The Hiram College men’s basketball team fell on the losing end of a 63-56 decision against Wabash (Ind.) College in a North Coast Athletic Conference game at Price Gymnasium.
Hiram (3-8, 1-3 NCAC) led throughout the entire first half and had a seven-point advantage, 9-2, at the 16:07 minute mark following a jumper by senior forward Justin Lonis(Mentor/Perrysburg). Wabash (2-8, 1-3 NCAC) kept the game close until the Terriers gained some breathing room thanks to an 11-3 scoring run that ended in a three-pointer by senior guard Matt Roman (North Olmsted) giving Hiram its largest lead of the half of 11 points, 24-13, with just over a minute to go before halftime. The Little Giants tallied the final points of the period on two free-throws, but Hiram would still lead, 24-15, at the intermission.
In the second half, the Wabash offense caught fire as Hiram was outscored, 48-32, while the Little Giants shot 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from the floor and 44.4 percent (four-of-nine) from three-point range. The Terriers found themselves up by 10 points, 31-21, with 16:35 to go thanks to a triple by senior forward Chris Zurowski (Medina). But Wabash would go on an ensuing 13-1 scoring run to take the lead, 34-32, at the 12:27 mark. Just under five minutes later, it was Wabash who boasted a 10-point margin, 48-38, as part of a 7-0 run. Hiram battled back to within four points, 50-46, following a pair of free-throws by sophomore forward Ray Gaston (Warren/John F. Kennedy) at the 3:50 mark. The Little Giants answered with five straight points to regain a more comfortable lead, 55-46, with 2:06 to go. The Terriers would get to within four points one final time with 30 seconds remaining, but the Hiram offense went scoreless the rest of the way as three free-throws by Wabash down the stretch sealed the 63-56 victory.
Wabash shot 36.0 percent (18-of-50) overall for the game, but just 20.0 percent (four-of-20) from three-point range with all four made triples coming in the second half. The Little Giants were led by Kyle Aiton with a game-high 22 points. Ross Sponsler was second with 12 points and Daniel Purvlicis added 11 points.
Hiram ended up shooting 37.7 percent (20-of-53) for the game and 25.0 percent (five-of-20) from behind the arc. The Terriers had one player score in double figures in Zurowski who finished with 14 points on five-of-nine shooting (55.6 percent). Roman was second with nine points and senior All-NCAC guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) rounded out the high scorers with eight points.
Hiram will host DePauw (Ind.) University tomorrow (Sunday, Jan. 5) in a NCAC matchup at Price Gym. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.