Dec. 28 - DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Despite facing constant foul trouble, as well as receiving just 11 combined points from their two top scoring threats, the Terrier men's basketball team made it five-straight wins, dispatching Wilkes University 94-85 on the first day of the Land of Magic Classic at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Hiram, however, was still able to secure the win thanks to career-high nights from senior Terrence Warren and freshman Jalen Kirksey. The duo combined for 40 points on the night, shooting 14-of-24 from the field.
Warren did the majority of his damage in the first half of play. The senior guard had already posted a career-high in scoring by the halftime break, as he tallied 18 points in the opening 20 minutes.
The senior guard, who has now posted double-digit scoring in five of his last seven games, shot 5-of-9 from the field, while also converting on a handful of free throws.
Warren had ten of the team's first 20 points in the first half, canning a three-pointer with 12:07 to play in the frame to give Hiram a 20-14 lead.
The Colonels would come back and reclaim the lead on a pair of free throws (27-26) with 6:14 to play. The charity stripe would be a theme throughout the evening, as Wilkes scored 20 of their 38 first-half points from the line.
Still trailing by one in the late stages of the first, Hiram would make their move, using a 14-2 run to take a nine-point advantage. Warren posted five points in the swing, as did sophomore Sherman Dean III. Hiram would go into the break leading by seven (45-38).
Kirksey would have his say in the opening four minutes of the second half. The multi-faceted freshman personally outscored Wilkes 11-3 in the early stages, as part of a 10-point swing that gave the Terriers a 17-point lead (58-41).
Kirksey did most of his damage in the paint, before knocking down his first-career three-point basket at the 16:01 mark.
The lead would grow to as many as 24 (73-49) on a three by Anton Gross with 9:54 to play in regulation. Gross had five points in the run, while Dean, Brevin Dye and Sam Hitchcock all got involved. All told, 14 different Terriers scored on the evening.
Defensively, Hiram held Wilkes to just three made field goals throughout the first ten minutes of the second half.
The Terrier lead would shrink to as few as six (89-83) with 1:10 to play, but four-straight, clutch, free throws by Isaiah Matthews, coupled with some defensive stops, gave Hiram the nine-point win.
Along with career nights from Warren and Kirksey, Matthews tallied a season-high 11 points. He also added eight rebounds. Dean finished with 11 as well, leading all bench scorers.
Four different Terriers fouled out in the contest, as the two teams saw 65 total fouls called throughout the evening. Hiram came just three free-throw attempts shy of their all-time single-game record, while Wilkes' 48 were six shy of theirs.
Hiram will get back to work on Saturday as they take part in their second game of the Land of Magic Classic. Their matchup with Ithaca (N.Y.) is scheduled for 11 a.m.