THE TURNING POINT: Hillsdale went on a 29-11 run at the end of the first half en route to a 19-point halftime lead.
STAT OF THE GAME: The Chargers scored 38 points in the paint and 33 points from 3-point range.
HILLSDALE, Mich. – Hillsdale's men's basketball team came at Ashland University from all angles on Saturday (Feb. 4) afternoon.
The Eagles suffered an 80-55 loss at the Chargers on Saturday, falling to 14-8 overall and 9-7 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference after a second consecutive defeat. Hillsdale is 11-11, 7-9.
The Chargers had a two-pronged offensive attack, hitting 11 3-point field goals (10 in the first half) and scoring 38 points inside the paint. Hillsdale hit 59.3 percent from the field and 50 percent from the arc.
Four Chargers scored in double figures, led by Rhett Smith (17 points), Nate Neveau (15) and, off the bench, Harrison Niego (15).
"That's a tough stretch of five games (in nine days), and we knew this one was at the end of it," said Ashland head coach John Ellenwood. "It looked like it was at the end of the stretch. They did a good job executing their offense."
Ashland's leading scorer was senior guard Adrian Cook with 19 points. The Eagles turned the ball over 18 times.
"Our guys are tired, and I didn't want to say it beforehand," Ellenwood said. "I was worried about our energy. Adrian played decent for us. (Freshman center) Drew (Noble, four rebounds in 13 minutes), I thought did a good job for us."
Ashland and Hillsdale were in a feeling-out process early on, but an 8-8 tie five minutes into the game turned into a 20-10 Charger advantage thanks in part to a pair of Niego 3-point field goals. A triple by senior forward Torin Wetzel with 9:54 to go until halftime stopped a 2½-minute scoring drought.
As is the custom in the GLIAC, the game went back-and-fourth. Ashland scored six in a row to cut its deficit to 20-16 after a Metzen old-fashioned 3-pointer, but the Hillsdale counter was a 12-0 run for a 32-16 lead when the Eagles called timeout. Neveau scored the last five points prior to the stoppage.
The Chargers increased their lead to 20 points twice toward halftime, and at the break, they led 49-30 despite a desperation half-court triple from Cook at the buzzer. Ashland's undoing in the first 20 minutes was Hillsdale hitting 10-of-15 from downtown.
No traction was gained by the Eagles early in the second half, as the Chargers turned to converting layups instead of treys. At the first media timeout at the 15:57 mark of the half, Hillsdale led by 21, 56-35. By the next media timeout with 12 minutes to play, the Chargers had a 66-41 advantage, as they hit seven of their first 11 shots from the floor to start the half.
Ashland could get no closer than 25 points down the rest of the way.
The loss was the Eagles' worst by margin since an 85-48 defeat at Findlay on Jan. 23, 2014.
UP NEXT: The return to Kates Gymnasium on Thursday (Feb. 9) at 7:30 p.m. vs. Lake Erie (4-20, 3-13).