The Hiram College men’s basketball team rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit to beat Olivet (Mich.) College, 95-87, in a non-conference game as part of the “M” Club Classic hosted by the University of Mount Union in Alliance.
Hiram (3-6) jumped out early scoring the first eight points of the game, all coming from senior All-North Coast Athletic Conference guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) on a pair of three-pointers and a jumper. The Terriers led by as many as 10 points in the early minutes of the first half before Olivet (2-8) began to chip away at the lead and fought its way back to take the lead as part of an 11-0 scoring run making the score, 29-24, with 10:26 left in the period. The Comets never trailed the rest of the half and had their largest lead of 11 points on two occasions, including a 47-36 mark with 5:43 left before the break. Hiram ended the half on a 12-2 run to pull to within a point, 49-48, at the intermission.
In the second half, the Terriers regained the lead with the first points of the frame coming on a triple by senior guard Josh Edmondson (Euclid/Twinsburg), who scored 13 of his 16 points for the game in the final 20 minutes, to give Hiram a 51-49 advantage. Olivet later had a six-point lead, 77-71, at the 9:12 minute mark before Hiram answered with an 11-0 run to move ahead, 82-77, with 5:18 to play and never trailed again. The Comets got to within two points with just under a minute-and-a-half remaining, but four free-throws by sophomore guardAusten Rekolt (Salem/West Branch) and a pair of free-throws by Stefanov, sealed the victory for the Terriers with a final score of 95-87.
Olivet shot 43.3 percent (29-of-67) from the field and had four players score in double figures led by T.J. Vondette with 26 points in addition to grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds. Kevin Woodson was second with 19 points and Blake Krum had 12 points. Rounding out the high scorers for the Comets was Tommy Cerven with 11 points.
Hiram finished the game shooting 59.3 percent (35-of-59) from the floor, including 40.9 percent (nine-of-22) from three-point range. The Terriers were led in scoring by Stefanov with a game-high 27 points on nine-of-16 shooting (56.3 percent). He also had four made triples. Sophomore forward Ray Gaston (Warren/John F. Kennedy) was second with 17 points and was followed by Edmondson with 16 points. In addition, Edmondson also grabbed a team-high nine boards. Senior forward Chris Zurowski (Medina) had 14 points and freshman guard Kyle Deckerd (Louisville/Canton South) added 10 points.
Hiram will return to action tomorrow (Sunday, Dec. 29) to take on non-conference opponent Adrian (Mich.) College in its final game of the “M” Club Classic. The game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. in Alliance.