlin College on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, the Terriers improve to 7-9 on the season, including a 4-5 mark at the halfway point of North Coast Athletic Conference play.
The Terriers found themselves down early in the game as Oberlin received 10 points from reserve player Eric Holt to run out to a 14-4 advantage in the opening eight minutes.
Hiram would immediately respond, shaking off the sluggish start to outscore the Yeomen 16-3 over the next six minutes. Six different players contributed to the run, including Joe Caspio who tallied four. Senior Jeremiah Thomas finished the run, giving the Terriers a 20-17 lead with 6:09 to play.
The sides would trade 13 points, apiece, over the remainder of the half, and the visitors found themselves up by three at the break, 33-30.
Neither team could gain a foothold on the lead in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but Oberlin managed to knot the game at 43-43 with 10:58 remaining in the game on a layup by Holt. Holt paced the Yeomen with 22 points off the bench.
The Terriers would out together the run of the game over the next three minutes, outscoring Oberlin 12-4 to push out to an eight-point lead (55-47). Following a pair of free throws from Kyle Deckerd, junior Ryan Greenwood knocked down his first triple of the game. That was then followed by four-straight points from Kelvin Jones and an "old-fashioned" three-point play from Ortiz which pushed the lead to its biggest of the night.
Oberlin would close the gap to three points (61-58) with 2:38 to play. However, the Terriers held the Yeomen to just one made bucket while converting on 11-of-11 from the free-throw line over the final two minutes to seal the seven-point victory.
The Terriers were paced offensively by Jones, who tallied 22 of his game-high 25 points in the second half. The junior post presence could not be stopped in the closing 20 minutes, shooting 7-of-10 from the field and a perfect 8-for-8 from the line.
Other offensive leaders for the Terriers included Ortiz and Deckerd. Ortiz finished the game with 15 points, while Deckerd added eight. Both Joe Caspio and Thomas finished with six, each.
Hiram controlled the boards in the victory, outrebounding Oberlin by a +22 margin (48-26). Jones posted his ninth double-double of the season, finishing the game with 13.
The Terriers will be back in action on Wednesday, January 25, as they travel to Wooster, Ohio to take on the Fighting Scots. The matchup with The College of Wooster is scheduled for an 8 p.m. start.