Allie Dewire brings the ball up the court during a game against Findlay on Feb­ruary 9. (S. Nathaniel Grime | Col­legian)

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.