The Hillsdale College men’s basketball team has gone 5 – 2 since the beginning of conference play, pushing their overall record to 10 – 3.
The Chargers are tied with Malone for second in the conference, sitting just a half-game behind Walsh.
Between November and December, the Chargers flew off on a six-game win streak, including their first four in-conference games. This streak was snapped by Findlay, who held all starters except junior Patrick Cartier to single digits in scoring.
After a win against Northwood and a postponed game, the Chargers first game of the new year was a crushing home loss to the division-leading Walsh Cavaliers.
“After the Walsh game, we sat down and really looked at ourselves and realized that we had to change something so we came out with a lot more intensity and more energy and really got to work the next day and then going into the Saturday’s game our mentality was just we got to go out and do everything we can get the win,” freshman forward Joe Reuter said.
The team went on to take down Malone on Saturday behind a career day from Reuter. He dropped a career-high 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting, leading the team in scoring. He has also emerged as, percentage wise, the team’s best three-point shooter.
“He practices and works out harder and more often than anybody I know, he’s waking up at 6am to go to the gym every morning,” senior forward Austen Yarian said. “Just getting some experience playing at this level compared to high school, I think now that he’s found his ways, he’s gonna get a lot more productive for the rest of this year.”
Despite only taking four shots in the game, Yarian also posted a career high, grabbing 15 rebounds. It marks the fourth time that he has collected double-digit boards this year, twice in the last three games.
“He leads us in rebounds, he leads us in assists, he’s our second leading scorer,” Head Coach John Tharp said. “We ask him to do a lot, and when he’s playing good basketball it makes us incredibly dangerous.”
The team’s leading scorer, Cartier, has followed up a season where he won G‑MAC Male Athlete of the Year with another dominant start. He averages a conference-high 22.4 points per game while shooting a conference second-best 63.2% from the field.
The Chargers now look forward to three home games in their next four contests, beginning with Ashland on Thursday. Tharp says that the team has failed to play well at home so far this season, emphasizing that it’s a narrative he wants to change. All three of the team’s losses so far have come at home.
“That’s the thing that’s been really discouraging to me to be honest with you, we just have not been good at home,” Tharp said. “I can’t tell you exactly why that is, but we’ve got to change that narrative if we want to be successful.”