The Hiram College men’s basketball team fell in a heartbreaker to Wabash (Ind.) by a 73-72 on Friday evening in Price Gymnasium.
Freshman Joe Caspio (Willowick/Eastlake North) split a pair of free throws for the Terriers (9-11, 3-10 NCAC) with 38 seconds left to give Hiram a 71-66 lead.
Wabash (13-7, 8-5 NCAC) would get two free throws from Kyle Aiton to trim the Terriers lead to 71-68 with 30 seconds.
The Little Giants would force a turnover on Hiram’s ensuing inbound and would get a layup from Daniel Purvlicis to make the score 71-70 with two seconds left.
Sophomore Jeremiah Thomas (Cleveland/John Hay) was fouled immediately on the inbounds.
Thomas went to the free throw line with 1.6 seconds left and made his first attempt, but his second was off. The Little Giants grabbed the rebound and Austin Burton heaved a 65-foot shot that swished through the net to give Wabash the dramatic 73-72 win.
Wabash opened the game strong and jumped out to a 13-3 lead just 5:08 into the contest.
The Little Giants continued their strong play and extended their lead to 30-15 with 5:35 left in the first half.
But Hiram stormed back and closed the half on a 18-3 run to knot the game at 33-33 at the half.
In the second half, a layup from junior Austen Rekolt (Salem/West Branch) put Hiram in front 35-33 and a 3-pointer from sophomore Kyle Deckerd (Canton/Canton South) pushed Hiram’s lead to 46-40 with 14:17 left in the game.
Junior Ray Gaston (Warren/John F. Kennedy) would give the Terriers a 53-45 lead on a 3-pointer with 11:27 remaining.
The Little Giants would cut the Terriers lead to 58-56, before Hiram responded with the next five points to extend their lead back to 63-56 with 7:27 left.
Junior J.J. Woodson (Cleveland/Bedford) paced Hiram with 17 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Gaston finished with 14 points and Deckerd had 13 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Purvlicis paced Wabash with a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Hiram went 27-of-53 (50.9 percent) from the field and 11-of-25 (44.0 percent) in 3-pointers, while Wabash finished 25-of-53 (47.2 percent) in shooting and 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from beyond the arc.
The Little Giants won the rebounding battle 38-28, but Hiram outscored Wabash 19-5 in points off of turnovers.
The Terriers will have a quick turnaround and will host DePauw (Ind.) on Saturday at 4 p.m.