By PAT JAMESON
Allegheny Men’s basketball opened their NCAC schedule against Hiram College Wednesday night, losing to the visiting Terriers 67-61.
The game was tied for much of the first half before a wild run in the last minute led to the Gators taking a 29-25 lead into halftime. Senior John O’Donnell led the charge with two three pointers in the last forty seconds.
Both teams were evenly matched for most of the second half before Hiram took an eight point lead with six minutes left on a 10-4 run. Brandon Smith ended the run with a layup to make it 47-52.
Senior De’Andre Corbin’s steal and subsequent layup with two minutes left made it 55-50. Hiram’s Chris Zurowski, ’14, answered with an emphatic dunk to kill the Gators momentum and made it 57-50. A pair of Hiram free throws by Zurowski put the Terriers up by nine. Ryan Stanko’s three with 45 seconds remaining closed the gap for the Gators. Directly after, Stanko hit another clutch three to close the gap to five with 33 seconds remaining. After a pair of Terrier free throws, Valentic’s field goal made it 65-61. Two foul shots later ended the Gators’ hope for a comeback. Free throws proved to be the difference as the Terriers were 22-29 from the foul line while Allegheny ended at 2-9.
Despite the slow start this season, O’Donnell says he thinks the team will hit their stride soon.
“We’re excited for the conference,” said Head Coach Jim Driggs. “As always it will be very strong. We have to continue to get better, handle success and adversity and keep focus on the next game.”
The loss puts the Gators at 2-4 for the year. The team travels to Springfield, Ohio this Saturday to face host Wittenberg. Tip off starts at 2 p.m.