Story Courtesy of the Hiram Sports Information Department
For the second time in the span of a month, the Hiram men's basketball team, under the direction of head coach Chris Kibler, has been named the Division III Team of the Week by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, it was announced by the NABC on Tuesday, February 13.
Teams up for NABC Team of the Week honors were nominated by their respective conferences, before being voted on by the NABC leadership. Only one team is selected per week from each of five levels of collegiate basketball (Division I, II, III, NAIA, and Junior College). This week, Hiram joins Texas A&M University (DI), Ferris State (DII), William Carey (NAIA) and Sullivan County Community College (NJCAA).
The Terriers earned their second NABC Team of the Week honor after posting a 2-0 week against Ohio Wesleyan and #3 Wittenberg in a pair of games at Price Gymnasium last week. With the victories, Hiram kept pace for third place in the North Coast Athletic Conference regular-season standings with just one week to go.
Hiram earned the program's first-ever regular-season sweep of the Battling Bishops, toppling OWU 72-66. The Terriers locked down defensively in the win, holding one of the conference's top scoring offenses to just 37% shooting from the field and 66 points. Additionally, the team kept pre-season All-American Nate Axelrod to just four points on 1-of-8 shooting. Offensively, freshman Jalen Kirksey posted a season-high 22 points, while Terrence Warren added 15.
The Terriers followed that win with their biggest statement of the season, blowing out third-ranked, and previously unbeaten, Wittenberg, 94-71. Against the NCAC's top scoring defense, Hiram was lights out, shooting .603 from the field. Senior Kelvin Jones led the way with 25 points and eight rebounds. Warren tallied 18 points and seven assists, and sophomore Austin Blatt posted 11 points in a reserve role.
For his efforts, Jones was also named the NCAC Player of the Week for the second time this season. He finished the week averaging a double-double with 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per night, all while shooting over 84% from the field.
With just one home game remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Terriers need just one victory to secure a home playoff game for the second time in three seasons. Hiram currently sports a 9-1 mark in the friendly confines of Price Gymnasium, with the lone loss coming in overtime.
The National Team of the Week honor marks the second of the month for Hiram, as the Terriers also earned the award on January 16 after wins over Ohio Wesleyan and Kenyon College.
Hiram will look to ride their late-season momentum into Wednesday night as the Terriers play host to Denison University. The matchup with the Big Red is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start.