MEADVILLE, Pa. – The Terrier men's basketball team secured a season-sweep of Allegheny College on Saturday afternoon, upending the Gators 61-49 in their first of three-straight road games.
Hiram rushed out of gates early thanks to a lift from senior guard Paul Ortiz. The senior connected on his first four shots of the game, including three from long distance, to stake the Terriers to a 13-4 advantage through the first five minutes.
The lead would extend to 15 (21-6) at the 12:52 mark as Jared Bazil got into the action, before Brevin Dye and Sherman Dean III canned back-to-back triples. Bazil would then add two more baskets to push the lead to 25-6 with 11:38 remaining.
The Hiram defense held Allegheny to single-digit scoring through the first 11 minutes of the game, before a pair of free throws by Nijon Kirkman gave the Gators 10 points with 8:26 to play in the frame.
The lead would once again grow to 19 (29-10) on a jumper by Terrence Warren with 7:14 remaining in the half.
Allegheny would finally find some offensive rhythm in the late stages of the half, cutting the Terrier lead to eight on a three by Kirkman with 1:45 left in the half. Hiram would go into the break leading by nine (35-26) as Jalen Kirksey connected on a jumper as time was winding down in the frame.
The Terriers held Allegheny to just 25% shooting from the field in the opening 20 minutes while forcing six Gator turnovers.
The second stanza was more of the same from the Terrier D, allowing just 23 points in the frame. A three by Marcel Rice would push the Hiram lead back to 14 (42-28) in the first two minutes of the stanza.
The lead would swell to as many as 18, before Allegheny clawed their way back to a nine-point deficit with 10:40 to play (50-41).
Staunch defensive play by the road team would once again lock down the Gators in the final ten minutes of action. Hiram allowed just two made field goals (both layups) in the closing 10 minutes, to push the lead back to double figures.
An 8-0 run, including five points from senior Isaiah Matthews, would be the final nail in the coffin, as the swing pushed the Terrier advantage to 58-41 with just 3:54 to play.
The Terriers would surrender just the two made field goals in the final three minutes to hold for the 12-point win.
Offensively, Kirksey led the way with 12 points. Ortiz finished with 11 while six different players posted at least six points. Warren tallied eight to go along with six rebounds and five assists. Matthews and Rice each tallied seven in starting roles, while Bazil paced the Terrier bench with six.
Hiram, who now sits two games clear of Denison University for fourth in the conference standings, improves their record to 8-4 in conference play and 12-7 overall. The Terriers will be back in action on Friday, Feb. 2 as they travel to Wabash. The match with the Little Giants is scheduled for 7 p.m.