HIRAM, Ohio — The Kenyon College men’s basketball team defeated the Hiram College Terriers by a score of 72-68 in an intense matchup that went down to the wire Saturday afternoon at Price Gymnasium.
The outcome marks the second North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) win for the Owls, who are showing significant signs of growth. Last season, Kenyon was unable to log a conference win and, in two matchups with Hiram, the Owls lost both by five points.
This time around, the Owls played tough basketball and were able to hold their lead as the pressure turned up in the final minutes. Kenyon held the lead for most of the second half, but never by more than eight points. Hiram managed a couple of brief advantages, but, with just a half minute remaining, junior Gefen Bar-Cohen drove the lane and dished it down low to first-year center Charlie Heywood, who finished the play, bringing the score to 68-63 and making it a two-possession lead for the Owls.
Heywood had the best game of his young collegiate career, scoring seven points and grabbing eight rebounds in only 15 minutes of action.
Hiram (1-8, 0-3 NCAC) would pull to within three points on two more occasions, but free throws from Nick Nelson and Anthony Testa sealed the victory for Kenyon (2-8, 2-1 NCAC).
Playing alongside Heywood, 6-7 first-year Murathan Kocaman produced a career-high 15 points, going 5-of-6 from the field and converting all five of his free throws. He was especially productive early on, scoring 11 of his points in the first half.
Kenyon also got big games from Dylan Fuerst, Bar-Cohen and Nelson. Fuerst tossed in 14 points and grabbed a career-best nine rebounds. He shot 6-of-9 and contributed three assists, two blocks and a steal. Bar-Cohen added 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Nelson piled up seven points, four assists and four steals.
Kenyon, which held a 32-27 lead at the half, found the difference to be on the boards and at the line. The Owls outrebounded Hiram 42-34 and shot 18-of-22 (81.8 percent) at the free throw line. The Terriers were just 7-of-14 (50 percent) at the line.
The Owls now face a 10-day break before their next matchup at home against Mount Saint Joseph on December 19.