Nov. 15 – HIRAM, Ohio – The Hiram College men's basketball team made solid statement to open the 2016-17 campaign, as the Terriers dismantled the Bearcats of Saint Vincent College, 93-71, on Tuesday evening in Price Gymnasium.
The Terriers found their offense clicking on all cylinders throughout the matchup, as Hiram shot a scorching 61 percent from the field, including .556 from outside the three-point arc.
Senior Kyle Deckerd and junior Kelvin Jones were a big part of the offensive barrage. The duo combined for 37 points on 15-of-19 shooting in the game. Deckard shot 7-of-9 from the field (4-of-6 from deep distance), while Jones worked inside, going 8-of-10.
The visiting Bearcats, who entered the season, and the game, as the four-time defending conference champions in the Presidents' Athletic Conference, pushed out to an early advantage. Back-to-back triples by Malique McLaren and Josh Duda gave Saint Vincent a 17-11 lead with 11:58 to play.
It was from there, however, the Hiram would grab control of the half. Trailing 21-18 at the 9:26 mark, the Terriers would embark on a 22-2 run to push ahead 40-23 with 2:46 remaining in the half.
The 20-point swing was fueled by Jones, who contributed 10 points to the run, including eight-straight. Four other players also scored, including Jake Williams, Joe Caspio, Deckerd and Jeremiah Thomas. The three by Thomas capped the run which gave the Terriers the commanding lead.
Saint Vincent would chip away at the lead in the final 2+ minutes, however, and the Terriers found themselves leading by 12 at the break, 46-34.
Hiram suffocated the Bearcats in the opening half, forcing 12 Saint Vincent turnovers, which lead to an 18-7 advantage in points off turnovers. Additionally, the Terriers shot 65% in the opening stanza.
The Terriers would never trail in the second half, but the visiting Saint Vincent squad made a run in the early stages of the second half. The Bearcats would use a 16-4 run to pull within one point (54-53) with 13:50 to go.
With 10 minutes to go, the game looked like a classic in the making, before the Terriers stepped on the gas pedal to pull away. Leading 62-60, Hiram outscored Saint Vincent 28-5 over the next eight minutes to blow the game wide open.
The Hiram defense locked down to start the run, using a pair of turnovers to push ahead. Following a steal and score by Terrence Williams, Paul Ortiz threw down a thunderous, two-handed jam. Deckard then came up with a steal on the ensuing possession, and found Ortiz who threw and alley-oop to Jake Williams for the layup. The six quick points had the Terriers up and running and they never looked back.
The Terrier lead would get to as many as 25 points (90-65) on a jumper by Sherman Dean III, before the score settled on the 93-71 final, giving the Terriers their first victory of the year.
As a team, Hiram dominated nearly every facet of the game. The Terriers outscored the Bearcats 40-24 in the paint, while also holding an 8-4 advantage in fast-break points. Hiram also outscored Saint Vincent in points off turnovers (28-18), forcing 18 Bearcat miscues.
Jones led the way for Hiram, posting his first double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 boards. Ortiz was the other starter in double figures, totaling 10 points. Ryan Greenwood finished with seven points, while Matthews added six, and Warren, five points and five assists.
10 different players scored at least five points in the matchup, as the Terriers bench outscored Saint Vincent's 46-36. Deckerd dropped 18 in a reserve role, while Thomas added 10. Williams posted six points, with Joe Caspio and Dean added five, each.
The Terriers will continue play this week when they travel to Kent State University for an exhibition with the Golden Flashes on Friday evening at 7 p.m. They will then travel to Bluffton, Ohio to take on Bluffton University on Saturday (11/19) at 2 p.m.