November 25, 2012 - Sunday's men's basketball game between Hillsdale College and Lewis University represented a matchup of two teams who were shadowy reflections of one another. Both play unselfish team basketball, are tenacious defensively and find a way to make big shots at big times. But when the day ended, the Chargers had just a little extra that gave them an important early-season win.
Hillsdale defeated the Flyers in a well-played, intense ballgame 71-65 at Jesse Philips Arena. The Chargers are now 3-0 on the season and open up conference play Thursday at home against Northwood University. Lewis falls to 1-2 with the defeat.
Although regional rankings are a long way off, this win figures to represent an important check mark in Hillsdale's resumé. The Flyers defeated Ferris State in Big Rapids 60-47 earlier this season, already giving Hillsdale a key common opponent win over another Midwest Region contender.
Junior forward Tim Dezelski turned in the top performance of his career in this contest with a career-high 26 points to go along with 13 rebounds. He drained nine of his 12 field goal attempts, and was on-target from downtown, making three of his five 3-point attempts. Dezelski played with his usual efficiency, but was able to score in a wide variety of ways, making him very difficult for the Flyers to contend with.
The Chargers shot 8-for-17 from behind the 3-point arc in the first half, and six of their first eight made field goals were 3-pointers. That hot start from the outside enabled the team to find offense in a wide variety of ways down the stretch.
Lewis took one lead in the game, 40-38 early in the second half, but Hillsdale quickly responded with a 14-7 run and never lost the lead again.
Senior center Nick Washburn played big late in the second half and finished with nine points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Junior guard Darius Ware made four straight free throws in the game's final minute, and had seven points for the game.
Junior guard Brandon Pritzl scored 12 and was effective both inside and outside with his offense. Junior guard Derek Schell played another solid game at point guatrd, getting six points and three assists with just two turnovers in 25 minutes. Schell drained an important 3-point basket from the wing with 1:55 to play that extended Hillsdale's lead from three to six points.
Hillsdale held a 32-20 advantage on the boards and made 14 of its 17 free throw attempts for the game.