Terriers aim to get back on track vs. surprising Wabash

JANUARY 10 – When the Hiram men’s basketball team defeated Adrian College 87-68 on December 30, the Terriers improved their record to 8-4 and 3-1 in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC). Two conference losses later, the team tries to return to the win column when it hosts surprising conference 2nd place team Wabash (11-3, 4-1 in the NCAC) on Wednesday.

Wabash, tabbed to finish third in the NCAC pre-season coaches’ poll, moved to just a half-game from the top of the NCAC after dismantling Wooster 83-68 on Saturday. It was its fourth straight win. The team is also 8-2 since its 89-81 OT loss to Ohio Athletic Conference co-leader Marietta in the Great Lakes Invitational on Nov. 18.

The Little Giants also have the exact same won-loss record as they did at this time a season ago, when the team won the NCAC Conference and advanced all the way to the NCAA Division III championship tournament. “Our leadership has been very good, and our depth in a lot of different areas has really helped us this year,” says Kyle Brumett, who’s in his ninth season as Wabash head coach. “We have a group of players who prepared well in the off-season and are also willing to work daily.”

Wabash is outscoring its opponents by a 78-72 points per game (ppg) average. The Little Giants are shooting .489 from the field and .357 from behind the three-point arc. Its top scores are four juniors:

Ahmoni Jones (14.9 ppg), Edreece Redmond (13. 4 ppg), Vinny Buccilla (12.6 ppg) and Sam Comer (11.5 ppg). Comer paces Wabash with 6.8 rebounds per game (rpg), with Jones close behind at 6.2 rpg.

Here’s a link to Wabash College’s statistics:    https://sports.wabash.edu/sports/mens-basketball/stats/2022-2023

Brumett lost three key seniors to graduation, but he’s singing the praises of this year’s team leadership. “Sam (Comer) has taken on a captain’s role. He’s put in a lot of work in the weight room and the gym, and he’s taken a big step ahead on the court,” he said. “He’s a solid defender, and he takes what Coach Sully and Coach Jacobs and I give him, and he listens. He’s a low turnover, high percentage shooter for us.

“Ahmoni (Jones) has done a terrific job coming back from knee surgery,” Brumett adds. “He’s our defensive rock and a leading rebounder. He’s the big brother of our squad; our guys love him.”

Another pleasant source of points and energy for Wabash comes from Edreece Redmond. “He’s kind of our spark plug. He and Vinny (Buccilla) did some of this last year for us. He’s always trying to outwork and play harder than our opponents. He’s a motivator and a positive influence on others on the team.”

Hiram Coach Taylor Roth is in his third year leading the Terriers, after serving as an assistant for the University of Rochester. He says playing great defense is the key to victory against the Little Giants.

“Wabash is physical and well-coached,” he says. “We need to force contested shots and then rebound.” Roth adds that Hiram need to be “dictating the terms of the game by playing it at our tempo and pace is important. We also have to be disciplined with our execution in the half-court game.”

Hiram is averaging nearly 83 ppg. It shoots .472 from the field and .384 from three-point country. It holds a slight 35-34 rpg advantage. Here’s a link to Hiram’s team statistics:
https://hiramterriers.com/sports/mens-basketball/stats?path=mbball

There are five Terriers whose scoring averages are in double figures, led by Levi MacAdam at 18 ppg. Trent Jakacki is next at 15.9 ppg, then Brodgie Gordon at 15.4 ppg, Kevin Beans at 11.4 ppg, and Doug Sartain at 12.2 ppg. Four Hiram players – Gordon, Beans, Rick Edsel and Ivan Yang – all average around five rpg.

“Gordon is our senior, captain point guard,” Roth says. “His leadership and consistency practice to practice has been huge, in addition to his playmaking.

“Jakacki has really taken off in the last month or so,” Roth adds. “He has led us in scoring in several games, and we have benefited greatly from his skill and his toughness.

“(Kevin) Beans (Jr.) has taken up a lot of challenging defensive assignments, and his ability to defend multiple positions has been crucial,” Roth says. “(Doug) Sartain has provided great scoring punch off the bench, and it playing his best basketball since he’s been with us at Hiram.”

Both teams also have to be on guard against looking ahead. Hiram host Denison next, and Wabash will face its archrival DePauw in Greencastle, Ind., both on Saturday.

Here’s a link to the North Coast Athletic Conference standings:

https://northcoast.org/standings.aspx?path=mbball

Eyeoncleveland founder John Kerezy will be at the Wabash vs. Hiram game tomorrow. Watch for his story shortly after the game’s conclusion. Photos courtesy websites of Hiram College Athletics and Wabash College Athletics.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s