Section: Basketball

Men’s basketball secures season sweep over Hiram College

Men’s basketball secures season sweep over Hiram College

Bar-Cohen put up a signature performance against the Terriers. I SEJIN KIM/SID/NCAA

This past Saturday, the Kenyon men’s basketball team (5-14, 3-7 NCAC) battled against the Hiram College Terriers in an electrifying home matchup, coming away with a hard-fought 81-70 victory. On Wednesday, the Owls welcomed the Wabash College Little Giants to Tomsich Arena, but lost by a final score of 74-64.

During the first half, Dylan Fuerst ’24 and Gefen Bar-Cohen ’25 led the way to a 17-9 advantage just seven minutes into the contest. But Kenyon’s offense faltered, and Hiram fought back, cutting the Owls’ lead down to just two points. The two teams went back-and-forth down the stretch, trading buckets and, more often than not, free throws in a foul-heavy game. With halftime looming, Hiram took its first lead since the game’s opening minutes to go ahead 30-29. Connor Moss ’25 made a pair of key free throws to regain the lead for Kenyon, and the Owls, with momentum on their side from Nicholas Nelson ’26’s steal and fastbreak layup, headed to halftime with a 41-32 lead.

After the break, Kenyon moved the ball with an impressive flow, as seven Owls found their way onto the scoresheet in the first nine minutes. Though Nelson exited the game, Lucas Friedman ’27 ran Kenyon’s offense from the point, and the Owls expanded their lead to 21 points with 11 minutes to play. However, as they did in the first half, the Terriers refused to go away without a fight. A pair of big runs from Hiram shrank Kenyon’s lead to six points with four minutes to play, setting up a dramatic conclusion to the conference matchup. Anthony Testa ’24 answered back on the Owls’ next possession with a 3-pointer to conclusively turn the tides for Kenyon, and Bar-Cohen brought the Kenyon faithful to their feet with a monstrous slam dunk. Key free throws and control of the defensive glass in the final minute helped to seal the win for the Owls, 81-70.

With every game having an impact on playoff standings, Bar-Cohen was proud of Kenyon’s effort against Hiram. “We didn’t hang our heads when we missed shots, got scored on or turned the ball over; we simply moved on to the next play and remained focused on what we needed to do to win the game,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “It’s become apparent that when we play confidently, we place ourselves in situations to win. We all recognize the importance of sustaining this mindset for the rest of the season and understand how it will translate to future wins.”

Bar-Cohen spearheaded the Owls, recording his third double-double of the season with 23 points and 10 rebounds. For his performance against the Terriers, he was named NCAC Offensive Player of the Week. Though he appreciated the honor, Bar-Cohen is focused on the Owls’ collective achievements. “I care more about my team’s success than my own,” he said. “It feels great to be acknowledged for my individual play, but I’m focused on doing what I can to help the team win.” Fuerst, who had a career high in scoring with 16 points, and Charlie Heywood ’27, who snagged 10 rebounds, also had big days for Kenyon.

On Wednesday night, the Owls took on Wabash at Tomsich Arena after losing to the Little Giants 76-50 earlier in the season. Despite sticking with Wabash for much of the game, who sit in second place in the NCAC standings, the Owls ultimately could not keep up and fell 74-64. In the first half, both teams were relatively evenly matched and traded baskets back and forth. Although Wabash held seven-point leads at multiple points, the Little Giants could not decisively pull away, as the Owls fought back and entered halftime down 31-27.

In the second half, Kenyon found its footing offensively, shooting 16-of-31 from the field and 44.44% from beyond the arc. However, Wabash always stayed one step ahead and capitalized on its chances, scoring 11 points off turnovers compared to Kenyon’s one and 16 second-chance points to Kenyon’s zero. Bar-Cohen notched another double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, the 11th time this season he has scored 15 or more points in a game. Testa matched Bar-Cohen with 15 points, while Heywood and Nelson both reached double-digits as well.

Kenyon will head back on the road on Saturday to face off against the College of Wooster. With the end of the season looming, Bar-Cohen is confident that the Owls can finish the season strong and make the NCAC tournament for the first time since 2017: “We have two main goals for the rest of the season: to be playing our best basketball by the end of the season and to make a run in the end-of-season tournament. The way things are trending, we’ll achieve both.”

Morgan Boone ’27 contributed to reporting.

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