December 1, 2012 - Over the past few seasons, the Hillsdale College men's basketball team has followed the unusual pattern of making "defensive runs" to help it win games. That formula worked like a charm for the undefeated Chargers Saturday.
Hillsdale struggled to make shots throughout the first 30 minutes of its GLIAC game against Lake Superior State, but upped its defensive intensity and execution on its way to a 71-57 win over the Lakers. The Chargers are now 5-0 on the season and 2-0 in the GLIAC. The win was also number 299 in the head coaching career of John Tharp.
The Lakers played the Chargers very tough and led 34-33 at halftime. That lead got extended out to 41-36 with 15:11 left in the second half. That's when Hillsdale buckled down and grabbed control of this contest.
Hillsdale held Lake Superiro State scoreless for 7:24 of the second half during which time it streaked out to a 15-0 run to turn a five-point deficit into a seven-point lead. The Chargers' lead only grew from there, as it discovered the offensive rhythm and unselfishness that have become trademarks of Tharp's teams. In the final 15 minutes of the game, Hillsdale outscored Lake Superior State 35-16.
Redshirt-freshman center Jason Pretzer provided the team a nice spark in the win. He entered the game with a little more than a minute remaining in the first half, and quickly scored five of his career-high 13 points. He looked for his shot, showed a soft touch for a big man, and connected on six of his seven free throw attempts. Pretzer's 13 points came in just nine minutes on the floor.
Junior Tim Dezelski led the Chargers with 15 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Brandon Pritzl added 13, but had four assists and two steals and found other ways to contribute positively when his shot wasn't falling. Sophomore guard Cody Smith popped in 12, while senior center Nick Washburn led Hillsdale on the board with 10 in 12 minutes on the court.
Hillsdale shot just 39 percent from the field, but made up for its cold shooting with a 44-29 edge on the boards and shot 83 percent from the free throw line as a team.