HIRAM, OHIO – The Hiram College men's basketball team fell short of No. 17 nationally-ranked Wabash (Ind.) College, 77-70, tonight (Friday, Jan. 6) in a North Coast Athletic Conference game at Price Gymnasium.
With the loss, the Terriers had their six-game winning streak snapped and are now 8-4 overall and 1-2 in the NCAC. The Little Giants improved to 11-1 overall and 3-0 NCAC.
Both teams played a competitive first half with nine lead changes and one tie. Wabash had the early advantage leading by eight points, 17-9, with 11:55 left in the half. Hiram responded with an 8-2 scoring run that was capped by a three-pointer by junior guard Tom Herchek (Randolph/Waterloo) evening the score at 17-17 at the 10:16 mark. The Little Giants answered the Terrier run with a mini 5-0 run of their own to re-capture the lead, 22-17, with 9:26 left in the period. Both teams traded leads the rest of the way with Hiram having a slim 38-37 lead at the break.
The teams picked up where they left off in the second half with five lead changes and three ties. Hiram led by as many as four points in the half, 53-49, thanks to a jumper by Herchek with 12:51 left in the game. An ensuing 11-2 run by the Little Giants, making the score 60-55, gave Wabash the lead at the 10:52 mark. Wabash never trailed the rest of the way as the Little Giants put the game away with free-throws down the stretch and went on to win by the final of 77-70.
Both teams shot nearly dead even with a slight edge going in favor of Hiram who shot 47.6 percent (30-of-63) from the field to Wabash's 47.5 percent (28-of-59) shooting. The difference would come from behind the arc as the Little Giants connected on 51.6 percent (16-of-31) of their shots. Hiram was held to just 28.6 percent shooting (six-of-21) from three-point range.
Wabash had three players score in double-figures led by Derek Bailey who scored a game-high 28 points on nine-of-19 shooting (47.4 percent), including six-of-13 (46.2 percent) from three-point range. Aaron Zinnerman was second with 16 points to go along with a team-high nine rebounds and Andy Walsh added 12 points on four successful triples.
Hiram had two players record double-doubles with senior guard Jamaal Watkins (South Euclid/Brush) leading the way with 24 points on 11-of-18 shooting (61.1 percent) and game-high 11 rebounds. Senior guard Andrew Wiegand (Amherst/Firelands) scored 16 points to go along with 10 boards. Sophomore guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) was third in scoring with 12 points and Herchek rounded out the high scorers with 11 points.
Hiram returns to action tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 7) when it hosts DePauw (Ind.) University in a NCAC game at Price Gym. The game will be part of a basketball doubleheader with the Terrier women's team. Both squads will play against DePauw with the women playing at 2 p.m., followed by the men at 4 p.m.