Mt. Union cools off Hiram 77-63

By David Carducci Record-Courier staff writer Published:

ALLIANCE - The Hiram College men's basketball team felt almost superhuman coming into Thursday night's Ohio Athletic Conference showdown at Mount Union College. After opening the season 0-9, the Terriers had won two of their last three games, including a 15-point trouncing of OAC leader Heidelberg in its last game. "I think the guys felt like they were wearing a big 'S' on their chest," said Hiram coach Steve Minton. "They decisively beat the first-place team in the conference (Saturday), and then I think they came in (last night) feeling like they were now the first-place team." Mount Union brought Hiram abruptly back to earth, however, with a 77-63 victory. "It was one of the worst games we've played," said Minton. "We just did not play very well. ... We had some guys out there on the floor where I'd look out for a period of time and say 'they just aren't doing anything.' Then later in the game it would look like they were playing hard. You can't do that. You can't play in spurts. The game is 40 minutes." The only player the Terriers were able to count on for the entire 40 minutes of the game was guard-forward Don Burton. The junior swingman was the lone Hiram player to reach double figures in the game, leading all scorers with 30 while adding six rebounds and five steals. Meanwhile, the Purple Raiders, who have been plagued by injuries all season long and have featured 10 different players in the starting lineup, had little trouble finding contributors on the offensive end of the floor. Backup center Garett Gaydosh, one of four Purple Raiders to reach double figures, came off the bench to lead the team with 19 points, his first two giving Mount Union a lead it would never relinquish at 11-10 with 13:03 left in the first half. With Mount Union leading 25-22 just three minutes before the half, Gaydosh keyed a 10-0 run with a layup and three free throws. Burton answered the run, scoring three of his 15 first-half points on a long 3-pointer from the top of the key, helping the Terriers stay within 10 points at the half, 36-26. "I think Burton is as good as anyone we've played this year," said Mount Union coach Lee Hood. "He's the one kid we knew could beat us from the 3-point line. A good player like that you know you can't shut out, so you just try to make him work hard." The Purple Raiders' defense made Burton work in the second half, denying him the ball and keeping Hiram's hot hand from getting a look at the basket until seven minutes into the half. By then Mount Union had extended its lead to 19 points, due in large part to the outstanding play of its bench. Ronald Powers scored 14 points off the bench, 12 from behind the 3-point arc, to combine with Gaydosh in helping the Purple Raiders' bench outscore the Terriers 46-24. "In the second half, we came out and played with a little enthusiasm," said Hood. "We're a very young team and we've suffered a lot of injuries, and because of that I think we've lacked consistency. We've had a lot of games where we've had the lead and then let teams right back in it. We didn't do that (last night) and it was good to get a win." Mount Union improved to 7-6 on the season and 2-6 in the OAC with the victory, while Hiram fell to 2-11 overall and 1-6 in the conference. _____ Mount Union 77, Hiram 63 (At Mount Union) HIRAM (63) _ Phil Lawson 0-6 1-2 1; Brian Force 0-0 0-0 0; Matt LaValliere 2-4 0-0 4; Don Burton 11-21 2-2 30; Jeremy Bailey 2-6 0-0 4; Ike Childress 2-3 2-4 7; Darnell Primus 4-6 0-0 8; Abraham Hutchinson 1-4 0-0 2; Tim Devericks 0-0 0-0 0; Scott Kline 0 0-0 0; Christian Somrak 1-1 0-0 2; Clinton S. Blockson 2-3 1-4 5. Totals 25-54 6-12 62. MOUNT UNION (77) _ Eric Sampson 0-1 0-0 0; Kyle Schlabach 2-8 0-0 4; Rob Venrose 4-5 2-2 10; Scott Endsley 4-10 0-0 10; Richard Jackson 2-7 2-2 7; Todd Terakedis 0-1 0-0 0; Brent Eaton 0-1 0-0 0; Monte Hoover 2-3 0-0 4; Garett Gaydosh 7-12 5-6 19; Kevin Davis 0-0 0-0 0; Ronald Powers 4-12 2-3 14; Todd Richards 4-5 1-2 9; Keith Polen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-65 10-13 77. HIRAM 26 37 _ 63 MOUNT UNION 36 41 _ 77 Three-point shots _ Hiram (7-18): Burton 6-13, Childress 1-1, Lawson 0-3, Primus 0-1. Mount Union (9-22): Powers 4-8, Venrose 2-2, Endsley 2-5, Jackson 1-2, Schlabach 0-4, Eaton 0-1. Total Rebounds _ Mount Union, 37-31. Total Fouls _ Mount Union, 13-12. Total Assists _ Mount Union, 25-10. Total Turnovers _ Hiram, 23-19.

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