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Terrier Men's Basketball Outlasts Ohio Wesleyan

Terrier Men's Basketball Outlasts Ohio Wesleyan

Despite leading for the entirety of Saturday's tilt, the Terrier men's basketball team needed to withstand a furious, late-game comeback from Ohio Wesleyan University, holding on for an 86-84 victory. 

The win for the Terriers marked their second-straight against a North Coast Athletic Conference opponent and improved their mark to 4-3, and 2-1 in the NCAC. 

Ohio Wesleyan, meanwhile, dropped to 4-4 and 1-2 in conference action. 

The Terriers jumped out to an early lead thanks to their senior, Marcel Rice, who tallied eight points, including a pair of triples, to give Hiram an 8-4 lead through the first three minutes. 

Hiram maintained their advantage throughout the half, pushing the lead to ten (20-10) on a jumper by Sherman Dean III with 12:20 to play. 

The Bishops would cut the lead to just five before Jalen Kirksey responded with five-straight points to once again usher the lead to 10 with five minutes to go in the half. 

The hosts would keep the Bishops at bay through the remainder of the opening half, holding a seven-point advantage at the break. 

The Hiram defense gave the Terriers the first-half lead, holding Ohio Wesleyan to just eight percent shooting from outside the three-point line, while forcing eight turnovers. 

In the second stanza, the Bishops shot a bit better from the field, but the Terriers had an answer for every made bucket.

Through the first six minutes of the second half, Hiram caught fire, expanding their advantage to 16 points. Tyler McMillion tallied eight points in the run, which was then capped by Kirksey. 

The game's leading scorer, Kirksey tallied back-to-back steals on consecutive OWU possessions, finishing at the other end to give Hiram a 65-49 advantage. 

Despite leading by 12 with 5:23 to play, the Terriers made just one basket down the stretch, as Wesleyan pulled close.

The Bishops pulled within one (84-83) with 12 seconds to play, but a pair of Kirksey free throws pushed the lead back to three (86-83) with five seconds to play. 

Hiram chose to foul in the waning seconds and Ohio Wesleyan split a pair of free throws. Sherman Cox came away with the defensive rebound to seal the two-point victory. 

Both Kirksey and McMillion tallied career-high games, leading both the offensive and defensive efforts. Kirksey tied a career best with 22 points while posting five steals. McMillion, meanwhile notched  21 points, seven rebounds and four steals. 

Other offensive leaders included Rice and Dean. Dean finished with 12, while Rice added 10. Austin Blatt finished the game with nine points and six assists, while Christian Crespo totaled seven points. 

Having played a brief portion of their conference schedule, the Terriers will get back to non-conference action until early January. The team's next game will be on Wednesday evening as they host La Roche College. The matchup with the Red Hawks is scheduled for 7 p.m.