It was easily the best game of the season for the Hillsdale College men's basketball team.
On a festive Saturday afternoon at the Dawn Tibbetts Potter Arena, the Chargers executed at a high level on both ends of the court in an 83-62 win over Davenport University. Hillsdale's record is now even at 3-3 on the season while the Panthers, who had won four in a row, drop to 5-2.
The Panthers came into the game on a winning streak and were considered a contender to repeat as GLIAC champions. Hillsdale was up for the task, running its motion offense with strength and discipline, and playing a swarming style of defense that forced Davenport into tough shots all day.
A Dylan Lowry 3-pointer near the halftime buzzer punctuated a 20-2 run that ended the first half. Hillsdale trailed 21-20, but got into a beautiful flow offensively to end the half. The players did a terrific job of setting screens and finding cutters with pinpoint passes in the half court offense. The team's awareness and basketball IQ in this game were off the charts.
Davenport came out strong in the second half, going on an 11-0 run to cut the lead from 18 to 7, 41-34, less than five minutes into the half. It was a big shot from a talented team, but the Chargers showed maturity in counterpunching, quickly restoring its lead to comfortable double figures just a few minutes later.
Hillsdale's half-court execution was evident in the points in the paint statistic. Hillsdale outscored Davenport 64-22 in the paint, as the Charger players walled off their defenders and made clean, quality passes in their offense.
The Chargers shot 59 percent from the field compared to 41 percent for the Panthers. Hillsdale also enjoyed a 36-26 edge on the boards and scored 32 points off Panther turnovers.
Lowry led a balanced offensive effort with 21 points, going 7-for-9 from the field. Freshman forward Patrick Cartier had 19 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals in 27 minutes, and junior Davis Larson added 16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals in a fine all-around game.
PHOTO: Camryn Olson