HIRAM, Ohio – The Hiram College men's basketball team came just one basket shy of the century mark on Saturday afternoon, upending Kenyon College 99-77 in North Coast Athletic Conference action in Price Gymnasium.
The Terriers were on fire from the outset of the game, shooting .594 in the opening half while never trailing. Overall Hiram shot .597 from the field, including over 61% from long range, while holding a 24-7 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The hosts quickly took the advantage to eight in the opening four minutes, running the lead to 13-5 on a jumper by Jalen Kirksey. The first-year guard helped jump start the offense, getting a fast-break dunk and six early points.
Kenyon would settle in and keep the score manageable throughout the first half, trimming the deficit back down to as little as five.
The Hiram offense, however, was too much for the Lords as the Terriers responded to every Kenyon bucket with one of their own.
The first-half lead would extend to as many as 13 (29-16) on a layup by Austin Blatt with 9:25 to play in the frame. Hiram would go into the locker room leading by 10.
Seven different players scored in the first half, including 11 points from Kirksey, who was just three rebounds shy of a double-double at the break.
If possible, the second half was even better for the Terriers as Hiram shot 60% from the field and posted 54 second-half points.
In just the first ten minutes of the half, Hiram had grown the advantage to 28, leading 81-53 with 10:33 to play in regulation. The Terriers didn't seem able to miss in the opening portion of the second, knocking down 13-of-17 shots, including 6-of-8 from long range.
Matthews and Jones each contributed eight points in the decisive, second-half run, which was capped by back-to-back triples from Dye.
Throughout the remainder of the game, the Terrier reserves helped solidify the win, not allowing Kenyon closer than 19 points, before settling on the 22-point difference.
In the second stanza, the Terrier bench put up 22 of its 40 points on the night. Dye posted eight to go along with six, each, from Sam Hitchcock and Sherman Dean III. Ryan Greenwood contributed three points, while Jake Williams and Jared Bazil each added a pair.
For the game, both Jones and Kirksey finished with a double-double. The feat was the ninth for the senior forward, who averaged 20 points and 12 boards in Hiram's two wins this week. For Kirksey, the double-double was the first of his young career, finishing with 13 points and 10 boards.
Other leaders for Hiram included 17 points from Dye and 14 from Matthews. Terrence Warren distributed the ball well, totaling seven assists while not committing a single turnover, and adding eight points.
Hiram's 99 points were the most scored by the Terriers against a NCAC opponent since the team posted 120 on Denison during the 2006-07 season. The number still stands as a school record. The score was also the most by the Terriers against any opponent, since dropping 101 in a win over Westminster on Dec. 16, 2013.
Prior to the contest, the men's basketball team honored Hiram educators with a faculty appreciation day. The faculty members that were honored before the contest included, Amber Chenoweth (chair of psychology), Andrew White (psychology), Aninda Shome (management), John Bolus (management) and Roxanne Sorrick (chair of the education department).
Hiram will finish the first-half of their conference schedule on Wednesday, January 17, as they travel to Granville, Ohio to take on the Big Red of Denison University. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start.