GRANVILLE, Ohio-- Maxwell Siwik scored 19 points as Denison handed Hiram College a 68-62 loss on Wednesday night at Livingston Gymnasium. The win moves the Big Red to 5-4 in the North Coast Athletic Conference while Hiram drops to 6-3 in conference play.
During pregame, these were two teams who appeared to be going in opposite directions.
Winners of eight of its last nine games, Hiram was coming off an 88-79 win over nationally-ranked Ohio Wesleyan. They were even named the Division III Team of the Week by the National Association of Basketball Coaches on Tuesday.
Denison started the season hot but has struggled of late, losing six of eight dating back to mid-December. Against the Terriers, the Big Red got back to its defense-first mentality and made things hard for Hiram by contesting shots and winning 50/50 balls.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair that saw Denison post the games' first exclamation point in the closing seconds when Siwik drained a closely contested 3-pointer to put the Big Red on top, 37-33 at the intermission.
With 12 minutes to play in the second half, Hiram first-year Jalen Kirksey scored two of his 13 to make it a 46-43 game. Denison responded with a 7-0 run powered by five points from Fred Brou which gave the Big Red its largest lead at 58-47 with 6:26 to play.
A 3-pointer by Hiram's Marcel Rice with 3:54 remaining got the Terriers to within five points but Claude Chandonnet's triple from the corner pushed Denison's lead back to eight. Over the final three minutes, Hiram missed five of its final six shot attempts allowing DU to hold on for the six-point win.
Siwik led Denison with 19 points while shooting 7-of-15 from the field. He was 5-of-8 from beyond the arc and also ended with four rebounds. Garrett Collier finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes. Matt Doyle followed with 10 points, five assists and five rebounds.
Hiram's Kelvin Jones entered the game leading the NCAC in rebounds per game (9.9) and was sixth in scoring at 16.1 ppg. He finished with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting and led all players with a season-high 18 rebounds. Kirksey followed with 13 points and seven boards in 34 minutes.
Denison shot 44 percent as a team and was 10-of-24 from 3-point range (42 percent). Hiram shot 37 percent and was just 3-of-22 on 3-point tries.
The Big Red returns to action on Saturday (Jan. 20) when they host Kenyon College at 3 p.m.