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The Hillsdale College men’s bas­ketball team beat Wayne State Uni­versity and Lewis Uni­versity to finish its non-con­ference schedule 4 – 1. 

After a tough loss to Ferris State in the team’s home opener two weeks ago, the Chargers bounced back to finish what Head Coach John Tharp called a brutal non-con­ference schedule.

“We have a lot of guys that have played a lot of minutes in the past so it felt like we were ready for the games, I think we just didn’t execute well against Ferris,” senior forward Austen Yarian said. “We’ve been prac­ticing a lot on the defensive side, trying to look at the film, see what we were doing wrong and adjusting from there.”

The team’s defense improved fol­lowing its loss, holding both Wayne State and Lewis to under 41% from the field. After giving up a season-high 89 points to Ferris State, the Chargers held both of their oppo­nents to under 63 points.

“Ideally we’d like to be unde­feated, but Coach Tharp always says you don’t want these games to be cake­walks in the beginning of the year, because they matter for tour­nament seeding at the end of the year,” junior forward Patrick Cartier said. “I’m glad we had a little bit of adversity, we played at least three tour­nament teams from last year, so I think we’ll be ready for tour­nament play.”

The front court came alive in their game against Wayne State. Cartier and Yarian com­bined for 42 points, 12 rebounds and five assists and four steals.

Against Lewis it was Junior Tavon Brown’s turn to stuff the stat sheet. Brown posted 

The team is now preparing to begin its in-con­ference schedule with a pair of road G‑MAC games later this week. They will take on Ken­tucky Wes­leyan at 7:45 p.m. on Thursday and Trevecca Nazarene at 4 p.m. on Saturday. 

“Both of them have a ton of transfers from Division I schools, so it’s a con­ference game but at the same time we haven’t ever played against some of these transfer guys, so it’s kind of like a non-con­ference game,” Yarian said. “We’re just doing every­thing we can to prepare for them, trying to watch as much film as we can, and just being ready to go but at the same time fine tuning our offense and being ready to compete.”

Fol­lowing a home game against Ohio Dominican next Thursday, the team will have a total of six games while the rest of the student body is on break, three before Christmas and three after.

“All we do is practice so we have a lot of free time to just hang out with the guys, we try to do a couple of team bonding events now and then as well,” Yarian said. “Also every night for dinner, one of our parents from the team comes up and cooks dinner for us, so we’ll eat together every night. It’s also fun to just focus on bas­ketball and not have to worry about school, just trying to get some wins.”

The Chargers are also looking to repeat as G‑MAC Regular Season Cham­pions, after taking a share of the title in 2020 and winning it out­right last year. It would be the first three-peat as con­ference cham­pions in program history.

“The last two years have been incredibly rewarding, to be a part of the achievement of the program from that stand­point,” Tharp said. “Two years ago we lost Davis Larson to injury and ended up winning our last six games and won the cham­pi­onship and last year was quite the run. This year’s team is still trying to figure things out, our focus is still on day-to-day type stuff, we know there’s a long way to go for us to start thinking about that.”