December 17, 2012 - The saying says "go big or go home." So the Chargers went big.
Employing a game plan that emphasized getting the ball into the hands of forward Tim Dezelski and center Nick Washburn, the Hillsdale College men's basketball team powered its way to an 87-79 win over Ferris State University in an entertaining, well-played game at Jesse Philips Arena.
Hillsdale snapped a two-game losing streak with the win, and is now 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the GLIAC. The team will wrap up play in the 2012 calendar year at home Wednesday night at home versus the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
The Chargers went down to the post area time after time and found steady success getting the ball into the hands of their two biggest starters. Washburn in particular played a very intelligent basketball game and put together the finest stat line of his career.
Washburn tied his career high with 26 points, while setting a new career high with 18 rebounds in Hillsdale's win. He also blocked four shots and went 9-for-14 from the floor in a game where he effectively used his superior strength when he got the ball near the basket. Credit also goes to his teammates, who moved the ball well and put the ball in good position to Washburn to convert layups. Wahsburn made five free throws down the stretch to help preserve Hillsdale's lead late in the second half.
Dezelski was just as efficient, scoring 24 points on 8-for-13 shooting, including four 3-point field goals. Dezelski's scoring total was his second-highest of his career and this season, exceeded only by a 26-point effort versus Lewis on November 25.
As a team, the Chargers shot a season-best 63 percent from the floor as the team executed its offense with patience and good decision-making against the athletic Bulldogs. Providing a welcome spark to the game was junior Anthony Manno, who returned from injury to score 11 points in just 10 minutes off the bench. He swished his first two 3-point shots, bringing the crowd to its feet with his inspired play.
Hillsdale shot 82 percent from the free throw line as a team, and tied a season-high with 11 3-pointers made, and it was a good thing too, since Ferris State's Kenny Brown turned in a spectacular performance in defeat.
Brown led all scorers with 36 points, going 12-for-23 from the floor and nailed four 3-point shots, many of them difficult shots against Hillsdale's defense. Brown scored 28 of Ferris State's 52 points in the second half.
What helped negate that awesome display was Hillsdale's first half, which saw it build a 14-point lead, its largest halftime lead in any conference game this season. Junior guard Brandon Pritzl beat the halftime buzzer with a circus 3-point shot after an offensive rebound, giving a nice highlight to his 11-point, five-assist performance for the Chargers.
Junior Darius Ware added 12 points in the win for Hillsdale.