Hiram shatters Grove City streak
By Bill Albright
Nick Russo, Chris Roberts and Ian Pfouts led the Terriers to their fourth win.
GROVE CITY, Pa. — With the Christmas holidays just around the corner and Hiram’s matchup with Grove City a non-conference affair on the road, the Terriers had no problems remaining focused enough to down the Wolverines, 66-56, at College Arena Wednesday night.
“I am really pleased to get out of here with a win,” said Hiram coach Steve Fleming. “Grove City is a very nice team and they haven’t won five in a row by accident. They are well-coached, they are very disciplined and they are extremely hard to guard. All those things considered, it was a very good road win for us.”
Although the Terriers (4-2) trailed by as many as six in the first half, they battled back to tie the game three times, the final deadlock at 23-all at halftime.
Considering the fact that Hiram shot only 29 percent during the first 20 minutes, Fleming felt real good about where his team was at that point in the game.
“I don’t think either team shot the ball well all night and it was going to come down to who could hit some shots,” he said. “They [Grove City] were sagging down in the paint and forcing us to shoot from the outside and if I were in their position, I would have done the same thing.”
If there were two things that turned the game around for Hiram in the second half, it would have been their improved board work as well as limiting Grove City to just one shot on many of their trips down the floor.
After showing a three-rebound edge (18-15) at halftime, the Terriers pushed that advantage up to 11 (40-29) for the game, giving Hiram an 11-2 edge in second-chance points for the game. The Terrier bench also outscored the Wolverines 34-19.
“There is no question that our second-chance points helped us pull away,” said Fleming. “It gave us a great lift throughout the game, but especially in the second half. But maybe the biggest key in that [second] half was that we limited them to one shot. They are a very good offensive rebounding team and when they space you out that far, it makes it very difficult to box them out.”
Grove City coach Steve Lamie also felt the improved Hiram board work along with lack of execution on the part of his players made the difference in the second half.
“We only had four offensive rebounds [in the second half],” said Lamie. “They are very athletic and we knew going in they were a good offensive rebounding team. I thought we did a very good in the first half in checking out, but as our shots didn’t fall, rather than staying disciplined and checking out, I thought we panicked. Instead of doing the little things, we started to go for the boards and that is when they pulled away from us.”
With the game on the line, Nick Russo and Chris Roberts stepped up and hit some big shots to allow the Terriers to pull away down the stretch. Roberts finished with a game-high 17 points and Russo added 15. Ian Pfouts also had a pair of double-digit totals in the game with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
For Grove City (5-2), Ryan Gibson paced the Wolverines with 12 points and Andy O’Keefe added 10.