December 8, 2012 - Winning two basketball games in one weekend in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is a difficult task, as the Hillsdale College men's basketball team found out Saturday afternoon.
The Chargers ran into a buzzsaw in the form of the Michigan Tech University Huskies, and were on the losing end of a 73-55 decision Saturday afternoon at Houghton's SDC Gymnasium. The loss was Hillsdale's first of the season, after six consecutive wins. The Chargers are 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the GLIAC, and begin a three-game homestand next Saturday night against Grand Valley State.
The northwest corner of the U.P. has rarely been hospitable for visiting teams, and the Chargers were the latest victims of a Huskies team that played fired up throughout the contest.
Hillsdale got off to a strong start, taking a 13-5 lead in the game's opening minutes. The Chargers ran their motion offense well, with four different players scoring points in the game-opening run. But MTU was in full control from there, finishing out the first half on a 28-6 run that included shutting out Hillsdale over the half's final five minutes.
The first-half performance by the Huskies was even more impressive, considering MTU's Ali Haidar, the GLIAC preseason player of the year, was held to just two points by Hillsdale. Michigan Tech found offense from a variety of sources to put together its big lead.
The momentum didn't stop as the second half began, as Michigan Tech quickly upped the lead to north of 20 and never looked back. The lead grew to as high as 28 until Hillsdale's reserves made some baskets to make the final score more respectable. MTU also held a big edge from the free throw line in the game, both in makes and attempts. At one point in the second half, Hillsdale was 2-for-5 from the charity stripe, while the Huskies swished all 12 of their attempts to that point in the game.
The one player who was cooking offensively for Hillsdale was senior center Nick Washburn, who finished with a team-high 17 points. No other player scored more than seven for the Chargers in the loss.