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Lords fall to aggressive Hiram, top Allegheny

Lords fall to aggressive Hiram, top Allegheny

The three-point line wasn’t adopted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association until 1986, but sometime between then and this past Saturday, the Hiram College Terriers (4-2) figured out how to take advantage of this scoring opportunity, as they made 10 3-pointers in their 88-78 victory over the Kenyon Lords (2-4).

Hiram dictated the pace of the game from the jump, running a full-court press for all 40 minutes, forcing and capitalizing on 22 Kenyon turnovers. Committing to the “pace and space” philosophy, the Terriers made as many three-point shots as the Lords took on Saturday, going 10-27 from range. Alexander Powell ’18 and Matt Shifrin ’19 hit Kenyon’s two 3-pointers.

The Lords trailed by five at the half, but as the game wore on, Hiram’s full-court pressure and barrage of 3-pointers began to take their toll. Hiram was “aware that we’re a team that thrives by slowing the ball down and wearing teams down with long possessions,” center Brien Comey ’16 said. “The pressure they put on our guards made it tough to get into our offense and led to us rushing.” Comey led the Lords with 19 points and three blocks.

“I thought we were in the right position most of the time, but we did not execute passing and catching against the press and their athleticism bothered us,” Head Coach Daniel Priest said of Kenyon’s turnovers. While the pace of the Terriers stymied Kenyon’s guards, Priest noted Kenyon also got  away from their original gameplan. “We clearly played too quick,” Priest said. “I take the blame for the pace. We converted some easy shots against the press but needed to be more patient and execute half-court offense.”

Hiram’s shooting made the difference. “They let them fly a lot because they were open a lot,” Tim Connolly ’16 said. “If we can make those looks difficult, I’ll be ok … but we have to be more solid on defending the three.” Connolly had 14 points and four assists in the game.

Though the Lords did not expect to start conference play without a win, Comey said he remains positive. “Moving forward, we just need to get back to playing our style of basketball and not letting our opponents change what we do,” he said.
“In our league, there are going to be ups and downs. The key for us now is moving forward and not letting a slow start hold us back.”

The Lords, however, bounced back against Allegheny College (2-7) on Tuesday, winning 74-62 thanks in part to Connolly’s huge performance – he scored 32 points in a 33-minute span. While no one else scored in the double digits, the Lords delivered a balanced attack, with 10 of 11 players scoring.

The Lords effectively responded to their most pressing issues, turning the ball over six times to Allegheny’s 12 while also tripling their attempts from three-point range on Tuesday, shooting 9-31. After a tough loss, a solid team win with a stunning individual performance might have been just what the team needed.

After beating Allegheny College 74-62 on Dec. 8th at home, Kenyon will not play again until Dec. 19, when they take on Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.

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