The Hiram College men’s basketball team rallied from a 19-point first-half deficit and 13-point deficit in the second half, but would ultimately fall short of Denison, 83-77, in a North Coast Athletic Conference game at Price Gymnasium.
Denison (8-8, 4-5 NCAC) outscored Hiram (4-12, 2-7 NCAC), 23-7, in the first nine minutes of the opening half on its way to posting its largest margin of 19 points, 31-12, at the 8:45 minute mark. The Big Red maintained their double-digit lead until the 5:55 mark when Hiram began a 15-3 scoring run that was capped by a three-pointer by junior forward Justin Harrington (Canton/GlenOak) that got the Terriers to within three points, 38-35, with 1:19 to go in the period. Denison answered with an ensuing 5-0 mini run, but a three-pointer by freshman guard Andre Serra (Coconut Creek, Fla./Monarch) as the first half buzzer sounded, cut the deficit to 43-38 at the break.
Denison slowly began to pull away to begin the second half and a 6-0 run nearing the midway point of the period extended the Big Red lead back to double figures, 62-50, with 12:16 to go. Denison posted its largest lead of the half of 13 points on several occasions, including a 70-57 margin with 8:41 remaining. Hiram made another rally with an 11-2 run to narrow the gap to four points, 72-68, following a jumper by senior guard Josh Edmondson(Euclid/Twinsburg) at the 4:05 mark. Hiram stayed within striking distance, but could not take the lead as critical free-throws by Denison down the stretch sealed the 83-77 victory for the Big Red.
Denison shot 49.0 percent (24-of-49) from the floor, including 46.7 percent from three-point range and attempted 35 free-throws, converting 28 of those attempts (80.0 percent). The Big Red were led in scoring by the duo of Brad Woolard and Alex Longi who both scored 20 points. Darius White was second with 16 points and David Meurer added 13 points. Rounding out the high scorers was Briggs King with 10 points.
Hiram shot 46.3 percent (25-of-54) for the game and was 18-of-26 (69.2 percent) from the charity stripe. The Terriers were paced by senior All-NCAC guard Aaron Stefanov(Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) with a game-high 27 points on eight-of-16 shooting (50.0 percent), including a perfect eight-of-eight at the free-throw line. Harrington was the only other Hiram player in double figures with 10 points. In addition, senior forward Chris Zurowski (Medina) grabbed at team-best eight boards.
Hiram will host Kenyon College on Saturday, Jan. 25 in a NCAC matchup at Price Gym. The game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.