The Hiram College men's basketball team's 2018-19 season came to a close on Tuesday evening, as the Terriers dropped an 87-76 decision to Wabash College in the opening round of the North Coast Athletic Conference Championship Tournament.
Wabash sophomore Jack Davidson controlled the outcome of the contest over the course of the evening, scoring more than half of Wabash's 87 points. The Little Giant guard tallied 47, the third most in Wabash program history, finishing the contest 13-of-23 from the floor (6-of-11 from three), and 15-of-16 from the foul line.
The whistles came early and often as well for both sides, as the two teams combined for 42 fouls throughout the course of the evening. Despite holding a 30-19 advantage in free-throw attempts, the Terriers were unable to use that to their advantage as they hit .633 from the line and left 11 points at the stripe.
The largest difference in the game, however, came beyond the arc, as the Little Giants outscored the Terriers 30-9 from distance. Wabash finished the game 10-of-22 from deep, while Hiram shot 3-of-20, with all three makes coming from freshman Brodgie Gordon.
Despite the final, the Terriers played the game tight through the first 20 minutes of action. Trailing 13-11, Hiram put together their biggest run of the night in the early stages of the first half. The Terriers strung together eight-straight points, including two points each from Christian Crespo, Gordon, Sherman Dean III and Antonio McQueen, to force a Wabash timeout leading 19-13.
The advantage would not last, however, as the Little Giants responded with an 11-0 run of their own to push back ahead, 24-19. The hosts would never again trail in the contest.
The Terriers trailed by just four (41-37) at the break, thanks in large part to the effort of Gordon, who posted 11 points while leading the team with five rebounds in the opening half.
In the first three minutes of the second half, Davidson caught fire, knocking down four-straight three-point baskets and hitting a free throw to score Wabash's first 13 points of the half. Despite that, the Terriers kept things close as Gordon and Rice each tallied five points of their own to keep the Terriers within striking distance (54-47).
With 13:48 to play, Gordon would knock down a triple on a step-back three by Gordon, cutting the Wabash lead to 58-53. That would be as close as Hiram would get throughout the rest of the contest.
The Little Giants put together a push over the next nine minutes, surging ahead by double figures and extending their lead to as many as 19. An 18-4 run, which included eight points from the foul line, put the game out of reach, and the Terriers would fall by 11 (87-76).
Gordon led the Terrier offense throughout the day, dropping a career-high 24 points in his first-ever appearance in the NCAC postseason. He also added eight rebounds and a pair of assists. In his final game with the Terriers, Rice finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Hiram finishes the 2018-19 season with an overall record of 12-14.
The NCAC Tournament will continue on Friday and Saturday of this week with all four of the top seeds advancing to the semifinals. #1 Wooster will play host after narrowly escaping Allegheny. The Scots will take on #4 DePauw who bested Oberlin College by four points. The other semifinal will pit Wabash against Wittenberg University.