The Chargers cur­rently hold second place in the G-MAC. (Photo: Crystal Schupbach | Col­legian)

The Hillsdale men’s bas­ketball team (17 – 4, 11 – 3 G-MAC) ran through the com­pe­tition last week with two wins on its home court, winning a hard fought battle against Ken­tucky Wes­leyan Uni­versity (12 – 11, 6 – 7 G-MAC) on Thursday and a high scoring affair against Trevecca Nazarene Uni­versity  (4 – 17, 3 – 10 G-MAC) on Sat­urday.

The Chargers earned a 74 – 63 revenge victory over Ken­tucky Wes­leyan Uni­versity who had beaten Hillsdale in a nail-biting overtime contest in December.

In a physical defensive game, senior guard Ryan Bad­owski led the Chargers in scoring with 24 points on 5 – 12 shooting and hitting 10 – 11 from the free throw line. He also added 5 rebounds and had 5 steals.

“Bad­owski is running really good offense right now,” Tharp said. “He is reading the defense incredibly well.”

Late in the game, with a narrow 52 – 48 lead, Bad­owski swiped three passes, including two on inbound plays over 2 minutes of play while scoring a quick 12 points with a three-pointer, an and-one play, and 6 free throws. The flurry increased the Charger lead to 8 points and held off a late Panther scoring run.

“We just gutted it out,” head coach John Tharp said. “We just found a dif­ferent way to win.”

Junior guard Nate Neveau had the hot hand on the night, scoring 21 points with 3 triples and going a perfect 10 – 10 from the free-throw line while adding 4 steals and 2 assists.

Against a trio of 6 foot 9 inch Panther for­wards, junior forward Nick Czarnowski battle to haul in 11 rebounds while getting Amir Warnock, the starting center for Ken­tucky Wes­leyan, in foul trouble early, lim­iting to only 2 points in 14 minutes of action.

Hillsdale won the game at the foul line after drawing 24 per­sonal fouls where as a team they shot 26 – 29 — nearly 90 percent — despite shooting only 32 percent from the field.

“We told our guys we were really proud of how we one that game,” Tharp said. “Some­times you have to win without shooting a high per­centage.”

The Pan­thers shot 41 percent from the field and 45 percent from the field but had fewer free-throw attempts which allowed the Chargers to go on a 26 – 15 run over the last 8 minutes of the game.

The Chargers put the game away going 8 – 8 in free-throws in the final minutes of the game.

“We had the right guys shooting free throws, the ball han­dlers,” Tharp said.

With the playoffs approaching, hard foughts wins like this seem to mean more.

“It felt really good to beat them on our home floor because we have never done that,” senior guard Stedman Lowry said.

The Hillsdale men’s bas­ketball team came back Sat­urday to earn a decisive 74 – 63 victory over the Trevecca Nazarene Trojans.

Freshman forward Austen Yarian put on a show scoring 19 points on 8 – 9 shooting while grabbing 5 rebounds.

“Yarian shows flashes at almost every practice, every game, Tharp said. “He hasn’t done it all like he did on Sat­urday. He just saw one go in and he was really con­fident. He just didn’t think a lot and his mind was free out there.”

This season, Yarian has averaged 3.5 points per game and has been hes­itant to shoot three pointers. But on Sat­urday, he shot 3 – 4 from beyond the arc.

“We know he is really good, senior guard Stedman Lowry said. “He didn’t red­shirt because we knew he could help us a lot. As soon as he hit couple early, he kept rolling.”

His breakout per­for­mance was sup­ported by steady veteran pro­duction as each starter scored over 8 points, with Lowry having 15 points and dishing 5 assists.

Czarnowski stuffed the stat sheet, scoring 11 points while adding 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal.

Unlike the grind against Ken­tucky Wes­leyan, Hillsdale shot 57.4 percent from the field and 41.7 from beyond the arc against Trevecca Nazarene while sharing the ball and cre­ating 18 team assists.

“We have to get their defense shifting as we share the bas­ketball. It is one of the first things we look at. It isn’t always the assist, often it is the pass before that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. We are an unselfish team and it is a credit to our guys,” Tharp said.

The Chargers will play their next two games on the road. Thursday they will face Walsh College at 5:30 p.m. and Sat­urday they will face Malone Uni­versity at 1 p.m.

“We got to play with an edge. If we take a deep breath and relax, we could be in big trouble. If we guard, take care of the bas­ketball, and act tough, good things happen.”