By: Abbey Lipcsik
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Despite a season-best performance by Jeremiah Thomas, the Hiram College men's basketball team dropped the final regular-season matchup against the Wittenberg Tigers by a final score of 76-68 on Saturday afternoon.
Thomas finished the game with 22 points, marking a new high on the season. 15 of those points came from beyond the arc, which is also a new season-high for the senior. The game also marks the fifth time out the past six matchups that Thomas recorded double-digit scoring performances.
Four Tigers controlled the Wittenberg offense, with each of them scoring in double figures over the course of the game. Jaelin Williams led the Tigers with 18 points, while Chad Roy followed with 17. Cody Phillippi and Landon Hormann also added 12 points apiece.
Wittenberg quickly got on top of the Terriers, starting the game with a 7-0 scoring run. Hiram made several attempts to take the lead, but the Tiger offense kept their lead as high as eight.
Hiram finally gained the momentum at the 4:47 mark when the Terriers came to within four points of Wittenberg (28-24), thanks to a three-pointer by Kelvin Jones. Although the Tigers answered back with a layup of their own, Joe Caspio scored six straight points to tie the game at 30 going into halftime.
The Tigers started the second half just like the first, outscoring Hiram 8-0 to take a 38-30 lead. Wittenberg continued to add to their score to take their highest lead of the game (16) by the 13:05 mark (51-35).
The Hiram offense outscored the Tigers 33-25 in the remaining minutes of the half, with 16 of them coming from Thomas alone. However, the Terriers fell short and Wittenberg snagged the win to split the season series between the two teams.
Aside from Thomas, Caspio and Jones were also key scorers for Hiram. Caspio notched 13, while Jones tallied 10.
One of the key components of the game was three-point shooting. Although the Tigers came into the game ranking last in the conference in average number of made three pointers per game (5.3), Wittenberg shot 10-20 (.500) from beyond the arc, which accounted for nearly half of their points.
The Tigers also took advantage of the Hiram turnovers, converting them into 21 points.
Hiram will next travel to Granville, Ohio to face Denison in their final road matchup of the season on Wednesday, February 15. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.