Terrier Men's Basketball Set for 2016-17 Campaign

Terrier Men's Basketball Set for 2016-17 Campaign

Nov. 9 – HIRAM, Ohio – On the tails of a 2015-16 campaign that saw the team post the second-most wins in the program's 122-year history, the Hiram College men's basketball team will look to continue to climb the conference ladder in 2016-17.

The Terriers had one of the best years in recent memory last season, capturing the most wins that the program had seen since the 1973-74 campaign. The 15-16 squad posted a record of 19-8 on the season, which included a North Coast Athletic Conference record of 12-6.

In post-season play, third-year head coach and reigning NCAC Coach of the Year, Chris Kibler, led his squad to the program's first ever NCAC Tournament victory, earning a 95-87 win over Kenyon College. Additionally, the Terriers earned wins over eventual tournament-bound teams. Hiram boasted a win over #4-ranked Ohio Wesleyan (74-72), who earned a spot in the Sweet 16, as well as Wooster (70-69), who appeared in last season's Elite Eight. The victory over the Fighting Scots was also the first for the Terriers since the 1996-97 season.

Looking to reboot the same success that they boasted a season ago, the Terriers return a

total of 11 letterwinners to the squad, including All-NCAC selection, junior forward Kelvin Jones. Last season, Jones averaged 10.2 points per game, while leading the team in both rebounds per night (9.7) and field-goal percentage (.559).

Jones turned in solid statistical performances throughout the season in 2015-16, going over the double-digit mark in points, 13 times, while breaking 10+ rebounds 12 times. Additionally, he broke the 20-point plateau four times, while totaling 10 double-doubles on the year.

Also returning to the front court for the Terriers include: senior Joe Caspio and juniors Isaiah Matthews and Jake Williams.

Both Caspio and Matthews played in all 27 games for the Terriers last season, with Matthews starting in 25 games and averaging nearly 20 minutes per night. Matthews averaged 3.9 points per game last season, while Caspio scored 4.9 per night while shooting nearly 50 percent.

Newcomers to the fray in the post, include sophomore transfer Marcel Rice, as well as freshman Brevin Dye. The frontcourt will look to continue to build off a successful campaign that saw the team rank first in both rebounds per game (41.6) as well as offensive rebounds per contest (15.1) in 2015-16.

Along with the experienced front court, the Terriers also boast a solid group or returners to the backcourt this season, led by junior Paul Ortiz. Ortiz, Hiram's returning leading scorer, had a solid season as a sophomore, averaging 13.5 points per game. He shot over 41 percent from the field while scoring in double figures in 20 of the team's 27 games.

The Terriers see five total letterwinners return to their backcourt, including seniors Jeremiah Thomas, Kyle Deckard and Joe Zoltowski, as well as junior Ryan Greenwood, to go along with Ortiz.

Thomas played a key role for the Terriers off the bench in 2015-16, appearing in all 27 games while averaging 6.4 points per night. Deckard, meanwhile, returns to the fray after missing the majority of last season to an injury. When he was healthy as a sophomore, he averaged 8.2 points per night, while sinking a pair of long-range shots per game.

Joining the program in the backcourt this season, are junior transfer Terrance Warren, as well as freshmen Jared Butler.

The up-tempo style will continue to serve the Terriers in 2016-17, as the team will look to

continue the pace of play which allowed them to rank in the top five in the Nation on possessions per game. As such, Hiram not only ranked third in the NCAC in points per game (77.1) but also led the conference in opponents' turnovers (16.7), steals (10.3) and blocked shots (4.4) per contest.

The Terriers will open the 2016-17 season at home against Presidents' Athletic Conference champion, and NCAA Tournament participant, Saint Vincent College, on Tuesday, November 15 at Price Gymnasium.

Following a non-conference schedule, which also sees home matchups against La Roche (11/22) and Mount Union (11/30), as well as an exhibition with Kent State University (11/18), the Terriers will open their slate of NCAC games with a home matchup against The College of Wooster on December 7.