November 29, 2012 - Thursday night's GLIAC men's basketball opener between Northwood and Hillsdale wasn't for the faint of heart. The two teams played a rough, grinding game that stood tied inside the final minute.
But Charger junior Tony Nelson turned this game into a thing of beauty for the Chargers.
Nelson nailed a 3-point shot with 13 seconds left to provide the winning margin in Hillsdale's 60-56 win over Northwood at Jesse Philips Arena. Hillsdale's perfect start to the season continues at 4-0, and 1-0 in the GLIAC. The Timberwolves are 1-4 on the season.
Hillsdale's largest lead of the entire ballgame was the final score, and the Timberwolves never led by more than five points in this tightly played contest. Northwood played excellent interior defense throughout most of the contest, and Hillsdale struggled shooting frm the field, missing nine of its first 10 3-point shots.
But the shots started falling, and none were bigger than Nelson's. His basket qualifies as the biggest of his three-year Charger career. He finished the game with nine points on 3-for-5 shooting from the field.
In the first half, Hillsdale shot just 18 percent from 3-point land, but turned that around to 45 percent in the second half. The Chargers also worked hard enough to find cracks inside the tough Northwood defense for some precious easy baskets, in a game where there were few.
Hillsdlae guards Derek Schell and Cody Smith did an excellent job taking care of the ball, as the team had just eight turnovers in the contest. SMith enjoyed his best offensive game of the young season with 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the floor. Smith's decision-making was also improved in this game.
Senior center Nick Washburn scored 14 points and played some terrific defense in the paint, blocking three shots in 17 minutes.
Junior Tim Dezelski, the reigning GLIAC South Division Player of the Week, shared scoring lead honors for Hillsdale with 14 points, and collected three rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.
Hillsdale returns home at 1 p.m. Saturday to host Lake Superior State University.