ANNVILLE, Pa. -- Tierney Hiltz's career-high 24 points helped No. 8 Lebanon Valley get an important early win, topping rival Messiah 54-47 in the Commonwealth Conference opener on Thursday.

The Dutchmen (5-0, 1-0 CC) held off a big defensive effort by the Falcons (3-2, 0-1 CC), getting Hiltz's gritty performance along with a strong performance by freshman Kiely Chaklos who scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Lebanon Valley took control with a 15-2 run during the middle of the second half, then held off a Messiah rally to win. Messiah was held to 31.3 percent shooting by the Dutchmen, who took 20 fewer shots while shooting 45.5 from the floor.

Dori Gyori and Kira Maier led Messiah with 10 points apiece, and Gyori added 10 boards.

Foul shooting was a major factor as LVC stayed clean and gave the Falcons just four foul shots, while going 13-of-17 on its end.

Messiah led for much of the first half, building a 17-12 lead at the 9:29 mark before Hiltz caught fire, scoring all of LVC's points as part of a 10-2 run to take a three-point lead late in the half and ultimately a 26-25 halftime advantage.

The Falcons swung it around to lead 31-28 at the start of the second half before LVC hit their big run, starting with back-to-back layups by Hiltz and Liz Borgia to start the long rally while holding Messiah scoreless for more than three minutes.

Despite building the 10-point lead, Messiah stormed back within a basket twice, including on Becca Albus' basket with 4:24 left, to cut it to 46-43.

But Hiltz responded with a steal and a bucket, and Chaklos made a free throw followed by a layup to go up six with 1:39 left. A Gyori layup made it 51-47 seconds later, but LVC went to the line and Hiltz hit both of her shots to ice the game with 18 seconds left.