After trailing by 15 points at halftime, the Hiram College men’s basketball team rallied to within six points late in the second half, but could not overcome No. 15 nationally-ranked The College of Wooster, 78-62, in a North Coast Athletic Conference game at Price Gymnasium.
Wooster (11-2, 5-0 NCAC) started out hot connecting on its first five shots and added a pair of free-throws to lead, 14-2, early in the first half. Hiram (7-7, 1-4 NCAC) then outscored the Fighting Scots, 10-4, to pull to within six points, 18-12, following two free-throws by senior forward Steve Zivoder(Garrettsville/Garfield) with 9:50 left in the period. Wooster managed to increase its lead to double-digits following the Hiram run and recorded its largest margin of the half of 15 points with a halftime score of 42-27.
The Fighting Scots looked to run away with the game early in the second half, leading by as many as 18 points, 57-39, with 12:37 to go. Back-to-back three-pointers by junior guard Aaron Stefanov(Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) and junior forward Chris Zurowski (Medina) sparked an ensuing 10-1 scoring run to cut the deficit to single figures, 58-49, at the 11:03 mark. The Scots quickly increased the lead back to double-figures, but another 7-2 Terrier run would narrow the score to 64-58 with 7:10 left to play. Following a timeout by Wooster, the Scots then sealed the deal with an 8-0 run of their own to go back up by double-figures with a 14-point margin, 72-58, with 3:31 remaining. Hiram battled back to within 10 points with just over a minute left, but six straight free-throws down the stretch by Wooster clinched the 78-62 win for the Scots.
Wooster shot 48.3 percent (28-of-58) from the field and was led in scoring by Doug Thorpe with a game-tying high 19 points. Xavier Brown was the only other Scot player in double-digits with 16 points in addition to grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds.
Hiram shot 42.9 percent (27-of-63) overall from the floor. The Terriers were led by Stefanov with a game-tying high 19 points on nine-of-18 shooting (50.0 percent). Senior guard Alan Sheppard(Wadsworth) rounded out the Hiram high scorers with 10 points.
Hiram will host Kenyon College on Saturday, Jan. 12 in a NCAC game at Price Gym. The game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.