With 11 conference games remaining on its regular-season schedule, the Hillsdale College Chargers find themselves near the bottom of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference standings. At 2 – 5 in conference play and 5 – 11 overall, Hillsdale is five games behind conference leader no. 25 Walsh University (14 – 2, 7 – 0 G‑MAC).
Hillsdale, however, does have an opportunity beginning Thursday to go head-to-head with some of the teams at the top of the standings. Five of its next seven games come against three of the top four teams in the standings, beginning with Kentucky Wesleyan College (16 – 1, 7 – 1) on Thursday.
Although the Chargers have won only two of their first seven conference games, four of their five conference losses have been by a margin of six points or fewer. Cold spells in shooting either at the beginning or ends of games have often been the difference.
Hillsdale began the new year on Jan. 2 hosting Ursuline College (5 – 12, 2 – 6). The Chargers competed with Ursuline for most of the forty minutes on the floor, but a 27 – 16 second quarter in favor of Ursuline proved to be the difference. The 81 points were the second-most Hillsdale has scored in a game this season, despite the loss.
Ursuline shot 53.2% from the floor in the victory, while the Chargers shot 37.7%. Hillsdale also went 17-for-17 from the free throw line. Ursuline outscored the Chargers in the paint, 52 – 22, whereas Hillsdale often relied on three-point shooting in addition to its perfect night from the free throw line.
On Jan. 4, Lake Erie College (7 – 10, 4 – 3) defeated the Chargers in Hillsdale, 75 – 59. A 30 – 12 fourth quarter in favor of Lake Erie proved to be the difference. Despite leading early in the fourth quarter, Hillsdale couldn’t overcome its 31.1 shooting percentage in a difficult final 10 minutes. The Chargers were again overwhelmed in the paint, with Lake Erie scoring 42 points inside to Hillsdale’s 16.
Hillsdale found the road more friendly on Jan. 9 when it traveled to Tiffin University (7 – 10, 2 – 5) and narrowly emerged victorious, 62 – 59. Thirty-nine of Hillsdale’s 64 shots from the floor came from beyond the three-point line, but a stout defense and just enough timely shooting gave the Chargers the edge.
On Jan. 11, Hillsdale fell in another narrow contest, 59 – 52, this time against Ohio Dominican University (8 – 9, 3 – 4). The Chargers scored just eight points in the second quarter and nine points in the fourth quarter, and a quality defensive performance wasn’t enough to overcome the inconsistent offense.
Looking forward, the Chargers host Kentucky Wesleyan on Thursday, and Trevecca Nazarene University (5 – 12, 2 – 6) on Saturday.