The Hillsdale College Chargers extended their record to 2 – 2 after finishing their weekend in Wisconsin 1 – 1 against the University of Wisconsin Parkside and Concordia-St. Paul.
On Friday night, Parkside tied the game at 43 with just under two minutes to go. Hillsdale missed three shot opportunities to seal the victory, forcing overtime. From there, the Rangers outscored the Chargers 17 – 8 to take the win, 60 – 51.
“I think it was disappointing. We led the majority of that game,” head coach John Tharp said. “We made a few defensive mistakes that led to a couple threes on us, and we had some really good looks that we missed some opportunities.”
Hillsdale commanded the first half, leading by as many as eight points at times, but Parkside came out strong in the second half with a 7 – 0 run to start. The Chargers called a timeout, regained their composure, and took back a seven-point lead with just under six minutes remaining in regulation.
Another factor in Friday’s loss was when junior forward Austen Yarian injured his thumb early on in the game. By overtime, the team lacked his much-needed presence under the basket.
“We went to the doctor right after the game Friday night and the doctor called our trainer on Saturday and said it was a UCL sprain,” Yarian said.
Senior guard Dylan Lowry led the game for the Chargers with 12 points and nine rebounds, while junior forward Davis Larson added in eight rebounds and eight assists.
“I think we were altogether upset that we let that game slide by,” Larson said. “I think Coach Tharp did a good job of getting us together and he told us he was proud of how hard we worked. We just kind of kept the mindset of, ‘Hey, we’ve just got to get a win tomorrow.’”
Against Concordia-St. Paul, the game stayed within a six-point margin well into the second half. But a three-pointer by Lowry with 14 minutes remaining in the game gave the Chargers the momentum to pull away and take the lead. They finished the game 65 – 49.
“I didn’t know if we were gonna be able to bounce back from that tough loss, with just the energy that we had to put forward. We had a wakeup call at 7:30 and were back on the court by 8:05 for a walkthrough,” Tharp said. “We played really hard on Saturday. I told them after the game I was as proud as I’ve been because what happened to us Friday was hard. But we sucked it up on Saturday and a lot of different guys stepped up.”
Freshman forward Tavon Brown was one of those guys to step up into a new role. He took over Yarian’s starting position for the day and snagged eight rebounds, had three steals, and added nine points.
“I was really proud of Tavon on Saturday,” Tharp said. “He stepped into that starting spot and did great.”
Lowry went on to score 17 points to lead the Chargers’ offense. Freshman forward Patrick Cartier and Larson each put up 15 points as well and combined for 13 of Hillsdale’s 45 rebounds.
Despite the weekend being a road trip for Hillsdale, for several of the players it was like playing in front of a home crowd. Four of the 10 Chargers who traveled are Wisconsin natives, so many of their families and friends came to watch.
“I felt like on Friday there were a lot of family members there so I felt like a lot of people were worried about playing well in front of their family,” Yarian said. “On Saturday though we were able to walk in and get it done.”
Larson is from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and said there were maybe 20 or more people there to watch him over the weekend.
“Honestly, I was a little nervous,” Larson said. “There were people that I hadn’t seen in years there.”
This weekend the Chargers return to Hillsdale to play for a real home crowd, but first, they traveled to Ferris State University on Wednesday night, where they lost 82 – 67. On Saturday they’ll take on Davenport University for a 1 p.m. tipoff.